Archive for the ‘Colours of a Movement !!!’ Category

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

India lives in villages. This is one of the most common saying we have heard but there are very few who want to go and understand the problems that are being faced by our villages.

Gramya Manthan (Rural Immersion Program) is dedicated to developing social leaders; well-rounded youngsters who are equipped with leadership skills to solve the challenges faced by Indian villages. Its core aim is to ignite young hearts with holistic concern for their society and nation.

Gramya Manthan aims at bridging the gap between India and Bharat. It will select 50 most amazing hearts from the country and take them on a rural exploration. The idea is to make youth realize the pressing issues of our country, it will help them understand the problems of our villages and execute solution during the course of program. It will be a 9 day (Weekend to Weekend) residential program in the remotest part of our country with the intent to rediscover Bharat by experiencing the burning issues.

Apply Now: http://youthallianceofindia.org/gramya-manthan/apply-now/

Gramya Manthan’s Core Purpose:

There is a huge sense of disconnect between rural India and today’s youth. Youth has no clue of what are the problems being faced by our brothers and sisters in rural parts. They have read a lot, heard about the issues but have mostly never experienced or if experienced then they did not get a chance to think and execute solutions over there. We strongly believe that youth wants to contribute but often finds it hard to figure out the right way to go about it.  We believe that by exposing passionate young people to these issues and giving them opportunity to solve small problems, we can ignite the fire in their hearts. This fire can make them think of both “Why they ?” and “How ?”, it will infuse a high sense of  ”I Can” in them.

  • It will change the outlook of young people towards issues in rural India and enhance their skills and knowledge to address them
  • It will provide the young with the ability to seek holistic long term solutions and provide them great alternate career choices
  • Turn the direction of conversation among youth groups  from mere discussion of problems to solution oriented talks, and eventually action oriented plans
  • Develop a pool of social leaders and build a strong network
  • Create a community of youth who could serve as role model for their contemporaries
  • Inspire  to act, cause attitudinal shift in mindset


Gramya Manthan (Rural Immersion Program) is divided in three stages:

Part 1: Induction and Case Studies of model villages of India (first two days)

Part 2: Living the way villagers live (a day with a village family)

Part 3: Work in a village and address one of the prevailing problems coupled with group reflections, sharing and leadership forums

About Youth Alliance:

Youth Alliance is an organization working with a vision to “Connect EACH Youth With a Cause”. We believe in the philosophy of sensitizing young people towards the society by showing them the real picture and connecting them to ground reality. We are aiming at nurturing young role models in the society. We also have a range of programs like “Lead The Change”; “Samarpan”; ”Come Alive” meant to create awareness as well as bring change in society.

For more details: http://youthallianceofindia.org

 Contact: 07838540546

Email: info@youthallianceofindia.org


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Youth Alliance has come up with a new program “Lead The Change”.

Apply Now: http://youthallianceofindia.org/lead-the-change/apply-now/  (Last Date 28 February)

Presentation: http://bit.ly/zCCbGf

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

Lead The Change (LTC) is dedicated to developing social leaders; well-rounded youngsters who are equipped with leadership skills to solve the challenges faced by their communities. Its core aim is to ignite young hearts with holistic concern for their society and nation.

LTC  Program will involve upto 30 youngsters in a six week  program. The program will expose them to pressing issues of our societies such as human dignity, education and rural immersion. They will study solutions offered by role models, personalities and get a short experience in leadership education. They will be expected to apply this experience to come up with solution for a small local issue and in the process, understand how to set up an enterprise. They will emerge with the wealth of a rich network and a sound understanding of systemic social change.

LTC’s Core Purpose:

Youth wants to contribute but often finds it hard to figure out the right way to go about it.  We believe that by exposing passionate young people to these issues and giving them opportunities to interact with role models, we can sensitize them and sow a seed deep in their hearts.  It will also help them in making informed choices of how they shape their future.

