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The Social Reformer And Educator

In 2006, Shaheen founded Teach For India with the vision of excellent education provided to all children in the country

Photo Credit : Twitter


Speaking at TEDx, Shaheen once said, "In a country with 15 per cent children out of the school and drop out rates at 70 to 90 per cent by class 10, there are 1 million schools most of which are far from delivering a quality education. In addition there are 8 million teachers who are trapped in a system of rote-learning in a bureaucracy that is not conducive to effective performance and this is compounded by social problems caused by poverty. How do you give kids a better education?".

Shaheen Mistri seems to have cracked the code on that one and that's why she and her work will be relevant and crucial to skilling India's large demographic dividend for the digital years.

It was in 2006 that Shaheen founded Teach For India with the vision of excellent education provided to all children in the country.

The aim of Teach For India is to build a growing community of leaders, who will keep working and promoting the vision of excellent education to children of all feathers. Teach For India has a Fellowship program which has a rigorous screening process; the Fellows come from from leading corporations like Accenture, Aditya Birla Group, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, TCS and universities like Columbia University, Indian School of Business, St. Xavier's College, St. Stephen's College and Oxford University.

Shaheen and Teach For India created this Fellowship Program, as an opportunity for India's brightest and most promising individuals to serve as full-time teachers to children from low-income communities in some of the nation's most under-resourced schools. And hopefully this experience of teaching in classrooms and working with key education stakeholders like students, principals, and parents, will give the Fellows first-hand experience of the grassroots realities of India's education system, so that one day these bright individuals will use their potential to lobby for change in India's lagging education system.

A visiting lecturer from the US once said of Shaheen Mistri, "Be the change - such a simple phrase with infinite implications. Shaheen Mistri, founder of Akanksha and current CEO of Teach for India, is the embodiment of someone who had an experience that moved her at a young age, envisioned a powerful idea, pursued her vision with courage and passion, strategically built a network and now is a leader in transforming education in India."

It's not only the Teach For India Fellows from stellar backgrounds, she also has the backing of Anu Aga, one of the richest women in India and a Rajya Sabha MP nominee.

Her aides along the way will come from her time following a Master's in education from the University of Manchester; being an Ashoka Fellow; a Global Leader for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum; an Asia Society 21 Leader, and from serving on the boards of Ummeed as well as The Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation (Thermax was founded by Ms. Anu Aga's family). Shaheen is also closely connected to the Latika Roy Foundation where she is an advisor and the National Council for Teacher Education of which she is a committee member.

The visiting professor continues on Mistri, "She was willing to take a risk, growing up she went to ten different schools in five countries. Speaking only English, Shaheen befriended a Hindi speaking girl so that each of them could learn a new language. Often children from nearby slums would listen in to their conversations and their sessions became regular evening classes. Shaheen left her studies as a college student in the United States and enrolled as a student at the University of Mumbai. She then recruited her friends to help with the initial efforts to provide an after school program for these children, she [was and still is] a leader of tomorrow…"