Going to School Fund

Going to School creates design-driven stories to teach India's poorest children skills at school. We're an award-winning nonprofit trust with a 10-year track record of inspiring millions of children in India to stay in school, learn skills, use their education to transform their lives and create their own opportunities. Our journey began in 2003 when we created Going to School in India, a children's book that tells 25 stories of what school can be, from going to school in a tent in a desert to going to school in the dark with solar lanterns. We made the book into a pioneering TV series that aired on India's leading television networks reaching 65 million children. Our next series, Girl Stars...
Apr 13, 2011

My Second Hand Shoes

My Second Hand Shoes: A Be! Story

Progress Report April 2011

‘Be! an Entrepreneur’ is a multimedia, skills-education project to teach young girls in India, who live in poverty, entrepreneurial skills so they can use their education to transform their lives.

10 epic movies, 50 books (each teaching an entrepreneurial skill) and a 15 part radio series inspire millions of young girls from low-income groups in India to choose to become entrepreneurs and to pioneer enterprises that to solve the social, economic and environmental problems they face in their lives.  

Be! makes going to school relevant to employment – encouraging India’s poorest girls to stay in school to learn entrepreneurial skills that will help them to get a job, or ‘create a job’ by choosing to become entrepreneurs, after they finish school.

Be! Books are a work in progress

50 Be! Skills books teach 50 entrepreneurial/employability skills to young people age 12-18 from low-income group in Government schools in India.

Each Be! book teaches an entrepreneurial skill to children, from identifying a problem/ opportunity, to making a plan, a budget, building relationships and the power of communication and persistence. Children will read one book a week and complete a skill activity that allows for constant monitoring of the program – the activities show how children understand the ‘skill’ in their context. Activities range from mapping your social network that will get you to the chief minister to making a children’s newspaper to interviewing local entrepreneurs about their businesses.

Be! Skills books are based on extensive research with over 1,000 children across India to map the entrepreneurial skills they have and use in their everyday lives.

Be! books portray regional stories and are in local languages.

Book 1-35: Explore key entrepreneurial skills with girls: from identifying problems, to making a plan, taking initiative to building relationships, identifying resources to managing finances (financial literacy).

Books 36-50

Are graphic novels, blue-prints of 15 sustainable social enterprises that solve local problems and generate income. These books repeat the entrepreneurial skills learned in the previous 35 books

The books that have been completed are:

Book 1: Entrepreneurs are Everywhere

Entrepreneurial Skill – Introduces the concept of ‘entrepreneurs’ and how they are everywhere. 

19 year old Jeevan works on a train and travels across India. This book is a series of letters he sends to his younger sister Sarita who stays in the village. Letters are about entrepreneurs, who they are, where they are and what they are doing.

Book 2: My Family Tree - Everyone in My Family is an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial Skill – Establishes that though entrepreneurs seem ‘new’, they go back generations; even in your family tree.

Young Seema wants a swing and pesters her grandmother for one. But instead her grandmother tells her a story of all the people in her family and the wonderful, entrepreneurial things they have done. Inspired, Seema figures out a way to make her own swing.

Book 3: Getting to the Bottom of It

Entrepreneurial Skill – Identifying problems and interconnections between problems

Seema, a 12 year old girl from a village moves to a slum in a city and meets her blind cousin Pawan. Seema becomes Pawan’s eyes as they travel through the slum—and later the village—discovering the problems of waste, water, housing, health, migration all around them.

Book 4: My Uncle, the Bridge Builder

Entrepreneurial Skill – Supply and demand, identifying that businesses bridge gap between supply and demand

Girish Uncle, a bridge-builder who has built over 90 low-cost bridges, sends his journal to his niece Afreen to help her understand the gaps and needs in villages like hers.  Girish Uncle’s journal shows Afreen the importance of filling these gaps and connecting people and places. 

Book 5: Three Girl Detectives and the Case of the Missing Village

Entrepreneurial Skill – Inquisitive

Three young girls realize that their village is not on the map and undertake the journey to find out why this is so. Through research, gathering information and asking questions they finally succeed in putting their village on the map.

Book 6:  Bijli Brings a Carnival to her Village

Entrepreneurial Skill – Building Relationships and Social Connections

Bijli goes to a carnival in a neighboring village and now wants it to come to her village so that other young girls too can enjoy it. But to make this happen she must get signatures of 200 villagers. Bijali builds relationships and uses her network to convince people and realizes how her social connections help her.

