I poked my head through the door of a classroom no larger than a storage closet. Thirty squished students sat on the floor with knees tucked under chins. It didn’t matter that tiny pieces of burnt plastic rained from the nearby thrash dump or that the heat was so sweltering that my pants stuck to my legs like cellophane. This was a universe away from their morning routine.
I was filming the recently released video below at one of India’s most innovative after-school programs in New Delhi—a program run by 10×10 nonprofit partner Pratham. One of 10×10’s commitments to our partners is to tell their story—to show how they’re changing the world by educating girls.
The children in Pratham’s programs attend public schools that follow a traditional educational model where students sit in rows and learn through fear and memorization. Teachers are known to mistreat “slum kids” or simply ignore a child who can’t keep pace or pay for supplies. Most of these students will drop out by age 12.
Pratham caters to those less fortunate where the cycle of poverty repeats generation after generation. One of these kids was Parvati, a precocious ten-year-old girl who told me how she loved taking her work home to show her parents: “They can’t read or write, but I am showing them how.”
Watch Parvatis’ story here:
There is an army of passionate volunteers committed to transforming the lives of Indian children, including Samyukta Subramanian and the volunteer teachers that helped me shoot this video at the Prem Nagar Learning Center.