UWC Mahindra College
The Akshara programme, founded in 2005, aims to break the cycle of poverty by creating opportunities for children from rural communities to receive a vocational or professional education. It operates in villages around UWC Mahindra College, near Pune in India. The team is based at the college and uses its resources to deliver long term educational support to school children and improve the pass rate in the state exams. It focuses on enhancing the skills of local school teachers, encouraging the education of girls, offering careers counselling, creating awareness among parents to support their children’s learning and providing supplementary healthcare and nutritious food. Over 100 students are currently enrolled in the programme. The Akshara Programme is the first project of the Equal Access to Opportunity Programme (EATO).
After passing their exams, students have gone on to study various vocational courses at local institutes including hotel and hospitality management, nursing and mechanics. Three students who gained scholarships to join UWC Mahindra College are now studying for degrees in the USA.
“I had been an Akshara student since 2004 and Akshara was really important in my life. Our teacher explained things in ways that were easy for everyone to understand – if we worked hard. It was like steps and now we can climb them more easily.”
Milind Jori (UWC Mahindra College).