Programming Out of Poverty

A Peacemaking Project by Udeerna T.

What is the injustice we are solving?

69% of the population of India currently inhabit a rural area, and the literacy rate of these villages is less sixty percent. The majority of these families farm to earn for a living and face numerous problems such as lack of access to clean water, quality education, electricity, and technology. Most villages in India do not have schools, and the areas that do provide free schools have significant drop out rates due to unmotivated teachers and lack of updated resources. India is rapidly urbanizing and taking away the land and jobs of farmers to cultivate new cities and urban jobs. Even though this leads to a more developed country, it pushes many unskilled workers to poverty and leaves their children to starve as their jobs are taken away. Thus, I believe that the children of farmers must be educated to be able to achieve an urban job and lead a new generation of powerful, influential, and revolutionizing youth.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of lack of quality education to the underprivileged
we will address the government and business interests, lack of adequate facilities and resources, as well as the need for awareness about the benefits of education
by connecting IT companies(all Indian IT companies have a rule of getting new computers every 3 years) to government schools. The computers that would otherwise be sent to scrap companies can be donated to government schools to provide the students with a valuable resource. By having access to computers, the students are now able to utilize the internet for a vast amount of learning material in terms of academics or any passion they want to pursue. This also solves the problem of under qualified/unmotivated teachers as they can now be a supplement to answer questions or guide students as the main curriculum can be taught online through free online courses created be NGOs to encourage digital education. Furthermore, the students will be motivated to attend school more often to utilize the computers, thus reducing dropout rates. With the availability of a valuable resource such as computers and quality education, parents will be more open to sending their children to school. Additionally, the companies who donate are able to fulfill their CSR without spending any extra money since they are recycling their used material while empowering a new generation. As an added incentive, the firms can receive tax exemption forms and some sort of advertisement(ex.banner) showcasing their contribution. *I also plan to ingrain a small coding curriculum as part of the program to jump start the students' career since being proficient in computer science is a necessary skill for most jobs in this information age.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • To increase student retention rate as well as literacy and vocational skills through greater public support and resources such as computers to government schools.
  • Establish a progressive computer science curriculum in the government schools to expose children to a subject needed in most careers in this information age.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

This project will increase my compassion as I will be serving the poor to help them gain quality education. I will be personally teaching and organizing a computer science curriculum for them as well. By interacting with the children and assisting them with their educational needs, I will be more exposed to their struggles and gain empathy while helping them.

How will you show courage?

I will show courage by interacting with every organization and company to garner support and contributions for my project no matter how many times I get rejected. I will show courage and not run away from the problems the poor are facing, but stand up and help them in any way I can.

How will you collaborate with others?

I will collaborate with others through partnerships and connecting them directly to schools that their service will be impacting. As incentives to donate, we will provide them with tax exemption forms and an advertisement or banner showcasing their contribution. I will contact them through email, phone calls, and personal visits to ensure that their service is carried out.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

I know I will be moving in the right direction when the public, the poor, and I can agree that I am in fact helping children gain access to more quality education. I can measure my project's impact my measuring the change in attendance of the students, the interest they show in school, and change in literacy/vocational skills. *Another problem my project addresses: Numerous recent publications have shown that even though India and China produce the most engineers annually, the quality of their work and the skills they possess are very low compared to American engineers due to the skill interception and focus from a young age in American schools. I plan to tackle this issue in my project by starting with an early computer science curriculum at the schools.

Key Steps

  • Discuss with TNF to learn about how organizations can contact and garner support from companies in Tamil Nadu.
  • Create a presentation for pitching to companies, organizations, and schools about my project.
  • Talk to interested government schools that would be able to accommodate computers safely.
  • Create a computer science curriculum for 4th-10th grade students.
  • Send numerous emails and call multiple IT companies' HR departments to inquire about their CSR and potential interest in contributing to my project. If interested, book an appointment or call to present my detailed plan and how they can help.
  • Negotiate with the IT companies about the hard disk issue - leave them behind or reformat them.
  • Go to India and meet with the companies personally as well.
  • Store computers at TNF
  • Hire a technician to alter the computers to only allow specific sites for students and recommission them.
  • Set up the computers at local government schools
  • Teach students computer science while training teachers how to continue the curriculum