Indus Action commissioned me to make a story on this amazing 40 lakh grant that they have to offer to anyone with relevant experience who can commit to work for 3 years for getting underprivileged children to schools. I asked them if there was someone who had already received the grant? They said yes. I suggested we tell that person’s story. They agreed. This is that story. This is Saleem’s story. What exactly did Saleem do with 40 lakh rupees? How do you get underprivileged children to schools? Watch it spread the good word about the grant! Thanks!
FSG India recently commissioned me to make a video-story on one of their amazing programs that is enabling a nation-wide sustainable transformation of affordable private schools (the lower rung schools in cities where low-income households send their children to). I travelled to Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai for this story, where I interviewed school owners and principals, children (who study in such schools) and their parents and several private players in the early childhood education sector, who for some reason or other, had hitherto never considered selling their innovative teaching modules to such schools, but are doing so now!
India truly needs such initiatives. I am excited that I get to witness such efforts first hand. If you liked this one, you should also watch the story that I created for The Education Alliance earlier – about a similar transformation, but applicable for Municipal schools of Delhi.
Getting children to love reading books (not talking about textbooks here) in this digital age is difficult. But it’s important. Devaki started solving this problem for her own children few years ago, and today manages a network of 60 mothers, spread across the country, who have been trained (by her) to use the power of storytelling and other activities to lure children to get hooked to reading books! And it’s working! This is that story. This is LRN‘s story.
PS: I was commissioned to shoot this story!
This is the story of how a 7 year old startup is changing the way students decide to choose their careers. Although I was commissioned to make this story, believe me when I say this – had I access to something like this when I was growing up, I would have made better career choices in life! 🙂 Share it with especially those in class IX to XII.
Millions of children in India suffer from speech impairment, resulting from various conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome etc. But there are only a handful of speech therapists in India that can help these children (unlike say USA). A bunch of Indian geeks are finally using technology to address the problem and it’s beautiful to see the impact – how when you give the tools to communicate to these children, they can express a lot!
Many slum children who manage to go to schools, don’t enjoy their school life. The environment outside school does not encourage them to do anything productive and most just waste away their time. Some pick up bad habits, other pick up fights. Kamya solves this problem. This is her story.
“My Perch is a space that I run in the Barola slum in Noida. Children come over, generally after school hours and spend as much time as they feel like, just being themselves and doing whatever they feel like doing, without the fear of being judged”, Kamya had said.
I was on my way to the place, expecting to find a dilapidated space in the middle of a filthy slum surrounded by broken houses next to unpaved roads.
The location was none of that. ‘My Perch’ was essentially the basement of a typical NCR building, right on a main road. I would discover soon that the slum from where most kids came over to this space, was not far behind the main road.
Let me tell you what typically does not happen in most schools and definitely not in the types where most underprivileged children manage to go.
Nobody asks them “so what would you like to learn”? Few months ago, when the children were asked this question at ‘My Perch’ – some said they wanted to know how to cook healthy food. Just reading about the dangers of the kind of food that they ate outside was not enough for them. So, cooking materials were put together and soon, with the help of Youtube, the children started learning and cooking, teaching each other in the process, and even selling the ‘healthy’ cooked food for nominal prices to those who wished to eat it.
I was commissioned by India Fellow to make this 3MS on Kamya and other fellows, who are bringing in a change in society in their own ways. India Fellow is a 13 month long social leadership program where young Indians can apply, and if chosen, get to experience what working on ground for various non-profits and social enterprises across India is. Visit their website to know more about the fellowship and to apply.
This is the story of how a non-profit is transforming government schools in India to as good as private schools. I was commissioned to do this story last month. It is heartening to see an organization working towards improvement of government schools because if what they are doing can be scaled up, it will have a huge impact on the quality of learning that the majority of children in India have access to. I wish them all the best.
I hope this 3 min story encourages parents, teachers and all of us grown-ups to realize that there are a lot of things that we need to learn about child sexual abuse, if we truly want to create an environment for our children, where they can openly report and fight abuse. To learn more, you can go through the links that I have compiled here.
I have known Nikita for few years now. When I met her last year, I was glad to note the kind of work that she was doing. In November 2014, I decided to see her workshops on prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, for myself so that I could create a 3MS from it. The actual workshop with parents was for over an hour, and then there was a separate workshop with children; my video story only shows a glimpse of that. Nikita and School of Life continue to conduct such workshops in schools and other spaces. The world needs more such people, and School of Life, other such organizations (and individuals working in this area) need all the encouragement that they can.
- Nikita Gupta for the story lead;
- School of Life and its members (including Nikita) who conducted the workshop that I shot for this video;
- My best friend Anshuman – for assistance during the shoot (and for always being my host every time I visit Delhi);
- Princy, my wife – for assistance in editing (it took over an year to finally get this edited; and if I hadn’t asked Princy for help, it could have taken longer; the actual editing time was only 3 days though);
- The Sixth Element School for allowing us to shoot the story in their premises;
- The parents and the teachers who participated in the workshop (and especially the couple who we interviewed separately);
- Ankit Vatsa, Nimit Jain, Nikita Gupta and Ashwini Joglekar for the feedback on the first cut and suggestions to improve the overall video-story.
In three minutes, you will be fascinated with how one person who could have easily taken up a good job after graduating from IIT in 1975, decided to do something extremely innovating for the education of poor kids. For him, education is not about ‘covering’ syllabus but to ‘uncover’ the mysteries of this world. After watching this story, most of you would agree that his approach towards education doesn’t just apply to poor kids, but to almost every school child in this world, where education has essentially been reduced to the art of mugging and scoring in exams.
I met Arvind Gupta via Soumeet. Soumeet had launched the makersofthings campaign last year. He asked me if I wanted to make 3 minute documentaries on some of the real life story leads that he had received. His video on how India innovates had gone viral and he was flooded with stories of innovation.
For various reasons I could not get myself to collaborate with him on a full fledged scale, but I agreed to shoot one movie. I was in Uttarakhand, working on Mamta’s story when Soumeet and I spoke about a story around Arvind Gupta. Some time later, last year itself, I traveled to Pune and wrapped up the interview and shooting. But unfortunately, I was able to finish making the movie only after about eight months (i.e. now)! Hope you like it and hope you genuinely feel a story like this needs to be shared with every school, not only in India but across the world.
After seeing this 3MS (3 min story), some of you might want to check out Arvind Gupta’s website or his Youtube Channel or even his Ted talk (which became very popular and from which, I have used a small portion in my 3MS).
If you liked this story, you can view all my short-documentaries under the ‘Education’ theme.
Amrutash, my batch mate from IIT Madras, left his lucrative job to start a library business which failed to get the desired readership. Naresh, also my batch-mate (we shared the same hostel and wing even) joined theater after IIT, but realized he could not make enough money from that.
It is amazing to see how today, both Amrutash & Naresh have joined hands to create a successful business that is solving a problem almost every school faces.
This 3MS is their story and what they do and how schools are loving them.