Reservation for the marginalized is mediocrity. Ability to compete equally is excellence.

Reservation for the marginalized is mediocrity. Ability to compete equally is excellence.

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

Breaking social divisions through economic empowerment – helping the poorest to compete equally.

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Year the initative began (yyyy)

2003

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Project URL (include http://)
Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Culture of no accountability: Neither society nor men at risk act accountable to each other

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Change surrounding cultures to create a society that values and enriches young people’s transition to adulthood

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

Principles that we at Parikrma have followed:
• Accountability starts with those who have the ability to provide the platform and help create change – the solution starts with serving the under-served better.
• A negation of things that don’t work and providing only the best inputs creates a possibility for change.
• Addressing any issue at its very roots has a better opportunity for success. Start early and lay a strong foundation.

Innovation
Describe your program or new idea in one sentence.

Breaking social divisions through economic empowerment – helping the poorest to compete equally.

What makes your initiative uniquely positioned to create change in your community?

Urban India is seeing dramatic shifts in employment opportunities largely due to the process of liberalization and India’s integration into the global economy. Marginalized people, especially the poor in the cities, have little hope of accessing this economic revolution, given the need for specialized and higher order skills for these jobs. Whereas most people focus on getting children into school so that they can be “educated”, Parikrma Humanity Foundation has set the benchmark of addressing this tremendous opportunity by enabling the poorest to compete equally for the best jobs.

Those attempting to create change among the poor start with a number (e.g. how many million children to feed or how many million children in school), Parikrma has started with a child’s ability to compete equally for the best jobs. This is crucial in a country where the mass schooling system (Over 85% of children in the country have access to only Govt. schooling) is in a total state of disrepair and where the content of the education is extremely poor. In this context it would be very difficult for a country to have aspirations of being a highly value-added economy. In today’s globalized economy, it’s not just about putting children through school. It’s about ensuring that these children have the ability to compete equally, globally.

To enable this, the Parikrma Model addresses the entire “Circle of Life” of a child. Built around top-class English education (following the ICSE - Cambridge curriculum) is Nutrition (3 meals a day), Healthcare (Total) and Family Care. The understanding is that if the education content is relevant (aimed at competing equally) and delivered in a manner that enthuses the child, then indices such as high attendance and low drop outs are just a by-product, rather than being central to education objectives. This is clearly seen at Parikrma where over the 5 years since inception, less than 1% of children have dropped out with 96% attendance through out the year.

Long term success of this Model will depend on how a child breaks into mainstream society by competing equally. Therefore the next critical key to Parikrma’s success is the e2e element of the Model. A child comes into Parikrma at age 5 in Kindergarten. He goes through schooling, 2 years in pre-university college and then through college or vocational training before finally being placed in a high-valued job. This end-to-end (e2e) piece of the Model is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty.

The Parikrma Model, therefore, is really a microcosm of how education within a poor community can be enhanced.

The biggest challenge to our success is what we call the “the lowest common denominator” mindset that most people have towards the poor – give them some education so that they can learn to read and write and pick up “steady” low-skilled jobs, as the biggest challenge. With this thinking, a value-added economy is virtually an impossibility given the sheer numbers of children who have no access to good quality education.

In addition, there exists a rather simplistic belief among most that if children stay in school learning will automatically happen. But can children, who get a sub-standard educational program, get good jobs, in this new economy? Delivering top-class education in a fun and engaging manner is the only reason why children will stay in school and why parents will send children to school. Not midday meals. Not forcing the children to school. But making school interesting is the real key. Most people in education will find this difficult to accept and that becomes another huge hurdle.

Describe how you organize and carry out your work?

Parikrma Humanity Foundation is a non-profit organization that is run like any well managed corporate company.

Parikrma has 107 employees, of which over 80% are teachers. Each Centre (there are 4) is a complete unit and is managed by a team under the Principal. Areas of finance, administration and marketing are managed by people with skills and expertise specific to those areas.

What is your plan to scale and expand your innovation into your community and beyond?

For systemic change to take place in the area of education there is a need for a paradigm shift in the relevancy of the content and way it’s managed. The Parikrma Model is really a simple idea – give the poorest child the ability to compete equally and for sure the cycle of poverty will end, thus breaking age old social barriers through economic empowerment. This intent and desire to provide only the best education is something that needs to filter down. For that to happen it is crucial that the Parikrma Model sustains itself to serve as a beacon. In addition to this Parikrma also plans to start a “Leadership Centre” that will provide training to not just teachers but as importantly to those who manage schools. This will ensure that the learning gained from this effort is spread.

