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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

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


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.