shaun arora via Crowdrise
April 14, 2011
BENEFITING: PRATHAM USA
EVENT DATE: Oct 08, 2011
As some of you know, I am training for The 508 bicycle race, known as the toughest 48 hours in sport. I will be the only fixed-gear soloist racing the 508 mile course through Death Valley this fall.
I'm not a racer and training to become one will be a very big challenge for me, especially after breaking my collar bone on May 1 of this year. To help motivate me, I have chosen to use this event to raise awareness of the education challenges in India and the simple but effective solution.
Pratham is the largest educational non-profit in India, dedicated to the mission of "Every child in school and learning well." Out of the thousands of organizations doing amazing work, I wanted to share with you a little bit about why I focus on Pratham, and I why I want you to join me in supporting Pratham in a significant way this year.
We all know the value of education – smaller population, higher infant survival rates, education is the first step to allow us to reach the potential within. Education leads to promoting the values we believe in – democracy, freedom and the ability to make choices in our lives that affect our community. Education leads to a better life – it leads to revolutions and sustainable societies. We have seen recently what happens when an educated people stand up – these days with education and Facebook, dictatorships are crumbling and the status quo is not good enough.
So what is the problem?
The problem is that there are currently 210 million children in India, and about half of them cannot read, write or do math at the correct level. What is more shocking is that every year in India 25 million children are born, and 10 million will never learn to read. Let me say that again – 10 million children are born in India every year who will not learn how to read and write. India has about half of the illiterate people in the world - so India is a powerful place to start since Pratham has a track record for over a decade.
So why Pratham?
First, Pratham has determination.
Pratham was started in 1994 by bringing together some talented individuals who wanted to make a difference. When there were no good books, Pratham created the first children’s books, appropriate for age level that was affordable. When there were no effective curriculums, Pratham created learning materials that could be used in villages, urban areas and cities. When there were no motivated teachers, Pratham began recruiting and training teachers, going from village to village, district to district and state to state. And finally, when there was no reliable measurement, Pratham created ASER – the largest educational survey in India, that is cited by the Wall Street Journal, the Indian Government and every serious evaluator of education in India. Pratham’s mission is simple – Every child in school and learning well and we will work with anyone and everyone to make this happen. This determination coupled with hard work has created innovation at every level – because the word “impossible” is simply not in Pratham's vocabulary.
Second, Pratham has scale.
Pratham started with one preschool in 1994 with Unicef funding. By the end of 1996 Pratham had 3000 in Mumbai alone, and set the stage for more people and non-profits to move into the space. By 2010 Pratham had reached 33 million children through the Read India 1 campaign – a campaign created by Pratham and supported by the Hewlett Foundation and the Gates Foundation. Having renewed their support for three more years , the Hewlett Foundation has helped Pratham expand into Read India 2 – an aggressive campaign to create catalysts of educational change throughout India. Pratham now works in 21 of India’s 28 states and in 42 major metropolitan cities in India. Pratham partners with foundations, state governments, village panchayats, teachers, parents and children – because we know that we must work with everyone to create impact and growth.
Through these two differentiating factors – determination and scale, Pratham not only innovates, it replicates and is open source - encouraging others to adopt best practices to help in the cause of education. Pratham has openly shared its models with many Indian and non-Indian non-profits – because anyone dedicated to transforming education is our partner.
So how can we help make a difference when the problem is so huge?
The beauty of Pratham is that through economies of scale and by leveraging every dollar, even the smallest of contributions can make a meaningful difference in a child's life. Here are a few examples of how:
$25 - Will keep a child in school for an entire year in an urban learning center
$100 - Will keep six children in school and learning well in a rural village
$250 - Will train 5 teachers, who can then teach 50 children for an entire year
$500 - Will keep 20 children in school and learning well for an entire year
Join me today to help make a real difference in the lives of children.
You can also follow my training by visiting my blog: http://www.spokemyrim.com