René Seifert

Entrepreneur, Global Citizen, Flat World, Internet, Web 2.0, Innovation, Start-Up

Visit to Parikrma Foundation in Bangalore

After Shukla Bose’s inspiring talk at TED India in Novemer 2009, I finally managed today to follow her kind invitation to visit one of the four schools which she has set up in the last six years after the inception of Parikrma Foundation. Check out the website, it’s amazingly well executed, like everything else I have seen today at the tour of  the “Adobe Parikrma Centre For Learning”. (Here is the entire picture set.)

Parikrma Foundation Bangalore: Complex

Given the top-notch organizational standard, one can tell that Shukla has spent a major part of her life in corporate life before she decided to do something that makes a true difference to others. Hence, the place is an amazing mix of high-quality education and dedication of its mostly volunteers as well as salaried full-time teachers. The right attitude for all involved seems of utmost importance for the organization.

Parikrma Foundation: Classroom

“You can’t buy passion”, explains Shukla, and leads by example how focussed and loving she treats each and every of the children, ask them questions, answers the children’s questions back, encourages critical reasoning, a healthy portion of scepticism, gives them a hug and sometimes tender kiss on the cheek.

Parikrma Foundation: Shukla Bose & Rene Seifert

Most importantly, the children feel welcome at this place and encouraged to blossom. As normal as it sounds, it is not. These children have all one thing in common: They hail from very poor families, with an average income of Rs. 800/- (~ EUR 13) per month, and would without Parikrma at best see a school from the outside.

I really like the approach Shukla and her team are taking to their programme: Instead of describing problems and design solutions, they start from a desirable result: Enable children from an underprivileged background to attend college and work their way backwards to overcoming the roadblocks to the objective.

Besides an amazing curriculum which for example is able to teach children from ground zero English in three months, it includes most importantly the family background of the kids as well. It means integrating the parents into the process to convince them of the long term benefit of a good education (lower drop-out rates) to sending alcoholic fathers to therapies and have them afterwards build and run kitchens which feed all the children during school-hours.

Parikrma Foundation: Children at Sports

After my great experience with our charity-project “Wipro Netbooks for Vatsalya” today’s visit was an eye-opener how something based on good intentions can scale into a significant changer of society like Parikrma. Shukla has in my impression done an amazing job in building a platform where new ideas and improvements are constantly absorbed, a platform which is open to the work of volunteers, some of them – which made it really sympathetic to me – guys with long hair and girls with tattoos (rather a rarity in India). These would be assigned to work in well crafted “modules”. Those can range from providing “slower” pupils a bit of teaching-tailwind within a programme of a few months to just have one educational lesson of 90 minutes on a relevant subject.

Parikrma Foundation: Classroom

If you are interested in Parikrma, my fullest endorsement to donate or help. Here is how it works:

  • Sponsoring one child per year including all expenses like books,  school-uniform, teachers’ salary to the partial rent: $500 per year
  • Sponsoring a whole class where the donor will receive regular reports on the children’s progress: $15,000 per year (30 children with $500 each)
  • Needless to mention, any amount of money is welcome.
  • Volunteering, as described above, also with people from abroad is encouraged.

For all this, ideally visit Parikrma’s website where there is more information and even the possibility to donate online.

Thanks to Shukla and her team, keep up the amazing work and let’s keep in touch. I am sure there is something where we can work together in the future.

 

Comments

  1. October 22nd, 2010 | 6:02

    Hello Mr. René Seifert ,
    Sir i recently came to know about this organisation
    ‘Parikrama’ and i am very keen to contribute my services as well.
    Thanks to your blog, that has affirmed my faith on this organization.

    anyways, Keep the good work going and do spread your message to the world.. to b a World-citizen n not 2 b confined in man-made boundaries.

    Thanks & Regards :
    Azhar Rizvi