The society for Door Step Schools.(DSS)

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The society for Door Step Schools.(DSS): Project Foundation-Providing basic literacy to the most marginalized

Pune & Pimpri Chinchwad and surroundings, IndiaPune, India
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Every growing city has its share of marginalized communities with lack of access to healthcare and education. Door Step School's Project Foundation brings awareness and opportunities in education to the doorstep of children in these communities, opening up a world of possibilities otherwise denied.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could educate all these children so that are they can contribute to the well-being of their families, society and the country?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Expanding infrastructure in Pune attracts a large number of laborers in the construction industry. Based on our study, there are at least fifty thousand school age construction laborers’ children who are deprived of schooling as their parents migrate, sometimes every few months, in search of work. Their low aspirations, ignorance of rights, fear of interacting with school authorities, repeated change in surroundings, compound the situation.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Take education to the doorstep of migrant laborers through Education Activity Centers with 4 core programs for 0-14 year olds - Creche, preprimary, school support, and literacy classes. Train and sensitize field staff to: Counsel parents about the importance of education. Interact with all the stake holders -parents, community, school and government authorities, builders, contractors etc. Use innovative age appropriate play-way methods; adapt traditional and popular games to develop attention span, concentration and interest. Encourage physical social cognitive and emotional development using various activities like art-craft, music, dance,storytelling, projects etc. Teach parents and children what they need to do when they migrate.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

"I am Mariam Rathod. I have been with DSS since 2009; first as a student of ‘Balwadi’ in ‘Garden City’ near Karve road. I then had to move with my parents to ‘Sarthi’ site in Pashan for a few months. In 2010 I gave an external exam for Std.I and started attending Shastrinagar School in Std.II. But soon my parents had to move again so I was in Mohammadwadi. DSS once again helped me get admission in a school. Last year I moved to Wagholi and I am now a student of Std.VI. Thank you DSS for helping me go to school in every location that my parents have had to move! Raju from the site ‘Simplicity’, made a working model of a battery operated lift for the annual science exhibition. He was thrilled when he won a prize and received a medal.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Between April 2013 and March 2014 DSS, Pune covered 13,171 children on 139 construction sites through our four core programs. a)4432 children availed our day care facility at 120 construction sites. This has become a critical activity for us so that the older siblings may attend school. b)3922 children were reached through the pre-primary classes last year - Early motivation and preparation for children and parents translates into more enrolment in schools. c)2403 children who are unable to attend mainstream schools due to various reasons attended Literacy classes. d)592 children were provided literacy support through our mobile classroom "School-on-Wheels" e) 1717 children at over 400 sites were able to reach mainstream schools through our "Every Child Counts-Citizens Campaign"

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

An estimated 50 to 70 thousand children of parents woring at 2500 construction sites in Pune are school-age children who are deprived of their basic right to education.UNICEF Reports 15 million migrant children being out of school across India.The strategy for spread involves independent replication/ adoption of the program by multiple organizations across the country. The strategy includes developing a solution for seamless co-ordination among organizations to ensure children at both source and destination locations of migration are reached and integrated into mainstream/alternate education.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Financial sustainability Plan involves. a) Working with Builders to ensure they fund at least 80% of the cost of education and childcare at the construction sites b) Working with government to ensure financial commitment on School transport. 75% of Transport cost is funded by one Municipal Corporation in Pune. c) Involving Volunteers in grass-root work through Citizens Campaign replacing field staff Education is otherwise Free under RTE

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many organizations are working for education of migrant children. Residential schooling is often considered the solution for migrating parents. Door Step School's Project Foundation model offers a unique alternative that addresses access, inclusiveness and provides holistic support to children in all age groups. By involving Builders, Government and Citizens, the model lends itself to long term sustainability and can be easily replicated for scaling. With some investment in building a network of organizations and developing collaboration tools, the reach can be multiplied many fold.

Founding Story

Door Step School has its origin in different experiences gained by our founder a teacher of social worker and a researcher. Experience of trying to bring back drop-out students back to school,experience in guiding research students whose work always brought out the difference between a literate and illiterate person. As a professional social worker, she was trained to break down the problem and start with the simplest and the easiest task. To her mind working for educating children was relatively easy because it has no social stigma; biologically, children are the right target to teach new things as compared to adults. So the project took shape - education was important and essential for and essential for progress in the modern world.


Board Members-6 Full time Directors with over 20 yrs of experience on Program Implementation Associate Directors with Masters in Social Work and over 10 years experience Field Coordinators with over 10 yrs of grass root level work. Teachers from communities , trained in-house through a structured training program by a dedicated training team Finance, Admin and Volunteer Management personnel Replicable structure for each geographic cluster
About You
Doorstep Schools
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name

Doorstep Schools

How long has your organization been operating?

