Those of you who know me well, know how deep and impactful the Teach For India
experience has been for me. It's definitely one of the most challenging and most purposeful things I have done in my life so far. This is a campaign to raise funds for an after-school tuition support for 15 of my students, who come from single-parent households.
In July 2014, when I started teaching my classroom of 108 Grade 7 and 8 kids in the community of Kamraj Nagar in Mumbai, I realised that my students did not have any exposure to extracurricular opportunities in the school and in their community. Given that extracurriculars have played a profound role in shaping my personality, I wanted to bring that focus to my school. However, there was a pressing need for funds and external aid to enable this in my school. Hence, exactly 2 years ago, I started a fundraiser and raised over Rs 3L. The money was used to coach the students on Parliamentary Debating, Coding classes, Indian Music classes, Classical Dance workshops, Football & Cricket training, Model United Nations competitions, Sex-Education workshops, Industry Exposure through Corporate Visits, setting up Science Labs, Libraries with over 500 books etc., amongst many others. By the end of my fellowship, my talented students went on to win many accolades in these areas -
- Winner of HallaBol 2015-16, an inter-school parliamentary debating competition
- Champions at UNGAGGED - a debate competition organised by the Rotary Club of Mumbai
- Winner of Right Pitch 2015-16, a cricket tournament for TFI schools
- Outstanding Delegate Award at TFI-MUN and MUNSOPHICAL (MUN tournament organised by Sophia College in Mumbai)
- Silver Medallists in the Game of Thrones - a chess tournament for TFI classrooms
- Performed (dance and music) in front of large audiences (over 1000 attendees) at the NCPA
- ….and many others
These exceptional results only go on to show that by providing choice, equity and opportunity these kids can reach for the stars. By levelling the playing field, they can compete with children from privileged backgrounds like you and me.
Two years hence, today my students are in Grade 10. If you did your schooling in India, there's a good chance that you weren't insulated from the rat race here, especially in the public examinations in Grade 10 and 12. The pressure to perform in the board examinations takes a toll on almost every student in the country. Most students require some degree of after-school tuition support. For students from budget private schools, the need is even higher. Due to large per-classroom enrollments, there's very little individualised attention that's given to each student. In addition, there are umpteen distractions at home (see Student & Community Profile below).
Therefore, I would like to raise Rs 10,000 for every child in Grade 10 who comes from a single-parent household. These children either have divorced parents or (in most cases) have lost their fathers to alcohol addiction. Since my students will be giving their crucial 10th-grade examinations this year, I want to raise funds to put them through an after-school tuition support. While my entire class of 108 children could do with better tuition support, I'm prioritising the households with single parents as the financial burdens are significantly larger in these homes.
The money will be disbursed to the children via the existing Teach For India fellow in the classroom.
Name: Modern English Medium School
Type: Budget Private School
Address: Prayag Chawl, Kamraj Nagar, Near Eastern Express Highway, Ghatkopar (East), Mumbai—400077.
Landmark: Eastern Express Highway, Kamraj Nagar Police Chowky
Student and Community Profile
My students come from very low-income backgrounds, where paying a monthly school fee of Rs 450 ($7 USD/ $9.5 SGD) is also a challenge. Most of them live in Kamraj Nagar and neighbouring areas like Netaji Nagar. These are predominantly migrant communities from the states of U.P. and Bihar. Most of the people living here are blue collar workers—drivers, housemaid, cobblers, vegetable vendors etc.
Needless to say, the students do not lead easy lives. They share one room houses with 5–8 members. Due to the extreme space crunch in Mumbai, their houses are cramped together and are far from any open recreational space. Nonetheless, these are not insurmountable hurdles for my children. Most of them realise that education is the only way to build a future. The community is otherwise very safe and peaceful.
Name: Hari Haran
Mobile: +91 9820254011
I graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), worked as a consultant in the FinTech space for a couple of years, before joining Teach For India in June 2014. After working in the grassroots in education, I realised that I want to make a larger and more sustainable difference by addressing educational inequity problems at an organisational and systemic level. This led to my current role at Central Square Foundation
, an education-focused venture philanthropy fund and policy think tank, where I work closely with ventures and governments at various levels.