At Pokhrama Foundation
leadership is not power, leadership is service.

The Foundation is creating leaders of change within their communities through service projects. Without the insulation that privilege brings, our children are daily exposed to and live with the issues, fault lines and injustices of their society.

The probing liberal arts education that children receive at Pokhrama Foundation Academy enables them to recognize, understand and critique their own social realities. Alongside the cultivation of an objective, critical intellect, the Foundation and School also promote the ethic of service, which binds the Foundation’s scholars closer to their communities as agents of positive change.

2020-2021, three of our teams became finalists in the International Change Makers Olympiad.

Learning Centers

Paving the Long Road to Education

On the 6 th of December 2021 the Pokhrama Foundation launched its Learning Centre. Pokhrama is part of a wider area that suffers from severe underdevelopment and widespread poverty. Our students are all disadvantaged. Yet, there are degrees of disadvantage even within Pokhrama—depending on the intersection of one or several factors such as relative poverty, caste and gender. The Learning Centre is a community service initiative designed to level the playing field for the most disadvantaged, most-in-need children in and around Pokhrama. The Centre works with kids with little or no school education. It specially reaches out to girl children-- who receive few, if any, resources for their growth in a patriarchy ridden society, and to children from the lowest castes-- in whose families education deficits are often the The Learning Center offers bridge courses that prepare kids for transition into the formal learning environments of schools. 20 student volunteers from PFA (from grades 7 th , 8 th and 9 th) teach 60 kids (ages 6-9) drawn from the local community. Students have been divided into four groups by age and ability, and receive systematic instruction, six times a week, in numeracy and Hindi and English literacy. Student volunteers receive teacher training—they do practice lessons and learn to write lesson plans—before they start teaching at the Centre. Learning objectives and study materials recommended by the CBSE (The national education board in India) are used for each group. Every lesson begins with a roll call and the checking of homework from the previous lesson. Each lesson ends with students receiving homework to practice their concepts and their writing skills. Teachers and assistant teachers of PFA offer guidance to the students’ led effort at the Learning Centre.

60% of the first batch of learners at the Learning Center were placed in full-time regular schools in 2022. The kids at PFA—our changemakers and leaders—are already bringing positive changes to their community!

In October 2022, another branch of the Learning Center was started at the Dalit village of Musehri—of people traditionally known as “rat eaters”. They belong to the lowest rung of the caste ladder and were, for a long time, considered untouchables. Though there ahs been some change in how musahars are viewed socially, the community is still subject to grinding poverty and caste-based discrimination.

Catering to more than 50 students from backgrounds of the most debilitating poverty and caste discrimination, this Centre is so far the Foundation’s most ambitious effort in the direction of social justice and equity.

Maitrai or the Friendship Initiative

In our bid to serve the wider national community, from February 2020, the Pokhrama Foundation Academy has engaged in the Maitraiyi or Friendship Initiative. Leadership and teaching staff at the PFA have extended help and support to other schools serving disadvantaged communities in different parts of India. The PFA has reached out in friendship to Poorna (Bangalore), Nagauri (Meerut) and Markaz-i-Sakafat (Calicut) through helping with the recruitment and training of teachers, curriculum development, and sharing of pedagogical practices and materials.

On July 23 rd , 2022 the Pokhrama Foundation began an outreach teaching program in the Bora Banda Site 3 slum cluster in Hyderabad. 35 kids, from low-income families, who had been pushed out of school during the Covid crisis are being taught by one teacher and an assistant teacher.

Pokhrama Plus Club and the Pokhrama Herald

The Pokhrama Club, led by Ms. Bharti Rawat, is a club through which students at the PFA engage with issues concerning the wider community in and around Pokhrama. Classroom discussions and queries often become triggers for community engagement, and since PFA believes in "education for life, through life", taking and trying ideas derived from books and the classrooms to the village and community seems only logical. Thus, in discussing democratic governance, when most sixth graders claimed not to know or understand how or where government worked for them, their Social Studies teacher, Ms. Rawat, decided that a good way to test out how government or governance worked in the locality would be to get students to do a survey of government welfare schemes and their efficacy in Pokhrama and the villages around it. Through a door-to-door survey of 327 households, students collected data that revealed a total of 17 state and central government welfare schemes applicable to the survey area, of which barely 3 or 4 were being utilized by the people of the village. As follow up steps, students prepared a nukkad naatak (street play) to raise awareness about various welfare schemes that were going unused; they met with the village level elected representative and presented their findings; and wrote about this survey and other local events and happenings in the school newspaper The Pokhrama Herald.