  • It will change the outlook of young people towards issues surrounding them and enhance their skills and knowledge to address them
  • It will provide the young with the ability to seek holistic long term solutions and provide them great alternate career choices
  • Turn the direction of conversation among youth groups  from mere discussion of problems to solution oriented talks, and eventually action oriented plans
  • Develop a pool of social leaders and build a strong network
  • Create a community of youth who could serve as role model for their contemporaries
  • Inspire  to act, cause attitudinal shift in mindset

About Youth Alliance:

Youth Alliance is an organization working with a vision to “Connect EACH Youth With a Cause”. We believe in the philosophy of sensitizing young people towards the society by showing them the real picture and connecting them to ground reality.We also have a range of programmes like “Samarpan”;”Come Alive” meant to create awareness as well as bring change in society.  It is an initiative of a  Teach For India alumni from 2009 batch.

Apply Now: http://youthallianceofindia.org/lead-the-change/apply-now/

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I would like to share with you about  “Youth Alliance” (http://youthallianceofindia.org/) (Click like on Fan Page and do promote us, we need your support) with a mission to “Connect each Youth with a Cause”. The idea of one of its initiative, “Samarpan” came to my mind nearly one year back. Being a Teach For India fellow I got a chance to be with the community,see, feel and be a part of their lives. Two years in classroom and community gave me a very clear picture of what is the basic need at ground level. At that time I thought to start a program that can connect youth and cause together and eventually raise their emotional quotient for the society because one can’t know the real picture till when he/she has been there on ground to feel it. Books and movies gives the perception of the author and direction of the director. If one wants to know the real picture he/she has to be on ground with the people and be a part of their lives.

What we are trying to do ?   (About Samarpan) (Register Now: http://youthallianceofindia.org/volunteer/)

Youth Alliance has come up with this initiative with a dual objective of providing human resources (volunteers at the beginning stage) to NGOs and at the same time raising the emotional quotient of the youth who are still under the shackles of ignorance which eventually will enable them to be a change maker in the long run. The idea behind the initiative is to make each youth contribute to the social development of the country. As it has been seen that today’s youth is aware and has a will to give back to society in a corner of their heart… BUT there is a section of youth who is still unaware of the gravity of all social issues from poverty to illiteracy to Corruption and some who are aware do not get the right platform to contribute to the Nation Building… We believe that the ground level exposure at an NGO will help them in understanding the magnitude of the social issues/ concerns our country is facing today and thus will in due course make them realize the need of the hour.

Philosophy of Change:

We believe that by coming in contact with the under-served people and by being there in the moments of pain or joy, we can look forward to augment their lifestyles. This initiative provides the young people of our country with the opportunities to have their careers inclined past the welfare of the society and to have a look towards their life in a much more sensible way. Once they are out of their college, it provides them with the responsibility of being ‘Agents of Change’. As these volunteers have been a part of the community, they can empathize with them and help them in a significant way.

What else we are trying to do ?

Apart from this we are trying to setup a web-portal that will help youth to find their best fit in social sector, from education to employment:

  1. Fellowship (Collecting Information about all the credible fellowship models for youth )
  2. Youth Connect( Space where youth can find different NGOs working with youth across India)
  3. Budding Entrepreneurs (A section where in youth can share the crux of his business model and get feedback from different personalities who have a good exp. in social sector; also find mentor for himself, for this we are in talks with different social leaders and are asking them to adopt young entrepreneurs and nurture them to be the best)
  4. I Change (A section wherein youth can read about different rights which we have as the citizen of India and information about various govt. department; RTI, RTE, CVC, Passport Authority etc. )
  5. Careers  (This section would show different opportunity available in social sector)
  6. Social Consultancy

Now feel free to shoot questions, critically and constructively analyze the whole model and surely HELP   us grow!!!

No copyright anyone is free to copy the whole model !!!

And please, please ….click like on our Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/changeagents), participate in discussion….share on your page and profile….promote us !!!

Together we CAN and WE Will !!!

