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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Pratham USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations, Primary & Elementary Schools

Mission: Our mission is ?Every child in school and learning well?. Recognizing the importance of early interventions, we focus most of our programs on pre-school and primary education. We believe that by providing children with a good education, we create opportunities not only for them, but also for their families and communities.Seeded by UNICEF in 1994, Pratham began in the slums of Mumbai. Currently, we serve underprivileged children across 21 states in India.Pratham?s programs are unique because they are scaleable and low-cost. We also work to improve existing systems rather than building parallel ones.

Geographic areas served: India

Programs: Read india is a remedial learning program for children who don't know how to read, write and do arithmetic and are lagging in school. Currently, read india can be replicated and scaled-up with school and government partners. In this phase, a "learning camp" model has been adopted. The model is piloted with a few thousand children, replicated in groups of schools, and subsequently scaled-up, in partnership with state governments, to reach millions of children.

the vocational skills training program prepares india's youth for success by teaching relevant skills for today. The program allows them to choose their path in areas as diverse as banking, agriculture, or restaurant and hotel services. Through pratham usa new entrepreneurship program, they can also learn what it takes to start their own businesses.

aser - annual status of education report and second chance - each year aser collects data on more than 600,000 children, between the age of 5-16, and covers close to 16,000 villages. 25,000 to 30,000 volunteers from more than 500 partner organizations participate in the data collection covering about 577 districts of the country.

pose - pratham open school of education, second chance lends educational support to adolescent girls and women to assist them in completing their secondary education and earning their diplomas.

Community Stories

68 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Our approach to giving is to support NGOs that have a low cost/rapidly scaleable model and are run by not just do gooders but capable leaders and managers.
We have been supporting Pratham for a number of years and have tracked its performance and progress very closely,including numerous site visits(some of them unannounced).
Its amazing how effective they have been and how they have evolved over the years.
They have a no frills ,low cost operation and have always been transparent(sometimes their reports specific to our target donation get delayed,but they always send them).
We normally donate anonymously,but this NGO does such good work that we have pitched it to many many people,so that others may be able to help as well.

Review from Guidestar

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I came across Pratham's work over a decade ago through a friend. She had a grassroots fundraiser in her living room. She passed around photos of a Mumbai slum, and a brochure. For about $40, we could guarantee the education of one child for a year. A child who would otherwise remain illiterate and might well become a criminal in order to survive. I was convinced. So much so that I became a regular donor. I researched Pratham, and was impressed by their growth, dedication and transparency. When invited, I joined their board in Houston. Pratham, which has grown exponentially in the last decade, works in most of the states in India. They work in at-risk urban and rural areas. They've perfected a method to teach completely illiterate kids to read in a surprisingly short time. They partner with government schools to teach this method to the teachers. They've opened vocational centers so the children they've educated can now find jobs. They rescue street kids and kids who are the victims of trafficking and child-labor. The stories would break your heart--except that now these kids have a second chance. Pratham is changing lives & you can be part of it! If you believe that children deserve a future no matter what conditions they were born into, check them out at www.pratham.org.

2 Shikari S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My non-profit focus is defined by one word - "opportunity" - helping individuals have better opportunities. And, there is nothing like primary education and healthcare to support that.

I have been giving for over 20 years and started giving to Pratham about 4 years back. About year back some called from there and asked if I wanted to do more than write a check (first time someone ever asked). And, here I am - now I am a volunteer.

Pratham's scale and effectiveness is incredible. And, they are not shy about measuring and publishing the metrics. Some claim that it is a bit impersonal but I am an engineer I get swayed by data more than rhetoric

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Pratham since 2003. I was introduced to this org by Yogi Patel who had just asked me to come help stuff envelopes one week and I've been dedicated to Pratham ever since. I had a wonderful opportunity to visit several Pratham schools/balwadis in India as well as see the effects of the Mobile Library and the main office of Pratham in Mumbai. The visit to these schools showed the progress Pratham has made in these poverty stricken areas. I also had an opportunity to attend the Pratham Tri-State Gala in 2005 to assist in whichever way possible. I currently volunteer with Pratham and also am the volunteer coordinator for close to 6 years for the Annual Pratham Houston Galas. I have a team of dedicated and hardworking volunteers who go to the extremes to make sure everything is perfect for each event and are still able to enjoy the galas. I try to speak about Pratham to other people who have not been exposed to this wonderful organization both in the US and in India and hope to continue spreading the word that "Imagine an India Where Every Child Can Read"

