Equal access to education is a basic right, one that can change the entire economy of a country. Presently, 48% of the 320 million children in India do not make it past Grade 5. They represent a large and unutilised population that could contribute to the growth and development of the country if they are given access to education.

Teach For India brings together the brightest, most driven students from the best universities. Why? Because they all have the same desire — to ensure that one day, all children in India attain an excellent education. For two years, the TFI Fellows work as teachers with 30 students, in under-resourced schools with the aim of inculcating the right skills, knowledge, and mindsets into the next generation of thinkers and changemakers.

Through these two years, Fellows not only impact the children they teach, but become aware of the challenges in the Indian education system. With this awareness comes personal growth that impacts their very core.

Shreya Verma, a current Fellow and alumni of DU, joined the Fellowship in 2016. Troubled with the state of the Indian education system, she decided to start making a change beyond simply staying in the field of education.

Shreya teaches 70 Grade 9 girls at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in J-block, Sangam Vihar and loves it. However, starting as a new Fellow wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be.

Being an introvert, interacting with parents of her students and the outside community was a challenge for Shreya. Building a relationship with the girls proved to be an additional challenge. The girls were used to a male Fellow, but in due time Shreya broke down this wall, creating a space safe for communication and vulnerability. According to her, she felt this wall break down when the girls picked up on her low emotions and vulnerabilities. Seeing her distraught, a lot of personal stories started being told, with the girls slowly opening up to her. “Now, when I come in and the girls see that I can only give 50% today, they’ll give me 50% to make it 100%,” says Shreya. She has become their didi— the person they look up to.

Emotions aside, Shreya made it her aim to provide her girls with strength and resources in school. After school hours, the girls would come to the learning centre at the Odyssey project, a project that’s part of the Be the Change Project, a Teach For India initiative. This centre is a place where the girls from her school can come, interact, and learn from Fellows and each other while developing leadership skills for the future. Shreya saw a lot of her girls coming to clarify doubts and helping one another out.

Going into her second year of the Fellowship, Shreya feels as if this school and community have been a part of her for longer than a year. She attributes a lot of this growth to her ever present Programme Manager lending support and advice during their personal sessions. For her, the desire to see her students grow and succeed has taught her the meaning of discipline and hard work on her side. The management and organisation of her classroom, lessons, and children is now reflected in every aspect of her life.

With such growth, Shreya feels ready to take on her second year and the educational sector.


Inspired by Shreya’s story? Applications for the 2018 Fellowship Program are now open, and final year students are eligible to apply. Click here to learn more. The deadline for applications is 29th October 2017.

Aarzoo has reached into Delhi’s communities and ignited the untapped potential of many women and children. Nidhi Lamba and Deeganta Datta (Fellows) were shocked by what they found in their classrooms. The children were never encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. Yet plenty of students were inclined towards the arts. Many kids were interested in dance, theatre and performing arts, but their mothers seemed wary of allowing participation. The pair were taken aback, but realized that many of the mothers stayed home alone and were restricted to the meagre income earned by their husbands (if anything). The community also suffered from rampant domestic violence and substance abuse. For a group that didn’t have the chance to complete school, learning dance or theatre provided a welcome creative, productive outlet. “Most of them felt they were dependent on their husbands and also wanted to learn skills that could be used to get a job or earn money,” says Nidhi. “They were so intrigued, they said: ‘even we want to do it!” So, Project Aarzoo began as a performance showcase of 40 kids in Shahdara (and their mothers), which grew to a production featuring 350 students and aims to reach 6500 kids in the future!


Applications for the 2017-2019 Teach For India Fellowship program are now open. Please visit apply.teachforindia.org to submit your application by March 21st, 2017.

Teach For India (TFI) is widely recognised as an organisation that works on ground level with underprivileged children and people who want to change the nation through education. Its ‘Be the Change Project’ encourages TFI fellows to design a project which they then execute with a particular aim in mind. One such project is ‘Carpe Diem’, which was started in 2014 with the intention of creating educational residential camps for students of TFI. DU Beat spoke to Asif Rahman, currently a TFI fellow involved with ‘Carpe Diem’, to gain a better understanding of its journey and accomplishments.

‘Carpe Diem’ was started by a group of fellows in Delhi wanting to provide concrete learning to extraordinarily talented TFI students. Students from TFI classrooms around the city take aptitude tests, of which the highest scoring students qualify for the ‘Carpe Diem’. This year, over fifty students are part of the project. Five fellows are leading the team and volunteers work throughout the duration of the camps. The camps are organised in collaboration with other organisations and schools, and vary from short ones over the weekend to ones that last a week.

Fellows in the team tackle different tasks with which come several challenges. For example, Asif Rahman, who handles logistics and manages external venue partners, has to create contacts and raise funds for the execution of the camps. There is never a moment when the fellows can be lax; they must stay on their toes to ensure that the project is completed successfully. As Asif said, “The fellowship is one of the most challenging but at the same time fulfilling experiences that many people have in their entire lives.” With its vision and purpose, TFI aims transform the nation, and ‘Carpe Diem’ is one of its many projects that turn this dream into a reality.

Feature Image Credits- Teach For India

Vineeta Rana
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These are the gorgeous kids I taught in the Teach For India Fellowship. I came in thinking that I was going to teach them so many things, instead I left having learnt so much more. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t think about these munchkins.
This was a wondrous journey, a journey where I learnt so much more than I taught, a journey where I received so much more than I gave and a journey that pushed for transformation both outside and most importantly, within.

You could settle or you could fight. I chose to fight.

– Nikita Sehgal, graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for Women and became a 2013 Fellow with Teach For India.

You can too. Apply now : http://apply.teachforindia.org/user/register

Deadline to finish your Application – 8th December, 2015.

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