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Organization Country

, MM, Pune

Country where this project is creating social impact

, MM, Pune & Pimpri Chinchwad and surroundings

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, Businesses.


1.Innovative project - School on Wheels -design with the other 90% cities. Cooper hewitt national design museum.NY 2012
2. Amazing Indians - Viewers choice award. Feb 2014

Primary Target Age Group

0 - 1.5, 1.5 - 3, 3 - 5, 6 - 12.

Your role in Education

Administrator, After-School Provider, Social Worker, Teacher, Other.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free).

Intervention Focus

Childcare, Curricular, Extracurricular, Professional Development, Community, Parenting, Policy or Analysis, Products or Services, other.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Actively Designing Space & Culture as Essential Elements for Learning: Creating cost-effective methods to infuse a school with habits, language, and materials needed for learning through play.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Lack of structures to facilitate meaningful community ownership in learning process: It is challenging to ensure parents and the broader community are involved as full co-owners in the learning process.


We need partners to replicate our model and provide technology solutions to reach the reported 15M migrant children in India.


We will share our expertise/models in working with migrant groups and help in incubation at other cities.

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

We seek to give children a solid foundation in language and numeracy skills.
Introduce healthy and hygienic habits in children.
Awareness of benefits and process of mainstream schooling among children and parents.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

a)creche; pre-primary&primary: creative play-way educational & recreational activities; literacy & study classes b)Temporary sheds on construction sites & Mobile School on Wheels c)6days/week d)8hours/day e)In-house trained teachers sensitized to the children's environment &needs f)reaching 100-120 locations and 10,000 children every year

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

In Pune city alone about 50-70000 school-age children of construction laborers cannot go to school as they move every few months. So we had to re-imagine learning opportunities, by taking the school to them on construction sites and a mobile modified bus 'School on Wheels'. Reports show that even after attending school for 6 years children cannot read/write/count. So Re-imagining methodology for effective teaching-learning that will create literate youth, better equipped to face challenges, is vital. Also technological advances can be put to good use for learning essential life skills.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

'Play’ denotes an exciting event and brings a smile all around. We are aware and appreciate the intrinsic advantages of play in developing and learning essential life skills and firmly believe that learning any skill should be an enjoyable experience. For social, physical, emotional or cognitive development, play is designed and used with an eye on expected outcome. Using various activities that help a child develop self-confidence,ask questions, observe, imagine, pretend, laugh, dance, sing, be physically fit, healthy,sensitive, caring, take part in team games and events is all play.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

Builders 20%; Government 1%; Grants 68%; General Donations 11%.With focus on continuous innovation and scaling, we take new program ideas to existing funding partners as well as engage with new organizations with relevant focus and resources to help fund these Programs.

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

Door Step School is a Non-profit organisation wanting to reach out to the most marginalized sections in urban areas and create education opportunities for those who have none.
Our mission is to bring education to the "door step" of underprivileged children. Through project foundation, we are able to reach over 10000 children annually to impart basic literacy skills that will help them make better choices in life.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

Developing a resource pool for training and hand holding other non-profit or corporate organisations for expansion of our model to other cities in India. Fund development of an integration and collaboration Web / Mobile platform for collaboration across geographies.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

1. Volunteer based organizations, Educational Institutes and Corporate CSR Volunteer groups who are actively engaged through our programs serve as role models,teach children and train our staff.
2. Delivery of WASH programs to children at construction sites
3. Funding Partnership through "Discover" for educational toys for early learning for 0-6 years
4. Forum collaboration through ARC for "Parent awareness" on value and Right to Education

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

Having completed peer reviews, we are interested in initiating partnerships with the following:Project Starfish America; City X project; One globe Kids; Smile Urbo; Karadi Path; Dream a dream; 21 Toys; Khel Planet; Canvas Books:Art+Stories+Play;Masti - A life simulation game; Katha; Ednnovation

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

Every child in school and learning well because of an interactive, play-way and engaging teaching-learning methodology with an improved teacher:student ratio. Focus being on learning instead of simply attending or scoring marks. All kids completing high school/vocational courses so as to be suitably empowered for gainful employment and be good and responsible citizens.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

DSS' definition of literacy is 'A child to be able to read a newspaper with comprehension'. Key evidence of achievement: The number of literate children is increasing every year. Number of children completing (and learning) in primary school towards UN UPE goal is increasing. Awareness among parents for Right to Education is increasing. Hopefully, number of out-of-school children will also decrease. Awareness of girls' education also increasing

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

Not Applicable - yet! (we are at the idea stage or start-up)

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:


Number of Volunteers:


APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Physical Play, Play with Objects, Symbolic Play, Pretence/ Socio-Dramatic Play, Games with Rules, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Adults Participating (Ensuring adults are able to play alongside children), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.