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have always been very impressed with Pratham's stories and activities to eradicate child labor. Also, I think very highly of Pratham teachers and their dedication to this cause. Their ASER 2009 program and Read India initiative have been really good.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Pratham team and volunteers are passionate and dedicated to provide education to needy kids. I get utmost satisfaction contributing and supporting the Pratham team and the cause.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great! Learned of Pratham through a dear family friend. Was not disappointed. The power to bring books to the communities with hope for a brighter future. Wonderful initiative.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved in this organization since 2001 as a volunteer fundraiser. I have watched with pride the success of the mission of Pratham - every child in school and learning. If you make education available next door and fun - children will learn. It is a simple concept!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To me, educating children in India is about empowering dreams- 100 million dreams to be exact. The power of Pratham is that it not only teaches children but also inspires and empowers them to dream. Given the support of donors and the commitment of volunteers, Pratham has already empowered over 20 million children in India and with your support will reach millions more! One visit to a Pratham school was all I needed to see the amazing impact of the organization and is one of the reasons I have worked for the organization for so many years. Pratham’s programs are developed with academic rigor to help students improve their reading and math skills. They make sure children are truly learning. It was exciting to see the commitment and dedication of the teachers as they shared the progress of their students and described. Pratham's innovative techniques. It was heartwarming to see the proud smile of a girl when she mastered a new math concept. I always knew that Pratham had a strong commitment to children’s literacy, proven model and cost- effectiveness, and widespread recognition. I was further amazed to see the amount of effort and dedication that occurs in a daily basis from the teachers, volunteers, and especially the children. I would invite you to support Pratham’s initiatives– one visit to a Pratham school, and you can immediately see the impact of your contribution.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Pratham since I was in middle school. Currently, I'm a third year in college and I am still involved now with the college Pratham organization. I personally visited India and went to a school where Pratham was impacting the students and was extremely impressed. This motivated for me to come back home and to become more involved with the organization. I went to community events and spoke on behalf of Pratham. Coming from a youth, many adults stopped by to listen to what I had to share about Pratham.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known about Pratham for quite some time now and I admire the work they do. The 2nd largest population (Indian) in this world will also have the 2nd largest pool of geniuses not being able to reach their potentiol without the help of Pratham who are doing the best to provide education to the under privileged children of India. Pratham needs all the support anybody can give.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was looking for a non-profit which I could relate to at some level and feel my efforts won’t be wasted. Pratham was one of the few choices, and looking back, I’m so glad I choose it. Pratham’s efforts are focused in India, my birth place, and on education of children. I truly believe education can empower an individual and provide opportunities that may otherwise be missed. My first interaction with Pratham was a brilliant one because I met Madhav Chavan, whose passion and vision for Pratham made me believe from day one that this organization is leaving its impact – not only on children and families but also on volunteers all over the world. It’s been over six months since I got involved and I have nothing but great things to say about my involvement. The spirit and zeal of every team member and volunteer is unmatched because we all truly believe that Pratham work is paying off. It’s satisfying to see warm words with drawings made by Pratham children thanking donors for the support. We realize what privileges we have with education when we see someone else struggle to get the basic primary education. I’ve interacted with volunteers who worked in India in the field – some of them weren’t even born in India but could completely relate to the importance of programs sponsored by this NGO. Their personal experience in being in India and working on the field programs has motivated me to go and spend time with Pratham in India in the next year. The strength of Pratham efforts lies in the millions of people who touch this organization – whether as a supporter, a donor, a volunteer, or someone who spreads the word about Pratham. I’m looking forward to spending some time in India and having a more hands on experience. Pratham is a great organization with the vision to empower people to lead a good life.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I have heard about this organization for a long time, but than I had a chance to attend events. What I saw there was very impressive, more than what I expected. Giving a hope to children and let them know that humanity is still alive, people care. Children get education which is a very vital part for their future as well as country’s future. Adult gets job to teach this children which provides for their family needs. Pratham is People’s network for betterment of people. Pratham is reaching its goal in minimum expenses by its highly professional and dedicated volunteers.