– “Service before Self”

Prakhar Bhartiya

Fellow, TFI (2009-2011)

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There are many ways to be good and these days, some of the most noble people have assumed the manners of the business world — even though they don’t aim for profit. As Warren Buffet on his recent philanthropic visit to India said, “Part of life is to plant trees that other people will sit under. Somebody planted a tree for me long ago in the form of an education institution and I sat under that tree, metaphorically.”


It is a season of reckoning for Teach for India (TFI), the programme that dispatched 80 top college graduates and a few who had stints with top corporates to teach hard-to-staff low-income rural and urban schools in India. The first group’s two-year commitment is up, and the programme now faces expectations: can a small crop of bright and idealistic people with boot camp training help change India’s education system?


Shaheen Mistri, founder of TFI spills the beans on her ambitious goal. “Five years down the line, we plan to have 2,000 fellows (teachers) teaching 60,000 kids in 12 cities and their surrounding areas.” Though India’s literacy rate has touched 74 per cent according to the provisional results of the 2011 census, up from 65 per cent in 2001, this is still short of the target set by the Planning Commission to achieve a literacy rate of over 85 per cent by 2011-12. And the little steps taken by Shaheen and her fellows are surely a boon for a worried Planning Commission, whose members can now heave a sigh of relief.


Way to TFI fellowship 

Shaheen, who graduated in Sociology from St Xaviers College, Mumbai, and did her Master’s in Education from the University of Manchester, UK, feels that we have a model, which could have a real impact on the ways that all novice teachers in the country are recruited, selected, trained and supported. Selectivity of potential teachers, in fact, is a big part of the TFI brand. TFI fellows do not have to undergo the traditional credentialing process. They receive six weeks training and are given full responsibility for a classroom of students. Through GPA, the teachers’ ability to pursue and achieve goals is assessed.


Criteria include perseverance, achievement, and respect for others, says Shaheen who is also the founder of Akanksha, a non-profit organisation. Emphasising on the leadership role she says, “We desperately need people who are going to be visionary thinkers, set big goals and own the responsibility for meeting them. And it’s so much about that mindset and the instinct to remain optimistic in the face of a challenge.”


Catalyst of change


It’s very easy to confuse TFI with a similar sounding initiative by a media house — an assumption which the reporter was also guilty of making but was quickly corrected by the editor — but TFI has far loftier goals than the other project. It’s on the footsteps of Teach for America, the foundation laid by Wendy Kopp 20 years ago. It was interesting to read through the statistics, which revealed the growing popularity of TFI.


In 2008, it started with just 80 fellows but three years later, they are looking to recruit 300 fellows and expand their operation to other cities like New Delhi. The surge in popularity is more so because Shaheen has struck the right cord — tapping on youth idealism.


Earlier generations of benefactors thought that social service should be like sainthood or socialism. But TFI and its board of directors think it should be like a venture capital — they understand that government alone cannot be innovative. A 1,000 different private groups have to try new things. Then we measure to see what works.


The impact


While interacting with the first batch of the fellows (they graduate on April 16) in their dingy, cramped schools, the reporter was captivated by their overtones of ideals and pluck. The moment the door opened to TFI fellow Prakhar Mishra’s class, there was inquisitiveness in the eyes of the third-graders. In a disciplined manner, the reporter was bombarded with as many questions as their curious mind could think of. Surprisingly, every question they asked was in English. It was not the same a year back. English was alien to them.


Reading out the scores from his laptop, Prakhar, a 25-year-old BTech from RKGIT, Ghaziabad, says, “The time I moved in here, these third-graders were at Pre-KG level. There has been a 300 per cent jump in their scores. The average grade score has gone up from 10 words/ minute to 42 words/ minute and surely there are exceptions of a score of 100 words/ minute.”


Here we have an aspiring politician, who at present will be joining NIIT Foundation and believes that an exposure at the grass-roots level is a stepping stone towards his bigger objective. “When you have everything that you possibly could need and other people need what you have and has enormous use to them, I think you need to do something about it,” he says.