There are plans to reach out to other major cities in India. That will be a focus once the operations in Bangalore are consolidated.

What other resources, institutional, or policy needs would be necessary to help sustain and scale up your idea?

Primary education needs to be free from Government control.

A non-partisan body should be in place which is managed by Civil Society without Govt. interference would monitor the quality of education being imparted by all schools.

The Parikrma Model is there to learn from and adopt. It could be made the benchmark for an accreditation Model that will allow for improving the quality of education delivered to the poorest.

Impact
Describe your impact in one sentence, commenting on both the individual and community levels.

In 5 years less than 1% of children have dropped out with 96% attendance through out the year, and even more astounding is that Parent-Teacher meetings have clocked 100% over the past two years.

What impact has your work achieved to date?

Parikrma manages 4 Centres for Learning that provides this top-class education to 850 children coming from 26 slum communities across the city of Bangalore.

Number of individuals served

850 Children and 1200 parents

Community impact

26 slum communities

Society at large

Around 400,000

What measure do you use to gauge your impact and why?

Parikrma measures its impact across various parameters that cover its entire operations. From measuring children’s academic and co-curricular progress as well as their physical and mental health to the impact of the program on the Parents such as de-addiction and stability of homes. This is done on a continuous basis and detailed information is maintained and updated every quarter.

Another important measurement is the integration of children into mainstream activities. Here, we provide our children several opportunities to participate in inter-school activities. This is the ultimate measurement of children’s ability to compete equally. We do it across a variety of fields – art, theater, dance and sport.

In addition Parikrma also measures the program performance against the external world. Recently Parikrma got The Nielsen Company to do an Impact Study of its entire program vis-à-vis children from the same slums going to Govt. Schools as well as low-cost Private English Schools.

Sustainability
How is your initiative currently being financed and how would you finance further expansion and/or replication?

Currently the operations are being financed primarily through corporate funding. Any future expansion will come from this area as well as from private foundations and trusts. We do not wish to take any funding from the Government.

We treat raising of funds as a continuous marketing and sales effort. The focus of our fundraising efforts has been India but with the establishing of the UK and US entities, Parikrma plans to move out and target these countries.

The fund raising aim is to build a sufficient corpus for expansion as well as for any unforeseen contingencies.

Provide information on your current finances and organization:

Total Annual Budget (2007): USD 684,000
Total Expenses (2007): USD 468,000

Sources of revenue:
Corporates: 50%
Individuals: 30%
Foundations: 30%

Number of staff: 107full-time, 15 part-time, 45 volunteers

Who are your potential partners and allies?

Parikrma works with numerous partners to deliver its “Circle of Life”. Its core competency lies in the delivery of top-class English education. The rest is managed through outsourced resources such as in the areas of Nutrition (Akshay Patra), Healthcare (Ramaiah Hospital, St. Johns Hospital, Ambedkar Dental Hospital, NIMHANS) and Family Care (Ujjivan – in the area of micro finance, Unnati – in the area of vocational training for older siblings).

Who are your potential investors?

Parikrma works closely with many corporate organizations as well as individuals to fund its programs. Some of the funding partners are – Levi Strauss & Co., Yahoo!, Adobe, TNT, Motorola, Dell, Tesco.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

Parikrma Humanity Foundation was created by people with decades of corporate experience. These like-minded people saw a huge gap growing between people benefiting from the economic boom in urban India and those been left out. This was borne out by an exponential growth in slums in India’s new-age city – Bangalore. The simple question that this group asked was “Why can’t the poorest child from the slums get a high-value job in a world-class company?” This led to the creation of Parikrma and its unique homegrown Model.

The entire Model is a response to the changing times brought about by a new emerging economy. The Model is homegrown with the various elements emerging out of responses to specific hurdles children faced to learning well to compete equally and attending regularly.

Led by Founder-CEO, Shukla Bose, Parikrma’s founding team comprises of Vivek Raju (Head-Marketing), Kalpana Singh (Head- Academics) and Manab Bose one of India’s foremost leadership training experts.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.

Shukla:
26 yrs of exp. in hospitality industry
MD of RCI an MNC for 11 yrs
Served on CII panel on CSR

Vivek:
15 yrs of Mktg. and Ad exp.
Managed brands like Levi’s and Dockers
Alumnus of Rotman School of Mgmt in Toronto

Kalpana:
Managed a mainstream school in Hy’bad for 17 yrs
A poet who also write books for children

Manab:
Over 3 decades of exp. with cos. like Colagte Palmolive, GE and the Tata’s
Currently manages his own consulting firm
Provides leadership training at Parikrma