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Teach for India Charity Profile
Shaheen Mistri is the founder of the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to impact the lives of less privileged children, enabling them to maximise their potential and change their lives. Akanksha works primarily in the field of education, addressing non formal education through the Akanksha centre model and also formal education by initiating school reform. Over the past 19 years, the organization has expanded from 15 children in one centre to over 3,500 children across Mumbai and Pune. Mistri is an Ashoka Fellow (2001), a Global Leader for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum (2002), an Asia Society 21 Leader (2006) and serves on the boards of Ummeed, The Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation and is an advisor to the Latika Roy Foundation. Mistri has been working on the idea of Teach For India from 2007, and serves as its founding CEO and one of its founding Board Members. In 2006, a group of young leaders working to reform education in India came together to seek an innovative solution to end educational inequity in the country. The group firmly believed that any change in the education sector needed to be systemic and that India needed to be infused with a large number of leaders who would work towards achieving educational equity for all children. During this time, the group met with Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of Teach For America (TFA), to discuss the feasibility of Teach For America’s Theory of Change working in India.
Seeking to adapt the Teach For America model to the Indian context, the group engaged with a number of stakeholders within the government, at academic institutions and at corporations and were encouraged by the favorable response they received. A few months later, a twelve week study was launched by McKinsey & Company to determine the feasibility of implementing this model in India. The study concluded favorably and at the end of the process, a plan to place the first cohort of Fellows as well as a plan to grow the movement to scale for the next five years was put in motion.
Teach To Lead was formally established in 2008 as a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to create a movement of leaders who will work to eliminate educational inequity in the country. Teach For India, a project of Teach To Lead, is a nationwide movement of outstanding college graduates and young professionals who will commit two-years to teach full-time in under resourced schools and who will become lifelong leaders working from within various sectors toward the pursuit of equity in education.
In June 2009, Teach For India placed its first cohort of Fellows in low-income municipal and private schools in Pune and Mumbai.