Not a ‘cushy’ job


Though for Madhumita Subramanian, a graduate in economics from the University of Warwick, moving from her comfort zone was not as easy as it seems now. But in the two years she has realised, “If one can be successful in captivating a six-year-old and get them to do what you want, a boardroom should not be difficult.” The glory is there at 23 and she knows this is where she always wanted to be the moment she had her hands on the advertisement that said, “fellows with the brightest mind and biggest heart, who also wants to pursue rural social entrepreneurship…”


Education crisis


If today’s millions aren’t being educated well, how will they get proper jobs tomorrow? Won’t the education crisis translate into a far scarier job crisis in a few years? Parents with low-incomes value every pair of hands more than sending a child to a substandard school for several years, the benefits of which are unclear… these are some of the arguments that forced 80 youngsters to plunge into teaching kids in government schools for two years.


Voicing his thoughts on the challenges in the present education system, 25-year-old Saurabh Taneja, an IITian who will be joining the NGO Avsara as a programme manager, says, “I would say that the quality of teaching is probably the single most important factor in predicting student success. Of course, there are a myriad of factors that impede student achievement, but in a bad school with no textbooks and crowded classrooms, a really good teacher can surely be a catalyst of change.”


Unconventional pedagogical tools


Twenty-six-year-old executive from GE, Sana Gabula’s style of teaching is inquiry-based. Because her students’ literacy skills were so low, she rarely referred to the textbook. Instead, she used hands-on labs to lead her kids to discovery. She glided from task to task with ease, handling behavioural issues with equanimity and presenting new scientific concepts with childlike delight. And by the year-end, the kids were tricked into learning.


Gabula who will be joining Mckinsey post the fellowship programme says, “The most important thing I got out of the whole experience was that the children I worked with can definitely learn and succeed, regardless of how painful, traumatic or wonderful their lives may be. There is a ‘magical sense of belief’ that reaching to 200 million children definitely requires perseverance but surely not a daunting task.”


Memorable experiences


TFI has surely changed their lives is evident from the fact that an overwhelming 65 per cent of the fellows are set to join the social sector, of which 20 per cent wish to stay back and work with TFI. Of the 13 per cent who will join the corporate sector, some have opted for corporate social responsibility. Others will return to the companies which they were in before TFI, and still others want to pursue further studies.


Treasure lies where your heart belongs, and the treasure was the journey itself, the discoveries they made, and the wisdom they acquired. Vaibhav Mathur, a 25-year-old alumnus of Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, is slated to join Godrej’s CSR cell as a senior executive. A fellow at Divine Child School says, “Teach for India was life changing. I might not end up being an educator — at this point — but down the line, years from now, I know I would care about the achievement gap when 95 per cent of the world will not.”


Learning leads to knowledge, knowledge to creativity, and creativity to self-empowerment. Inducing this thought in a child’s mind is the work of a teacher and these fellows were definitely one of them.

By :

Pallavi Priyadarshini

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Teach For India is proud to partner with Renaissance India which aims to transform rural India through youth participation and collaboration.

Renaissance (French for “Rebirth”)Renaissance was a movement that began in late 13th century which brought a transformational change and bridged the middle ages to modern era. We once again beckon for a Renaissance to bridge the urban rural divide which is leading to strains in society.

Renaissance would create an ecosystem for members, volunteers and mentors to collaborate and to find innovative solutions to the chronic problems existing in rural India and be a channel linking the rural decision makers for implementation of the solutions generated. We thus make a call to the youths and every citizen of this country to participate in nation building in whatever capacity they can. Our mission is to address, solve and implement the top priority problems of fifty odd villages of India by 2012 by collaborative efforts. In the process we would motivate and engage the youths to participate in nation building by offering useful resources, rich network and support solving the grass root problems.