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Pratham India is a very clean, transparent NGO focusing on Child education in every state of India while empowering women and men who work with Pratham. I beleive that Pratham model of working with government and non-government institutions maximises the resources available to child education. Pratham participates in the educational survey ASER which is extremely important monitoring aspect of the effort. In USA, Pratham USA is a professional organization that as a US citizen I feel very proud to be part of. Pratham is filling an important function of child education and people empowerment in the underpriviliged sector of India. I am extremely satisfied being a Pratham volunteer.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a Pratham volunteer and donor for over five years. I have visited Pratham programs in Dharavi and other slums in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Auranagabad, New Delhi. Each of my visits has been reassuring that Pratham is making a big difference and very focused on its mission to ensure all children are in school and learning well. I am convinced that my time and money spent on Pratham is my best investment with lifelong dividends in the form of smiles on the faces of children. Go visit Pratham.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have visited Pratham's educational programs in Delhi, India in 2006 and 2007. During both the visits, I have been updated about Pratham's work by their staff members. In January, 2006, I visited Pratham’s educational programs in slums of Shahdara, New Delhi with a team of administrators and faculty members from California State University, Long Beach. During that visit, we observed two early childhood (Balwadi) programs held inside people's homes and witnessed educational activities for older children held in an old temple yard. We also talked to people in the community and were highly impressed with their positive responses about Pratham’s work. During my 2007 visit, I observed two preschool programs. The two preschool classes that I observed were held in the entrance room of a family’s living space. These rooms were very small and there were no furniture or other equipments as one would expect in a regular classroom. However, recommended practices for young children such as developmentally and culturally appropriate curriculum and child-centered teaching practices were highly visible during instruction. Teachers demonstrated an understanding that “self-expression is key to internal motivation and learning.” Children shared their emerging literacy and numeracy skills through a variety of ways. Children demonstrated their abilities to apply concepts of colors, shapes, and many other concepts to their immediate surroundings. Children showed and proudly talked about their work with us. As a researcher working with young children, I have consistently gathered this sense of ownership and empowerment when children talk about their work, irrespective of the differences in their geographical locations and life circumstances. A teacher training session was also scheduled that day. I had an opportunity to interact with teachers before they started their training session. Teachers showed stories and artworks of children at the L-R (Learning to read) level. They also shared many anecdotes of unusual talents and potentials among these children. One would not miss the eagerness and happiness in teachers’ voices. Children’s stories and art work reminded me of what educational philosophers and researchers have expressed over centuries that potentials within each child need a nurturing and stimulating environment for full realization. Pratham and its committed volunteers and teachers are providing an environment that fosters creativity and motivation, a forgotten domain in many existing educational institutions. I also learned about Pratham’s mobile libraries. I saw a suitcase that contained books for children and a log book maintained by teachers to track individual children’s library activities. I also learned that Pratham teachers examine a child’s frequency of checking out books with his/her actual reading performance. Mobile library is an approach that can be replicated in any part of the world. Pratham’s educational practices including its low teacher-child ratio, on-going teacher training and monitoring, high focus on children’s learning, ongoing assessment of children’s understanding of concepts, and implementing mobile libraries demonstrate Pratham’s understanding of research-based practices. Not only that Pratham understands these practices, it implements these practices amidst many constraints of infrastructure and resources to enhance quality of educational experiences for children under their care and supervision. My experiences at Pratham's educational programs in India convinced me to join Pratham's Los Angeles chapter in the United States and to be a district sponsor.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our family has been a pratham supporter for a few years, however this year I got an opportunity to see the workings of Pratham first hand after I was nominated as a board member. I also had an opportunity to visit Balwadi during my recent visit to Delhi and was much impressed with the dedication of the teachers. I'm looking forward to going back and meeting the kids again soon. Hats off to Pratham and all the best for its good work. Shalini Bhargava Houston, TX

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Pratham USA in organizing fundraising concerts over the last three years. They are very professional and dedicated in supporting Pratham India projects for children's education. It has been a pleasure working with them.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to volunteer and work with Pratham in New Delhi for a year, and in that time, was amazed by all that the organization does and particularly the truly invaluable change Pratham is creating for millions of children. One of the most unique factors that makes Pratham highly efficient and commendable is the organization's innovative use of data for all of their programs - this simple but difficult accomplishment makes Pratham's many intervention's evidence-based, sustainable, and extremely effective.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

About two years ago, I meet some of the Trustees of Pratham UK and was very impressed by their work ethic and dedication. Above all, I felt that they were involved with Pratham for the right reasons. Since them I have participated as a volunteer and have found it very rewarding to play a small part in their fund raising activities. Graca Nicholson