india

Adding Life to the Days of Terminally Ill Children in India (Huffington Post)

My article for Huffington Post on Happy Feet Home. Support their launch campaign here.

2013-12-17-201312160020554.jpg

When a child is terminally ill in India, they face a difficult road ahead. Their family is burdened with grief and expenses. Children are segregated from peers in their community due to a culture of fear and taboo for the terminally ill. When families from a rural area travel to a metropolitan city for medical support, they often have no place to live, turning to the streets. The lack of holistic medical and emotional support for a terminally ill child and their family exacerbates the grief and loss of hope. Enjoyable moments in the precious remaining time are limited. Two young entrepreneurs are changing this situation for the better by building India’s first children’s hospice center with the aim of ensuring that children and their family’s last days together are filled with dignity and joy.

Mansi Shah and Abhishek Tatiya are hoping to provide holistic medical and emotional support through Happy Feet Home, a daytime center in Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (Sion Hospital) that will offer counseling, activities, and memorable moments for children and their families in their last days together. “Even if it is four months, let the child have the best four months ever,” Mansi proclaims. “At Happy Feet Home, we’re giving that kind of support and care. It’s a child-friendly space, colorful, vibrant, and full of joy. You step in and feel happy,” adds Abhishek.

(more…)

A response to a complicated topic

This CNN article by University of Chicago student Michaela Cross on her experience with sexual assault during study abroad in India has been making the rounds.

RosieSays, a UChicago grad, describes the range of reactions she felt reading the piece. Another UChicago student, also on Michaela’s trip, explains her own experience, and why we should be more conscious of racism and the fact that sexual assault occurs everywhere before rushing to judgement. And one Indian man wrote a letter apologizing on behalf of other men.

I’ve heard horrible, unbearable stories about sexual assault in India. I don’t have all the statistics, and I’ll leave that to the experts and journalists. Even without statistics, I know that it is a terrifying reality for both female and male Indians and foreign travelers. It should not be diminished, and I do not question that Michaela’s experience was real and traumatizing. I have only sympathy, and respect that she was brave to tell her story.

I can’t explain why sexual assault happens, in India, or anywhere, or the experience of anyone else. The only thing I can describe is my own experience as another white, female, American, University of Chicago grad living in India.

When I think of my ten months in India, these are the men I think of:

(more…)

What education for all looks like

I was blown away when I visited the 3.2.1 school in Mumbai last year.

I encourage you watch this video, but here’s an important quote about what makes the school so wonderful:

“How would we build a school if we were building it for our own children? And we realized that if we build it for their children, we build it very differently from how you build it for your own children.”

This seems basic, but it’s actually incredible. It’s also one of the main problems with a famous name in education in the developing world: Sugata Mitra.

(more…)

Interesting Reads on Empathy and “Doing Good”

Below are three articles on the themes of empathy and “doing good” while living abroad that have really resonated with me.

The Baby in the Well: The Case Against Empathy by Paul Bloom

The Romanticization of Poverty by Ben Thurman

I Came to Haiti to Do Good... by Nora Schenkel

How the Internet can Impact Education in sub-Saharan Africa

English: Internet Penetration (% Population). ...

Internet Penetration (% Population). Red indicates no statistics available. (As of Jan 2012) Photo credit: Wikipedia

Dalberg, the global strategic advisory firm focused on raising living standards in developing countries and addressing global challenges, has released the report Impact of the Internet in Africa.

The comprehensive, beautifully designed report and accompanying website highlights the Internet’s role in socioeconomic development in sub-Saharan Africa in the agriculture, health, education, government, finance, small business, and energy sectors.

Given my work in education technology, I found the education section of particular interest, as many of the issues affecting Internet use in education in sub-Saharan Africa are also relevant in India and other developing countries. In addition, access to quality education is a major problem in this region, with UNICEF reporting that more than 100 million school-age children in developing countries do not have access to education, with nearly half of them living in sub-Saharan Africa. The Internet has a huge role to play in bridging the education gap.

(more…)

On Measuring Impact

Two recent articles on measuring impact of social enterprises deserve close attention.

One article was in the Guardian, co-authored by Dr. Pathik Pathak and Zoe Schlag. Citing research they conducted in India, the authors explain that:

“Conventional social impact frameworks emphasise the need to isolate impact (what have you changed that you can prove you did alone?) but fail to ask how social entrepreneurs might scale impact through partnership. The whole notion of attribution is irredeemably flawed when it comes to making sense of the social economy and needs to be ditched in favour of something more attune to the dynamics of collaboration, partnership and exchange.”

(more…)

iPads for All?

English: iPad with on display keyboard

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tablets have huge potential to revolutionize education in the classroom. In fact, the Ed-Tech in India report I co-authored looks in-depth at their potential to do just that for schools in the developing world. And they are getting smarter every day–India’s $40 tablet, the cheapest in the world, is about to become a “phablet” with a phone feature.

But just because we think tablets are awesome, it doesn’t mean we should send them into classrooms with no thought or planning. Over at VentureBeat, there’s a great guest post by the CEO of NOMAD, that explains a few reasons why educators should think twice before implementing tablets.

(more…)