The platform of renaissance also believes in spreading awareness about the development sector, social Entrepreneurship in rural India. It promotes as well as supports organizing guest lectures, conferences, workshops etc. It also identifies and connect individuals to internship/fellowship programs with various social entrepreneurs & reputed developmental sector organizations.

Renaissance is organizing a social entrepreneurship fest at BITS-Pilani from 4-6th March. You can read more about it here: http://www.renaissance-india.org/ren2011/

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October is the birth month of the father of our Nation and the man who has influenced TFI’s theory of change in no small way. “BE THE CHANGE” said Mahatma Gandhi and we devote this month to TFI staff, fellows and students and who are living those words and being the change. The very first post comes from Shashank bhaiya and Sandeep bhaiya and their students’ amazing and inspiring effort in Being the change.

The idea of “Every Child an Entrepreneur” came about when the kids desired changes in their school (Sunrise English School) in the form of computer education. Since the school did not have funds for a computer, the kids initially decided to raise fund by donation but coming from low income communities, they were able to raise only 3K which was not sufficient to buy a computer. Despite the set-back, the children turned it into an opportunity by coming up with a brilliant idea to organize themselves in interest groups and work over Saturdays to produce artefacts for a Fun fair using the initial 3K as seed money. The idea was that they wanted to create a market where they could sell their goods and hopefully raise enough funds for a computer.

On 2nd October 2010, the Sunrise Team organized SUNFESTA FUN FAIR!! The Fun Fair was Phase 2 of the “Every Child an Entrepreneur” program wherein the school children tried to raise funds for buying a school computer; from a fun filled event featuring games, prizes, music, delicious food and art+crafts made exclusively by the kids over the past few weeks. The event was a huge success with more than 20 stalls put up by the students attracting more than 1000 visitors. The event made a profit of 13K which was enough to buy a computer as was the original objective of the “Every Child an Entrepreneur”.

Watch the video for SUNFESTA FUN FAIR!!

The most heartening aspect though is the fact that it has given the kids the confidence of “I CAN” and they are already planning for a larger “Annual Event”  with the objective of raising funds for a water purification unit in school. As was apt on occasion of 2nd October, “The Children became the CHANGE they want to see in the world”

The school submitted this project to the Design for Change Contest. Here’s wishing the young entrepreneurs all the best!

Shashank Shukla and Sandeep Mallareddy are two Teach for India fellows from the 2010 cohort, committed to ending educational inequity in India. They work in a low-income community private school in Pune called Sunrise English School.

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Here are a few links to some blogs by TFI fellows from the 2009 and 2010 cohort and TFI staff members.