Book 24: Second-Hand Shoes

Entrepreneurial Skill – Marketing, Market Research and Advertising

Mishti is a young woman from the slum who sees how many people from her community don’t have proper shoes, or any shoes at all. She starts a second-hand shoe business to fill this gap. But how do you sell old shoes? Mishti realizes that it’s all about marketing—understanding your market, setting the right price, packaging, presentation and advertising. (A few designed spreads from the book have been attached)

Book 40: Seher’s Bolt of Lightning Business

Seher brings light to her slum when she starts an enterprise of renting solar lanterns to street vendors and homes in her neighbourhood, thereby solving the problem of lack of electricity and dependence on kerosene. Through her journey she battles the system and a corrupt slum lord before finally succeeding.

Book 41: Phulwa Lights a Bulb

A village in rural Bihar changes the way they live after dark when Phulwa, a young girl who is a mechanic not only brings light to the village using rice husk, but also brings an enterprise to rural India.

Apr 13, 2011

Going to School books to more schools in Delhi

Going to School in India


Description: Going to School books are a celebration of what school can be.

10 mini books tell the story of going to school in India through the eyes of a child who goes to school in places as unusual as a mud desert, in the dark, on a mountaintop and by a wheelchair.


  1. Going to School on a Mountain Top
  2. Going to School in a Tribe
  3. Going to School in the Dark
  4. Going to School in the Middle of a Lake
  5. Going to School in a Tent
  6. Going to School on Wheels
  7. Going to School in a Temple
  8. Going to School under a Mango Tree
  9. Going to School by the Sea
  10. Going to School on a Railway Station Platform


Target Audience: Children age 8 to 14


Print Run: GTS printed 1000 sets of mini books in Hindi.



Now we aim to reach over 100 schools in Delhi. These will be private aided or unaided schools. The monthly fee for these low-cost private schools is really minimal and most children living in slums attend these schools. By sending books to these schools we will be able to reach a group of children we have not been able to reach ever before.

Feb 24, 2011

The Amazing Adventures of Phulwa the Mechanic

‘Be! an Entrepreneur’ is a large scale multimedia skills-education campaign (50 skills books each teach an entrepreneurial skill, 10 movies and a 15 part radio series) to inspire millions of young people age 10-16 from low-income groups to choose to become entrepreneurs and to pioneer enterprises that solve the social, economic and environmental problems they face in their lives. From water to waste, energy to housing, Be! believes that young people who have grown up in poverty have the capacity to pioneer enterprises that create jobs, solve problems and generate income, they have just never been given the chance before.

50 Be! Skills Books teach 50 entrepreneurial/employability skills for young people age 10-16 from low-income groups in India – from identifying a problem, to making a plan and a budget to generating resources and building a team to taking a risk. Be! Skills books feature 10 urban/rural business models, in the form of graphic novels, 50-100 pages long that solve issues of water, waste, sanitation, energy, health, transportation, communication, craft, information, agriculture/farming and education. Each Be! book has an in-built activity that children complete once a week. 

50 Be! books each teach an entrepreneurial skill to children age 10-16. 10/50 books teach enterprise models where the skills in the series are explored through graphic novels. Here is a story of one of the graphic novels - 

The Amazing Adventures of Phulwa the Mechanic

Meet Phulwa. She is 19 years old and unlike any other girl in her dusty little village. She works as a mechanic helping her father, Ram Prasad, at his ramshackle garage on the highway.

One dark night, a car breaks down on the highway. A city-wala pushes the car to Ram Prasad’s garage and is surprised to see Phulwa there. “You’re just a girl, how can you fix a car?”

Phulwa stands up for herself. “I’m the best mechanic in this whole village. I’ll show you.”

But Phulwa’s village doesn’t have electricity and without it, she can’t repair the car, not even with her expert jugaad skills. Embarrassed and angry, Phulwa decides that enough is enough. Young men from her village have been leaving for the city in droves. There is no enterprise here and everything shuts down at dusk. It’s time for things to change. She’s going to find a way to bring electricity to her village.

She hunts down information and with the help of Kumar discovers a village a 100 kilometers away with light. This village generates electricity from a biomass gassifier plant. This is Phulwa’s solution, but she can’t do it alone. She needs to get the people in her village to contribute money to construct the biomass plant. But how will she convince Gayatri, the sarpanch (village head) to support her? Especially when Gayatri’s scheming husband is intent on sabotaging Phulwa’s plan? And how will she convince the villagers, who have long since given up on the dream of electricity?

Find out when this graphic novel comes out later this year.


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