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From illiteracy to empowerment via technology


Why are we fundraising? 

There are 250 million children around the world cannot read, write, or do basic arithmetic. UNESCO estimates a 12% drop in world poverty if all children in developing countries had basic reading skills. Many of these children are in developing countries without regular access to schools or teachers. There are not enough teachers to meet the demand of learners in the world!
We are a new approach. One that will remove the barriers to a quality learning experience regardless of location or economic status.

We are working hard to develop open source software (available for free once built) for children to teach themselves reading, writing and arithmetic!

Our gamification of learning will allow children to interact with the learning environment for longer periods of time. Our technology solution has elements of machine learning (AI) which directs the children's learning and provides feedback in real time, in-built assessments and internationally curated curriculum. We believe that it is time to democratize learning. 


What do we plan to do with the funds?


As part of the Global Learning XPRIZE Challenge, we will release the first leg of our software in November 2016, both in English and Swahili. Winning teams will be supported to field test their software on 100 villages,  and assess the impact of the software on predetermined learning metrics. 

As believers in the goodness of men and women, we have been working from the start as a volunteer team, with support from across India and internationally! We are deeply grateful to our entire team of volunteers!  At this stage in our journey, however, we are in need of funds to access some quality resources to enable the software to reach the quality benchmarks we have created for ourselves.
Any amount you donate, will go a long way in helping us build a high quality learning environment. Join us to lift generations out of illiteracy!!

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8th June 2018
Hello Everyone,

Hope you are doing good. This is Subhajit speaking on behalf of Team Krishna. It's been more than 2 years since we have been able to update anything in milaap.

As you read this message, be assured that we still exist for the noble cause, and that your support didn't go in vain. Please let me take you through our journey till now.

Journey May 2016-April 2017 :

The success of the crowdfunding campaign had boosted us a lot. Contributions had majorly come from within the team, their friends, milaap and a large group of people who believed in our cause.

Although we had a strong 25 member team of volunteers, the stress of daily jobs added with greater commitment from XPrize projects led many to drop out even though they dearly wanted to contribute. Eventually there were around 8 members who stayed close and carried on with the development. The funding amount was majorly used in graphics works, payment of XPrize insurance fees, import duty for the tablets sent by Xprize, and procurement of few development equipment. After 1.5 years of hard work, we were finally able to make our XPrize submission in the month of January 2017.
 


Although we had given our best, we realized that we could have done better had we been solely doing this project. We completed our software but we missed out on field testing, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we knew we had missed out on some things.

We were not at peace, Gargi resigned from her job in January 2017 followed by me in the next 15 days. With the XPrize submission over , we now lacked a goal; we knew we had to quickly do something to survive and continue. We decided to form our own startup in the education space. Balagopal resigned and joined us in the month of April 2017.  Kaushik too resigned from his job and joined us full time from the month of August 2017.

May 2017 - present :

The next target was to create a suitable business model so that we could bootstrap.

We started working out of a budget cafe in Kolkata. Where one day we met a man named Gaurav Kapoor. He advised us on doing something for the kids in rural areas and create micro entrepreneurs in the process. We later came to know that he is the Head at INVENT program for IIM Calcutta Innovation Park. We visited IIM Calcutta and we were advised to conduct pilots, the goal was to teach Maths to kids in villages by means of tablet based software.

We visited a school in Sunderbans and started our test :


Post that we collaborated with an NGO called Help Educate a Child in Bangalore and went deep into MM Hills forests (once inhabited by Veerappan) to conduct further tests. We conducted pilots in 17 villages across 400 kids in West Bengal, Telangana and Karnataka. Villagers loved our product.
 


Post analysis of our pilots, we noticed that the teachers in village schools earned poorly. Although schools provided low or mostly free service to the students, most of the students undertook tuition classes from the school teachers after school. But the teachers themselves were poorly trained, and ranged from being school dropouts, college students, college dropouts, or basic graduates. Parents were ready to pay for the child’s education, but they lacked access to quality teachers.

We saw an opportunity and also a gap, and thought to intervene here. The next question was how do we monetize this to provide continued services. We wanted to partner with a local youth but there was one basic problem, people liked our product but they didn't feel the need to learn maths using tablets, hence no one was willing to pay.

We knew that govt had already tried distributing AKASH tablets. We went to schools who had these UBISLATE tablets. The tablets were in cupboards, unused and dust-ridden. We were informed that they lacked mmc card, didn’t had proper power backup and other technical problems. As we tried to understand deeper, we realized that the teachers didn't felt the need for using them in their classrooms. They lacked motivation.

We inferred that we need to make something that the teachers feel comfortable using in their classes.

Also, we realized that even though parents didn't want to pay for maths, they could do anything to make kids speak in English. The demand was that of English, the parents are aware of the fact that their kids would face a lot of problem in future if they didn't learn English at the early ages.

We changed course, Gargi and I went back to villages to conduct a second round of pilot, this time with English teaching content. The results were phenomenal and after 2 weeks we invited the parents of the kids, who performed in front of the parents in English.

Parents were happy.

We started 2 After School English Activity Centers in the month of December 2017 in 2 villages named as "Jiban Mandal haat" and "piali" both located in West Bengal. The center at Jiban Mandal is operated by a person who is the 1st graduate of his generation and the center at Piali is owned by a person who is a part time hawker. Both teach English to the kids of their villages with the help of tablets provided by us. As of now, 85 kids are taking our paid program. We are in the run to open our next 2 centers.

Here are the results:

Presently we are 4 member team consisting of myself (Subhajit Roy), Gargi Mazumdar, Kaushik Mazumdar and Balagopal. Other members namely Saikat Mukhopadhay, Dipankar Patra, Satya Venkata Sandeep and Devraj Hom Roy couldn’t join us full time due to responsibilities in their personal lives. Satya and I had earlier incorporated a company named Krishworks; Gargi, Kaushik and Balagopal joined Krishworks full time as co-founders. Saikat, Dipankar, Satya and Devraj actively support us, we hope to get them onboard soon in the near future.

As of now we run Krishworks Technology and Research Labs Pvt Ltd. We do 2 things :
  1. We provide opportunities to kids in villages to read, write and communicate in English.
  2. We create micro-entrepreneurs by helping rural youths teach English (via micro franchised After School English Activity Centers ) to kids using tablet based contents and also help them earn money in the process. 

Gargi and I look into curriculum and operations, Kaushik develops the software and Bala is voracious learner who helps in every other activity.


During this period we got incubated by Sigma IKP Eden, IIM Calcutta and Indian School of Business Hyderabad; we got recognized by Indian Chambers of Commerce and Bengal Chambers of Commerce as one of the rising startups from Eastern India. We won the Economic Times Power of Ideas 2018, presently we are also supported by IIM Ahmedabad and Tata Trusts Social Alpha.

We came in top 30s at the Global Learning XPrize competition, we were sad but we didn't stop. It was not an easy journey but it has definitely been memorable.

Please visit Krishworks. You can write to us at subhajit@krishworks.com

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