MANTRA Turns 6!
The journey of Mantra4Change is a story we love narrating and sharing! As we turn 6 this year, we thought to revisit some of our early memories with our stakeholders who with each passing year have added more value and meaning to our existence. Read on to hear from them!
Sanjay Purohit, Chief Curator, Societal Platform & Mentor, Mantra4Change
In 2013, Mantra4Change was an idea, rooted in improving the quality of education our children receive. When I first met its founders, Santosh and Khushboo, Mantra was a three-member team working in just 2 schools in Bangalore. Today, its presence is in over 200 schools across the country, with several organizations believing in and replicating its model. I’ve witnessed its growth as the programmes and interventions were designed and while navigating through challenges on the way, the team has kept the spirit of resilience and entrepreneurship alive. This spirit is echoed by its growing team of youngsters who are driven by its vision. This makes Mantra a relevant and inspiring collaborator for other organizations. Challenging themselves and pushing boundaries to get better each year, Mantra showed the ability to enter an ambiguous space and design something powerful and impactful. As it now mentors a pool of young organizations across the country, these early-stage interventions are built on the precedence that Mantra has set. From just an idea to a replicable model and now an ecosystem builder – this has been Mantra’s growth in a limited span of just 4 years. It isn’t just another non-profit working to scale its operations but to enable a pool of changemakers to effect change in the systemic education space.
KC Ramesh, Block Education Officer, Anekal Taluk, Bangalore
For the past three years, Mantra4change has been been working to strengthen schools at the cluster level. They are working towards identifying and expanding the horizons of our children’s potential. They have brought together students from about 12 schools and two clusters to organize this theatre camp and giving them a bigger platform to showcase their talents.
Tulasi Vishnu Prasad, President, Sri Rama Rural Academy, AP & Vice President (Quality) NISA
I’ve been in the education sector since 1983 and a school leader for several years now. I’ve experienced how running an institution can become a mechanical and familiar process and school leaders often stop acknowledging the pain points faced by the school, the teachers, students alike. This is also a product of the unwillingness to learn new things and innovate in their own ways.
I found a refreshing difference when I was introduced to Mantra4Change during a meeting organized by Grey Matters Capital on developing a holistic School Development Plan.
What I realized from this interaction was that there is always a need for someone on the outside to handhold teachers and conduct capacity building training sessions. We need a third eye to help travel through the process of transformation.
Being a School Leader myself and being associated with this organization, I’ve seen the critical change they’ve brought about. Their work has gone far and beyond… helping schools in various states get on the path of transformation.
I’ve seen school leaders unwilling to look at school improvement through a lens different from their own. This is also because of the shell they’re confined in. But this isn’t the case anymore. Today, our school leaders are ready to learn, to take responsibility and accept that their schools could do much better. They’re more open to change and even sit through learning circles with their teachers.
It’s exciting to see what more Mantra can do to empower school leaders and put under-resourced schools on the path to improvement!
Zakaullah Sharief, School Leader, Florida English School, Goripalya
In 2014, I was introduced to Mantra4Change by our senior community member who was engaging with them to improve his Government-run school in Goripalya. Leading a 30-year-old school and catering to children from an underdeveloped community, I was a little excited when Zia Bhai mentioned Santosh and Khushboo’s names and the work they were doing at his school.
The urgency and willingness to work towards their cause surprised me and in no time, they began their intervention in my school! Pitched to me as a 2-year model to improve the school, I soon started seeing my teachers sitting together making lesson plans, Ganith Malas and attending training workshops conducted by the MANTRA team with so much rigor and excitement!
The next year, Santosh came to me with more changes we could make together in the school. From Scholarships for our children, starting a pre-KG section, an interactive and wonderful library space – everything funded for made way into our school and the transformation was set in motion. Support and encouragement are two very important things for any school leader and Mantra4Change has provided an abundance of it. Be it while raising funds for the school, or creating new collaborations with other NGOs – the exposure our students have witnessed in this process is a lot!
Back then, Mantra had a team of about 8 members and today they are a team of 45. This growth has been possible for the organization because of its ability to establish and maintain relationships!
What began as a 2-year partnership with Mantra4Change, continues till today!
Sarah Grant – Partnerships Director, LRTT (Limited Resource Teacher Training)
“In 2017, we began a partnership with Mantra4Change wherein our vast group of Fellows would be able to work with the organization’s schools and teachers. Since then, 58 fellows have worked across Mantra’s schools. This year, there would be nearly 40. Mantra4Change has a clear vision of how to address some of the education challenges in India.
India has 440 million children and whilst access to education has increased, further support and systems need to be developed to increase the quality of teaching and learning. In particular, it was the STEP programme that Mantra has designed, focusing on whole school transformation that caught our attention. Their team has a deep understanding of the barriers they need to overcome to tackle poor quality education and they take a holistic approach to addressing school leadership and culture across a wide range of stakeholders.