Our mission: Transform fifty-thousand lives through education By 2050.
Education is empowerment. Education gives us hope. Education has the power to uplift not only individuals but the entire world. In today’s world, good education is not always accessible to the underprivileged in our society. There is tremendous potential and talent in these children, all they need is access to good education. At the Sitare Foundation, we believe in providing access to high quality education to the most talented underprivileged children in our society. We have embarked upon a humble mission. Our mission is to “Transform fifty thousand lives through education by 2050.”
There are approximately 300-million Indian children between the ages of 6-17 (grades K-12). The government education system is struggling; according to the Annual Status of Education (ASER) report, half of fifth-grade students read at a second-grade level. Given the poor state of government schools, there has been a rise in private schooling, where learning achievement levels of children are indeed superior. Hence, we partner with some of the best private schools in a city and provide our children with the education otherwise available to only the elite few.
Essentially, Sitare has created a school voucher program where vouchers are given only to underprivileged children with high ability. Our motivation comes from the United Negro College Fund motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” In practice, a lot goes into making the program successful, which includes keeping Sitare kids together in one section for first two years before fully integrating them with the other children; moreover, a city coordinator or “den mother” oversees the well-being (both academic and social) of every child.
We currently have 491 students enrolled in eight schools across five cities (Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bhopal, Indore, Ajmer). We find the brightest children through a two-phase entrance test designed by Educational Initiatives. For this academic year (2019-2020), over 11,000 students applied, almost 7,500 took the phase-one test, and we will accept 151 into our program (a 2% acceptance rate).
We select students from government schools entering sixth grade (middle school) and support their entire education (fees, books, transportation, after-school programs, technology, clothing, and food) for seven years, until 12th grade. We will measure our success by our students gaining admission into top universities in India and abroad, and going on to become leading professionals in various fields.
We are learning a lot. The challenge of educating underprivileged children is daunting, but that does not and will never deter us. We are taking a scientific, step-by-step approach to impact lives, families, and societies through education. We aim to educate 50,000 students by 2050. We know that after going through our seven-year program, our students will shine like Sitare (Hindi for Stars), and inspire millions in their own communities.