Saarthi Education Foundation: The COVID heroes who deserve a salute!

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COVID-19 has brought the world to an unprecedented halt. What could have been the year of technological advancement and infrastructural developments, has become the year of lockdowns and work from home. 

So far, India has reported 3.85 million cases and 67,376 deaths. Throughout this time, the only silver lining has been the fact that even though the country is facing such dire situations, some people are continuing to contribute to society in their capacity. 

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Education of Underprivileged Kids

Far away from the limelight, Saarthi Education has silently been ensuring that the education of underprivileged kids does not suffer during this time. Started in 2017 by Ankit Arora, Saarthi Education works around yielding better educational outcomes in children by encouraging parent participation.

They work with families from low-income households to bridge the gap between generations and transform their lives through education. Saarthi Education supports kids from lower-income strata as research states that when compared to kids of the same age group from financially stable families, kids from underserved communities tend to have poorer cognitive and noncognitive abilities. 

42% of kids in India fall below the poverty line, and this adversely affects their ability to have a normal academic journey. This is why Saarthi’s aim is to be able to identify these kids and engage them in an educational format that gives them a better chance at life. 

While there is much debate around the wide digital divide, the rise of EdTech, and the commercialization of education, Saarthi Education Foundation has been working around a model that encourages leveraging existing smart-phones in lower-income households. COVID-19 brought drastic changes to the functioning of the NGO that previously included sending wholesome activity boxes to the kids’ houses.

Saarthi Education During Lockdown

During the lockdown, they came up with a new model to ensure that the kids do not hit the summer slide, wherein they tend to forget their milestones and achievements because of lack of touch with academics. 

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As of today, Saarthi is working with 154 community-based women in four states (Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Madhya-Pradesh) to help 5000+ children improve their learning outcomes. During the lockdown, they have received an all-time high engagement response rate of 90%, which is the highest among EdTech organizations in the nonprofit and for-profit sector. 

Written by Shrey Srivastava, a Journalism graduate from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. He writes for Politics, Education, and International affairs.

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