In Pursuit of Excellence

Dec. 31, 2011
Anand and his family. Anand is sitting on the right

Anand is pursuing academic excellence despite extreme poverty at home. A Grade-4 student at a government primary school in Delhi, Anand has been a consistent topper in his class. Anand’s father - Ganga Sharma - separated from the family several years back and now lives in Assam. His mother Sita Devi fends for the whole family by working as a housemaid in the neighboring middle-class homes. Despite an absent father and poor condition of the household, Anand is an avid learner. He is good at English, Hindi and Mathematics. He goes to a local study circle called My Angels Academy, which is based on peer-to-peer learning. There, Anand learns from elder students in the academy, while also teaching younger students. Shiksha Sankalp enrolled Anand in the Learning Rewards program in May 2011. In the ensuing Standardized Academic Performance (SAP) test, Anand emerged as the Grade-4 topper. He was awarded a monthly stipend of Rs.848 by Shiksha Sankalp. In the next SAP test in September 2011, Anand was again at the top. However, in the process of fine-tuning the Learning Rewards model, Shiksha Sankalp recalibrated the reward amount. Anand has since been receiving Rs.677 per month. To receive this stipend, Sita Devi had to obtain a voter identity card. She also had to open a bank account for Anand, with herself as the guardian. In the process, Sita Devi’s democratic rights and her financial condition both got strengthened. She is now requesting Shiksha Sankalp to extend the program to cover Grade-5 as well, so that her daughter Geeta also benefits. Anand’s elder brother Chandan (Grade-10) contributes to family income by providing after-school tuitions to neighborhood children. He teaches four primary school students for an hour each day and charges them Rs. 200 (USD 4) per month each. All the four recipient children are also enrolled in the Learning Rewards program. Thus Shiksha Sankalp is benefiting families in multiple ways. <br> Anand is also a football lover. He strikes a fine balance between his studies and his love for football. With support from Shiksha Sankalp, Anand dreams of becoming an educated person and a good football player some day. Meanwhile, his immediate dream is to be an after-school tuition teacher like his brother Chandan and earn some money to support his mother. This is the impact story of Anand Sharma (Student ID SC-1-10-045-0027), who lives at WZ 167/114, Indira Camp No.4, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018, India.