VIDYA’s Programs for Literacy
India is home to a multicultural and multiracial population of 1.2 billion people (that’s 17.5% of the world’s population)– over 50% of them under the age of 25. It’s the world’s largest democracy, and its third largest economy.
As nation that regained independence just 60 years ago, India faces many challenges, one of which is the wide disparity in income, education and exposure among the population. While there is steady improvement every year, at VIDYA we think that ensuring a high quality of education, practical knowledge, and enough opportunities to get into skilled vocations makes a significant difference to the lives of the individuals affected, and how empowered they are.
A now common approach to empowering first-generation learners is a combination of basic state-level education for children and improving basic welfare. But education needs context and applicability to harness individuality and diversity, without which it may simply contribute to more disillusionment within underprivileged communities. Moreover, VIDYA believes that education should involve not just the child, but the family and community, as well. Educating mothers is the cornerstone of our method, as the mother is usually the main caretaker of the family, and has the most influence over her children.
Our multi-tiered approach to literacy addresses the needs of men, women, youth and children at every level of an underprivileged community. This involves:
- Everyday Literacy: We work to improve analytical skills in their mother tongue and in English, basic computer skills, and teach them about managing bank accounts, money, government forms etc.
- Academic Achievement: We facilitate degrees and certifications in STEM subjects and Arts, and the VIDYA School and other school programs provide quality holistic education for children
- Vocational Training : We train them in a vocation which is always in economic demand, and can either be used as a stepping stone to that line of work or as an opportunity for entrepreneurship
- Awareness and Exposure: We build capacity to make sense of current events, political intentions and local/global issues
- Life Skills : We build capacity for being able to question ideas intelligently, maintain intellectual rigour, lead initiatives and mentor others
To paraphrase Mahathma Gandhi, “True education consists of head – learning to know; hand – learning to earn a livelihood, and Heart – learning to be.”