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Transforming lives through education: Making it happen

Ark's partnership school in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi is changing the lives of its students by focusing on specific needs of its students and giving them the attention and support to thrive.

It’s Monday morning in Ark’s school at Lajpat Nagar III, and the children have started entering the school. The air is filled with a sense of excitement as they enter their beautifully decorated classroom, and get ready for their teachers to start their classes. Looking at the corridors, filled with artwork made by the students, motivational quotes and colourful charts, nobody could have imagined that this was the same dilapidated building that served all of 9 students just a year and a half ago.

Ark started working with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation in 2015 with the aim to turn around the corporation’s primary school in Lajpat Nagar III area of Delhi, which was failing due to low enrollment. As the operators of the first ever partnership school with the government in Delhi, they decided to set high expectations and prove to all our stakeholder the strength of their model. Ark started their journey with only 9 students in 2015, expanded to 230 students in 2016 and they are now looking at an increased enrollment of 350 in 2017. All this while they have had an absolute focus on improving learning outcomes for our learners - who come from low income families from eight different slums.

With classes in full swing now, Alok, another Grade 1 student, sits quietly, listening attentively to the teacher, and following her instructions. His teachers take note of his behaviour, because it had only been a matter of months since they had been struggling to get him accustomed to the rules and etiquette of being in class. They even once found him begging outside a mall, which suggested a deeper-rooted problem. Suspecting that he suffered from neglect at home, his teachers and principal worked extremely hard with his parents to get them more involved in the education process. Since then, Alok’s behaviour has shown great improvement, and he now respects his teachers and fellow students, and obeys the rules. He pays attention in class and works hard academically. Alok has a bright future ahead of him, and with the Ark’s support, he continues to work towards it.

After a fruitful day full of learning, working and playing, the children finally return home. As they say hello to their parents once again, they are extremely excited to talk about what they learnt at school. The parents listen intently, hearing stories of their phonics lessons, math meetings and the fun games they played at the playground. The impact of the education being imparted to the children can be felt by the parents too. Tension at home often came as a consequence of their children’s poor behaviour and lack of engagement. These tensions have been significantly eased, with children occupied during the day, learning valuable lessons, and eating two nutritious meals at school. Ark recognizes the important role played by parents in the education of their children, and work towards ensuring their support. In the last one year there has been a significant demand from the parent community and local officials for them to open more schools.

Transforming lives through education – that is Ark’s mission. Through this school, that is exactly what they are doing – not just for the children, but for the parents too. Anand and Alok came to this school with a lot of baggage; baggage which they have now been able to shed. With progress being made every day, their potential knows no bounds, and the education they are receiving is opening up endless possibilities. Ark is giving them, and all its students, the best chance to succeed, and real choices in life.

[Click here to learn more about Ark’s school in India]

Kruti Bharucha

Kruti Bharucha is Country Director of Ark’s India operations. She has been working with Ark since June 2014 and brings 16 years’ experience from the management consulting and advisory sector as well as with multilateral institutions. Prior to Ark, she was a Senior Director and led Corporate Executive Board’s (CEB) Finance Practice in India. Her previous work experience includes stints at McKinsey & Co., The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Kruti has an MSc (Development Studies) from the London School of Economics, an MA (Economics) from the University of Maryland and a BA (Economics) from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi.