In 2006, when the Akanksha Foundation was nearing its 20th year, its Founder – Shaheen Mistri – started feeling the urgency of the educational crisis at hand and the need to increase the scale of the impact the Foundation was creating. She believed strongly that the problem was extremely complex and that the solution was not in the system, but in the people who could come together to solve it.
Teach for India (TFI) arose out of this belief and strived that the underlying solution to this complex problem of educational inequity is a cadre of leaders dedicated towards bridging the gap. In the long term, these leaders – who are TFI Alumni – will fuel a movement that will affect systemic change in the educational landscape. Through their work across various sectors across teaching, teacher training, school leadership, CSR, government policy etc. they will address each piece of the complex puzzle. And more importantly, through their collective action and collaboration, they will bring about systemic change.
The Fellowship is the training ground to expose Fellows to the ground realities of the educational landscape and experience the challenges and complexities surround it first-hand. Through this experience, Fellows identify their strengths, find their purpose and potential and become strong leaders to take on the responsibility of realising the vision.
A focus on values & mindsets and exposure & access in addition to academics for our kids. At TFI, they believe in holistic child development as a definition of ‘excellent education’.
“Recently, I received a short video of a Teach for India classroom fully engaged in learning as they watched their teacher teach – on a screen. Hiloni, their teacher, had a 103 degree fever, she videotaped a three-hour lesson so that her students didn’t miss a day of learning. I asked her why she did this. “I was thinking about how my kids cook in the morning, are responsible for their siblings, live a half hour walk away, and yet – through the heat or monsoon, without complaining – they come to school. This got me thinking about how fortunate I am. I had a fever and an infection and so many loved ones looking after me. And then here were my kids who, despite their individual battles, fought their way to school every day. It wasn’t my need to teach that made me do it. It was their need to learn that inspired me.” This is the kind of connect our movement establishes with out Fellows & Alumni.” Recalls Mistri on being asked about one of TFI impact stories.
Divyansh Dev (With inputs from Teach for India organisation)