Help us close the gender gap

gender-gap

Dear friends, 

Two courageous young Indian women need your support RIGHT NOW.  

https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/g-viswanathan-vit-university-give-women-equal-rights-and-stop-suppressing-free-speech

My students have been dismissed from college and repeatedly threatened by VIT administrators, simply because they initiated a survey regarding campus safety and gender discrimination. VIT University is behaving irrationally and irresponsibly.

Please SIGN THE PETITION, and share with everyone you know who cares about gender equality and free speech!

https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/g-viswanathan-vit-university-give-women-equal-rights-and-stop-suppressing-free-speech

SIGN NOW to help us FIGHT GENDER DISCRIMINATION and suppression of dissent in India’s private universities.

Thank you,

Ted Moallem
Vellore, Tamil Nadu
India

“Dustbin Area”

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As I looked down from the bay balcony of the new E4D centre, I saw a part of the large empty plot  of land right next to us littered with plastic. I shifted my eyes to the roadside a little further, I saw a large round dustbin right there! Why did the people choose to dispose garbage on this empty plot just ten metres away from the dustbin? Is there a problem with the psychology of the community? There has to be an analysis as to what motivates people toward such actions.

As I was lost in these thoughts, a herd of cows was approaching the plot as they were left to graze. The cows were not grazing near the fresh green plants. Instead, they were feeding on the plastic garbage disposed in the “Dustbin Area”. The sound of the cows chewing plastic was audible loud and clear in the dead silence of the night.

Two cows died near the favvara centre” I heard my mother’s voice in my head when I was a little kid back in Bilaspur. “ Their bodies were cut open and loads of plastic came out of their gutsThey could not digest it and hence died ”,  I remember being horrified at my own imagination of the unfortunate cows and their bellies. Oh shit, I need to do something NOW ! , I thought as I looked for materials to put up the signs. I grabbed a few sketch pens, a piece of cardboard and clear tape. I started to scribble on the cardboard. Then, I looked for stuff to make the chassis of the sign. Ted and Sid entered the centre from behind after sometime.

Ted: “Dude, that’s awesome! Let me take a picture!

Sid: “ I can try making the ‘NO GARBAGE’ sign for you

We decided we will put up the sign first thing in the morning.  I sat at my computer all night designing a poster for the “Save Cows” campaign. The end result is shown below. It is yet to be printed and put up in the “Dustbin Area”.

E4D is all about community development. And animals are very much a part of our community!

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Standing Up for Gender Equality…IN INDIA!!!

 

URGENT: PLEASE READ & SIGN THE PETITION! 

https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/vit-university-give-women-equal-rights-and-stop-suppressing-free-speech

AND URGE YOUR FRIENDS TO SIGN TOO!!!

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Awesome, justice-loving people around the world have started writing open letters in support of S—— C——, a VIT University student, who has been removed from the campus (indefinitely) for standing up for gender equality at her Institution.

 

›› Here’s some BACKGROUND of the story up till now.

›› And here are some LETTERS OF SUPPORT   (published with each author’s permission)encouraging VIT University’s administrators to commit unequivocally to gender equality/gender-neutral policies, and to allow S—— to return to her studies immediately, without facing negative repercussions for her just stance.

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** To have your letter of support posted publicly, please CC’ (or forward) to contact@e4d.in.

VIT Female Student Survey

Education for Development {E4D} Trust is conducting a survey of female VIT University students residing in the VIT ladies’ hostels. All names, email addresses and registration numbers will be kept strictly confidential. Please note that E4D is completely independent of VIT University.

The survey itself can be filled by female VIT students here:
https://docs.google.com/a/e4d.in/forms/d/1je244lXncm0eB9y3xOcke3q7kVeH4VVWwfOeK23U45I/edit?usp=sharing

Anonymized results from this survey will be updated once daily here:
http://home.e4d.in/vit-female-student-survey-results

We understand that the VIT administration is none too pleased with this exercise in democracy. The VIT students who bravely helped to initiate this opinion poll have been threatened repeatedly, but to no avail. E4D is not a VIT entity; quite the contrary. E4D has formed in response to the overwhelming shortcomings of the current private university system.

