On March 8th, 2023, Shiksharth turned 8 years old. Usually, people celebrate occasions in multiples of five, but for us the number ‘8’ holds significance. It was an evening of 2015, March 8th when we joked with each other that beyond impact our greatest success as an idea would be to survive and exist for 8 years. But thanks to all the support, mentoring, volunteering and persistence we didn’t just survive in one of the most difficult geographies of the country but also have been able to create stories of transformation that are going to nudge the eco-system for a long time. Today we mark our eighth anniversary to not just look back at how far we have come, but also look at how far we have to go.
- 2015 – LEAP OF FAITH: With no network, connects and just 40000 in our pocket we started our journey to deliver contextually relevant education solutions to the children of Bastar and designed Chhattisgarh’s first STEM park that has served over 50000+ children and has attempted for replication across the state.
- 2016 – BUILDING TRUST AND CREDIBILITY: 2016 was all about Building trust and credibility leading to collaborating with district administration to design award-winning innovation in Public Administration on the “Comprehensive Education Model in difficult geographies”. The model of Education City was replicated in 2 districts of the region. Sukma Education City comprising integrated multi-disciplinary academic institutions currently serves over 5000 children and youth every year. 2016 also gave us the opportunity to directly serve conflict-affected school children through Project Gyanodaya – a residential bridge course program for out-of-school children.
- 2017- SENSE OF POSSIBILITY: Our student Roshan Sodi, was awarded by the Hon. President of India for his innovative idea on cloud data transfer of votes from EVM machines to minimize the threat to teachers on election duty. We introduced Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s IGNITE Award in the region which was later rolled out across the state and has seen multiple ideas coming from children across Chhattisgarh. The year reinforced our belief in the aspirations and potential of the children in Bastar and all such geographies across India.
- 2018-UNCERTAINITY, THREAT: – Administrative leadership changes and a hostile environment for CSOs in the district brought us to the verge of quitting. But we decided to stick around, stay back, and slow down. Our operations and programs suffered a huge blow. The year will also be remembered for a couple of our team members directly coming under life-threatening situations because of conflict.
- 2019- PERSISTENCE and HUMILITY PAYS: – We got the opportunity to pick up momentum again and got the opportunity to support the initiative of RE-OPENING OF SCHOOLS which were destroyed because of conflict. 97 schools were re-opened. This initiative was replicated across the region leading to 250 destroyed/dysfunctional schools getting re-opened after more than a decade. We also made our first entry into community-level intervention. It took us 3+ years to build that trust.
- 2020 – DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND NOT WHAT IS EASY: When the whole world celebrated digital as the ultimate solution response to the learning crisis during Covid-19, we designed offline learning solutions for children without access to technology. 3.5 Lakh+ children were served across 14 states, 9 languages with 30+ partners. Onboarding 70+ community youth gave us the confidence to build local leadership. Listening to the community, frontline workers gave us insights that were totally missing from the mainstream narrative.
- 2021 – WHAT DOES A CHILD NEEDS? : Is literacy enough, what does childhood look like in co-existence with conflict? We brainstormed and concluded on the need to design solutions and nurture partnerships to design holistic support in form of POSITIVE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES. We decided to scale up the idea of PCE instead of operations. We decided to collaborate instead of replicate. We re-defined our vision. “POSITIVE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE FOR EVERY CHILD”. We decided to move towards the service of children coming from spaces of conflict and adverse geographies.
- 2022 – BUILDING OUR CORE: – Focus has been on strengthening the processes and culture of the organisation in alignment with the evolved vision and also shift in mindset from service to service+ solutions. There have been some difficult conversations and restructuring. We have been working towards developing products keeping in mind Adivasi communities, conflict areas and adverse geographies. And nurturing a pool of local youth to take over operations in the next 3 years.
Today, we are moving towards the next phase of the journey with a vision to serve 5 Lakh+ children from conflict and adverse geographies through collaboration and collective action. And like always WE NEED YOU! It would not have been possible to get to where we are without the many donors, mentors and foundations that believed in us. We have reached the point where some of our programs and thoughtful interventions can last a lifetime and help the children of Sukma (and other conflict geographies). Just a sum of Rs. 2,000 can help one child get contextual learning solutions for a year and play their part in making the world we live in a better place. We all are enabling them so we can empower all of us.
Please use this link to make your contribution and extend your support to us: Donate @ https://bit.ly/support_shiksharth
One of our generous donors has agreed to match 25% of funds raised till 31st March.
This financial year-end also calls for tax-saving measures and a donation will help you with that as well. Reach out to us for more information at [email protected] and we will be happy to share our journey and learnings with you.