Project #1594

Design-Driven Stories Teach Kids Skills

by Going to School Fund
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.


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Organization Information

Going to School Fund

Location: New Delhi - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Lisa Heydlauff
New Delhi, India
$15,030 raised of $75,000 goal
340 donations
$59,970 to go
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