Govt of India statistics (March 2011) show that 125,000 children remained uneducated in Assam. The main cause is school dropout - 8.3% in lower primary, 15.2% in upper primary. We work with schools like Parijat Academy, Pragyalaya and SHED, which have dedicated teams and do not have teacher absenteeism and other problems prevalent in other schools that lead to student drop-out. But family poverty, another key cause of drop out, is a large challenge in our schools. We address that issue directly.
First, we reduce the financial burden on families. Selected students get $100/year which converts, at current exchange rate, to about Rs. 500/month. This small amount is the crucial financial boost needed by the family to be able to keep the child in school, instead of pulling her out to work, to earn for the family. Second, our volunteers provide career mentoring using well-designed Junior Achievement curriculum to show students a path to jobs to stay motivated through school.
The primary long-term effect is increased income for 100 children and their families with educated students getting good jobs when they graduate. This leads to a self-sustaining virtuous circle of students staying in school, progressively reducing the need for intervention such as ours in those localities.