We believe with all our hearts that India is far better than the sum of her fears. To those private university students brave enough to record their opinions with us, we salute you, and we will maintain your confidentiality always. Your courage forges the path forward.

To those still fearfully hiding in the shadows, we understand. Change is near. Stay hopeful!

-The E4D Team

E4D-India Internship Opportunity

    Education for Development (E4D) is a non-profit social startup based in southern India.  We provide free-of-charge higher education (>10th standard) and livelihood-enhancing training to previously neglected demographics, facilitating access to online course modules, basic lab facilities, and creative capacity-building workshops addressing the locally relevant challenges.

 

    We’re working to revolutionize secondary and tertiary education in India and the developing world.  It’s a huge task, and we need bright, ambitious, socially minded people (like you!) in order to achieve and extend our vision.  We are looking for highly motivated students, recent grads, and any else with a passion for alternative education and the dedication to make the world a better place for all.

 

 

COME WORK WITH E4D!

    We need enthusiastic interns to join our team in India and contribute to the development and operations of E4D.  Ideal candidates would work with us on-site for a minimum of two months, and would be interested in a continuing collaboration with E4D after returning home.

 

    We’ll provide local housing accommodations, at no cost, to any intern or visiting staff.  For those who can commit to extended internship (> 3 months), E4D will consider requests to directly cover travel expenses.  (For MIT students and recent alumni who are interested in shorter-term internships, we will work with you secure funding for travel/stipend through the MIT Public Service and India initiatives.)

 

    If you’re interested, please email us (contact@e4d.in) with a resume/CV, and describe your interests and background as they relate to E4D’s work.  

 

 

Website: http://e4d.in

FB: http://www.facebook.com/edu4development

Email: contact@e4d.in

Deadline: ASAP!

 

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More About E4D…

 Our Strategy:   Here in India, we are acutely aware of the EdX and D-Lab initiatives, and their potential to completely upend conventional practices in higher education and mainstream technology development.  Our educational model aims to bring the two philosophies together — we are creating community centres, where academic counsellors guide students in the selection and completion of computer-based coursework (e.g., MOOCs, tutorials) and specialized staff coordinate community Innovation Workshops. E4D provides students with access to the required facilities (computer/internet and labs/workshops), in conjunction with routine, individualized academic assessment and career counseling.  Our flagship centre is located in Vellore (Tamil Nadu), and we are preparing to open two additional E4D centres in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Tirupattur (Tamil Nadu) in the next few months.

 Our Motivation:  Based on extensive personal experience in one of India’s top-ranking, ever-expanding, private universities, we know that the present educational system does not hold the way forward for India — quite the contrary.  The current system has tens of millions of Indian students vying for precious few spots in India’s top universities.  The most prestigious national universities accept roughly 1% of applicants.  Students who take up positions in private universities spend their last few formative years subjected to whims and biases of profit-seeking and publicity-minded administrators, with minimal regulatory oversight from the government.  Transferring between Indian universities is not generally an option, and so, from day 1 of freshman year, undergraduate students at many private universities are trapped, with virtually no leverage, and everything to lose.  Female students in particular bear the brunt of every bias and “cultural norm” held sacred by faculty, staff, and administrators, and must learn to accept the social status of cattle.

    Meanwhile, roughly 80% of college-aged Indian youth have no prospects for higher education.  Close to 100 million Indians can do little but wait for the current system to expand to accommodate them.

 Our Mission:    E4D offers a different way forward.  Beginning with a handful of Centres in southern India, we are building a higher educational model focused on reaching the masses, rather than building universities.  We seek to minimize infrastructure and costs, while taking full advantage of freely available online educational resources.  Our goal in the next few years is to demonstrate an effective, rapidly scalable strategy, which can then be implemented on a broad scale, funded predominantly by national, state, and local governments, along with private and corporate benefactors.