  • TFI Journey: Srini, a 2010 Teach For India Fellow, writes about his journey with Teach for India and  his stories of change both inside and outside his classroom in Dharavi, Mumbai.
  • It’s Political Motivational and…: Prakhar is a 2009 Teach for India Fellow. He has been teaching for a year now and his blog is an amazing repository of stories about his time as a teacher in a school called Sant Gadge Maharaj in Kondhwa, Pune. Do check out the “Letters to my friends” section on his blog for some great snippets of his life as a TFI fellow.
  • Teaching as Leadership (Astitva): Another 2009 Teach for India Fellow, Dhiren teaches in K.C. Thackrey Vidya Niketan school in Pune. Besides his refelctions on his two year stint with Teach For India, a strongly recommended section on his blog would be his strategies to teach mathematics to children.
  • Belief: Ritika is a Teach for India fellow from the 2010 cohort. She teaches in a school in Mumbai and the blog is her diary about the TFI experience. Keep an eye out for some great pictures.
  • Mahesh Prajapati: Mahesh is also a 2010 Teach for India fellow. He teaches in Mumbai and writes about his experiences on the blog. He also writes lovely poetry in Hindi!
  • My White Lotus: My White Lotus is Tarun’s exhaustive and wonderfully written description of his journey as a Teach for India fellow since the past year and a half in Pune. Do read his recollections from his recent trip to visit charter schools in NY as a Teach for India fellow.
  • One in billion: Taylor is a staff member at Teach for India and has helped launch the Teach for India movement. His blog, as the introduction says, is about five things “- experiences related to living and working in India, happenings at Teach For India (my employer), development and fundraising-related, career-building, and entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, smart business ideas. “
  • I Teach for India: With a very appropriately named blog, Divesh is a 201o Teach for India fellow. Read about his journey and “Why” he chooses to Teach for India.
  • Reflections of my mind: Aritra is a part of the 2010 batch Teach for India fellows and the blog is his reflection as a Teach for India fellow in a school in Pune.
  • Walking in their shoes: Raisa is also a 2010 batch Teach for India fellow or a “tenner” as they are called. She teaches in Mumbai and her blog is peppered with some great pics displaying her immense creativity.
  • Insane Inanities: A 2010 Teach for India fellow, Anurag seeks to write about his journey to Teach from India from his college. He teaches in Mumbai.
  • Frogs in my class: Meera is a 2010 Teach for India fellow. The curious title of the blog alludes to some real frogs who share Meera and her students’ class with them. Her blog is filled with her experiences as a teacher in a school in Pune and sometimes even a humourous take on them as the title of the blog suggests.
  • With the Left and the Right: Srikanth, also a tenner, teaches in Pune and the blog is a mix of his experiences in the classroom as a Teach for India fellow and all that he gets to do in his spare time (whenever he might find it).
  • Edoocation: Milind is a 2009 fellow and has been teaching in Mumbai since the past year and a half. On his blog, he speaks about his views on Education policy and issues as seen through his experience as a Teach for India fellow. He also came up with the wonderful idea of listing down the dreams/aspirations/ideas of all the 2009 fellows post their two year fellowship. Read about them on his blog.
  • Words Raining: Dhanya is a 2010 Teach for India fellow teaching in Mumbai. On her blog, she writes about her experiences as class teacher in a school in Mumbai as a tenner.
  • They Teach; I Learn: Subhadra is from the 2009 cohort of Teach for India fellows. She teaches the 5th standard in Mumbai. They Teach; I Learn, a blog title which speaks volumes, is a rich and often moving record of her experience as a teacher in Mumbai.
  • Be the Change: Be the Change, which is also the Teach for India motto, is Rahul’s blog. He is a 2009 Teach for India fellow and teaches in Mumbai. His blog not only contains his experiences as a TFI fellow since the past one and a half year but also his opinions and ideas drawn from his work as a Teach for India fellow, on how to improve the state of education in India.
  • Delusions, allusions, illusions, visions: Meenakshi is a 2010 Teach for India fellow teaching in a school in Pune. She muses, alludes, talks about her life as a teacher in Pune and the delusions, illusions and visions therein.
  • The classroom for learning: Manu is a 2009 Teach for India fellow and has been teaching in a chool in Pune since the past year and a half. As a part of his summer internship, which he did as a part of his Teach for India fellowship, he interned at the Druk White Lotus Shey in Ladakh. He has posted a video of his experiences there. Also read about his experiences as a TFI fellow accompanied with some great videos and pictures.
  • Conviction in Your Thoughts: “Conviction in Your Thoughts” is the title of Ritesh’s accounts of his two year stint with Teach for India. He is a fellow from the 2009 Teach for India cohort and teaches in Pune. On his blog, he reflects as an individual and as a teacher about his experiences during this fellowship. Read his post on “The challenges of being Abu“, which is his chronicle of his student, Abu’s, life with him.
  • in on under above : Neha is a 2010 batch fellow. She writes about funny incidents and sometimes revelations in her classroom. Currently she is a grade 2 teacher in Worli Seaface BMC School in Mumbai.
  • Gunvant Jain : Blog by 2010 Fellow and IIT-Madras graduate Gunvant. Some excellent articles on skill-based learning.

The opinions or column written by these fellows or staff are their  own personal experiences.

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