The Akanksha Foundation

Focus: Education, Livelihoods, Children and Youth

AKANKSHA have added an extra E to RTE – Right to Excellent Education. And poverty is no bar to get access to it. Another E in their rulebook is Empathy, a value both sought in teachers and taught to students.

To that end the foundation have rolled out model teaching methods in 16 schools across Mumbai and Pune where youngsters from low-income families learn the three Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic) – and more – in the best possible way.

The result is that nearly 100 per cent of Akanksha students have gone on to further education to secure a future far removed from the disadvantage they were born with.
As 13-year-old Aliya Mulla wrote in the edit page of a newspaper: “If I had to make one suggestion to Mr Modi, I would say, let’s work together, not alone, and develop a country which we are proud of, where everyone has access to education, because I know, like my other Akanksha friends, that education can change your life.”

Akanksha first began with a supplementary model of education to plug the learning gap – such as 53 per cent of children in Class 5 can’t read Class 2 texts – that government school students unfortunately have to contend with.

While the organisation continue with this crucial service at eight after-school centres that hold classes in English, Maths and Values, it is with The School Project that Akanksha hope to drive systemic reform in Indian education – especially in the kind that is doled out in the name of RTE.

So they work within the system, and have set up English-medium schools in partnership with the municipal authorities in Mumbai and Pune. Besides dedicated, qualified teachers, each School Leader is key to the success of the Akanksha model. The hope is that their classrooms serve as learning laboratories that will inspire and be replicated by others.

Then perhaps founder and self-confessed dreamer Shaheen Mistri, who started Teach For India too, may see her wish come true. She says: “Every child in the country deserves and can have an excellent education. That is enough work for my lifetime.”
Akanksha, who currently serve 5,000 children, hope to double that number – and their impact – in the next five years and spread their network of schools to at least four major urban areas.

For this ambitious goal – which has the potential to transform the futures of marginalised communities in India – Akanksha need all the support they can get.

Art For Akanksha

THIS initiative harnesses the potential for creative expression in every child through which they can speak their mind, paint their world and dream of a different destiny. Akanksha firmly believe that education is not just about earning grades but also about learning skills and values to make good choices – vital for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Art-based career opportunities are offered to the alumni and the art products, often custom-made, are sold to generate revenue.

Service Learning Programme (SLP)

TAILORED for 15 to 20-year-olds, this Mumbai-based year-long programme exposes youngsters to social issues and motivates them to act as change agents. The aim of SLP, started in 2004, is to build self-understanding in young people about their strengths and weaknesses and hone leadership skills. The SLP team also support Akanksha centres, and some schools, to integrate the spirit of service into the curriculum. SLP is one among other programmes that Akanksha run for student enrichment.

About The Akanksha Foundation

What the Akanksha team have done for our children is a dream come true. Today our children teach us about so many things thanks to values they imbibe at school. Akanksha is a support system not only to the students by to the entire family.

Shobha Bodka, parent, Mumbai

I have never mentored a child, so this relationship is something that is very new and very special to me and one which I will always treasure. My mentee has taught me to be enthusiastic, honest and just plain cheerful in life!

Bhavya, mentor, Mumbai

I love my mentor because she is always with me in every situation and gives me advice on what to do in my life. She has taught me to be self-confident, to trust others and above all to respect others.

Sabina, student, Mumbai

  • Vandana Goyal Chief Executive Officer
  • Chitra Pandit Development & Communications
  • Sivakami Kotla Chief Financial Officer