What is Akshara?

     Pravin is an Assistant Administrator at Akshara and wholly dedicated to its mission. Pravin also runs the community library in Asade village. “It’s right next door to my home,” he says, “so I open it whenever anyone wants to read a book.” Pravin’s native languages are Hindi and Marathi. He takes English lessons with The School Inside. Here Pravin has pulled together material that tells the founding and purpose of Akshara.  Thank you, Pravin!

Photo courtesy Akshara

AKSHARA was started in the year 2005, a little more than a decade ago. Initially it was known as Equal Access to Opportunity. It aimed to engage with the rural community of six villages near UWC (United World College), Mahindra College campus in the Mulshi valley.  

     Akshara is based on the college campus and operates in collaboration with the college. UWCMC students and faculty, who come from over 50 different countries and many diverse backgrounds, also contribute their expertise, energy and enthusiasm to the Akshara programme. The motivation to engage with these communities sprang from a realization that, despite the country’s growth rate and rising GDP, there were rural communities just outside Pune where even basic socio-economic indicators were abysmally low. Subsistence farming, poor access to education and health care, low participation in local governance, gender and caste-related obstacles to personal growth—this was the scenario that confronted Akshara back then. The adults in this population were unable to provide educational guidance to their children, leaving them unable to compete for the opportunities presented by India’s growing economy. 

      The Akshara team felt that providing these children and young people with vocational and professional education, as well as career guidance and role models, would open the door to a more secure future. Today, Akshara has formed a solid base in the six villages, working with over 500 children in schools, and also with women’s groups and community forums where its team members are welcomed with affection and respect. 

          Akshara Mission: To empower rural youth, and children (with an emphasis on the girl child) by providing them access to educational opportunities and personal support.

We invite you to learn more about Akshara, HERE.


 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com