The India Of My Dreams

Sixty Five years ago, as the clock struck midnight on the 15th of August, 1947, India’s first ever Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said, “Long ago, India had made a tryst with destiny, and it is time she redeems her pledge. As the world sleeps, India awakes to life and freedom.”

And it was a hard won freedom. It was a freedom earned by shedding the life-blood of its sons and the heart-blood of its daughters; millions of men and women who kissed the noose because they believed in a dream.  A dream of an India where all classes of men live equally, where there is no fragmentation based on religion, an India which does not tolerate the oppression of a man by another.

Sixty five years since independence, and this dream is yet unfulfilled. Why? Is it because the government does not care? Before we go trashing the administration, let’s take a hard, long look at ourselves. What we, as individuals, have done to realize this dream? We all live our lives, a family, kids, and a comfortably paying job. Is that enough? Do we owe nothing to the countless millions who sacrificed everything they had so that we could have a future?

I do. I owe my existence, mind, body and soul, the fact that I’m still breathing, to them. I’ll do whatever it takes to make that dream come true. E4D makes me believe that I’m not alone in trying to achieve the India of our dreams. We at E4D, believe that an education can shape the way people think and act. Education is a catalyst which will speed India’s road to all that she dreams to achieve. E4D intends to make that happen.

 

Proactive People Survey!!

 
Okay people, wherever you are, whenever you have 5 minutes to spare,

WE NEED YOU to start surveying “regular” Indian folks, aged 17 and up —

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Z7tGUOT_hyUu0m_cZeJMMS4QMjuAKhec9HstXTiz69w/viewform

They might be your friends, siblings, parents, cousins, or anyone in
your extended family.
They might be housekeepers, home makers, shop workers, auto drivers,
servers, gardeners, carpenters, petrol station attendants, security
guards, pickpockets, cow herders…

They MUST be Indian residents, and have basic literacy in at least one language (any language)

Brief, fixed interview format —

Your job is to ask the questions, in whatever language appropriate,
and note the person’s responses, for entry into our form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Z7tGUOT_hyUu0m_cZeJMMS4QMjuAKhec9HstXTiz69w/viewform

Please survey as VARIED a group of people as possible.

Thank you for supporting E4D!

My motivation for E4d

When I came to know about the “Education for development” project. I thought this is what I actually wanted to do in my life. A feeling came into my heart that I can change the Education system of India through E4d. This is the big platform for me to act and get results.

I feel that there is a lack of quality education between the school and College. What is lacking? That is the question! I strongly feel that what today’s university is offering is just the pressure. One thing because of which we Indians are not able to grow intellectually is the pressure. Our teachers just want to give us the pressure, so that they think we can perform better. But giving pressure every time is not good.

So much pressure kills the innovation and creativity of a student. This system is destroying the future of our nation.
There is no place for Innovation or New Idea, only Cramming. Just cram when you are in school or in college.
Just run for the good grades. We are not taught how to approach a problem neither given a space to think.
These were the thoughts that came when I heard of E4d. Thats why I joined the project. I wholeheartedly worked and is regularly working for the same.

I have a punch line for E4d –

“We at E4d are the revolutionaries of today’s modern India. Want to improve the thinking of every Indian and all those who think that India cannot Succeed.”

PERKS IDEAS for an E4D Indiegogo Campaign?

“A perk is something you offer people in exchange for their contribution. Perks give contributors an additional non-monetary incentive to support your campaign.” [http://www.indiegogo.com/crowdfunding-tips]

Akshat Wahi suggested that we can give away “E4D Stereo Can Speakers” (custom i4d design) as an Indiegogo perk — for example, if someone donates >$100 to the E4D campaign.

What other *awesome* perks can we offer prospective donors? Please add your ideas in the comments below….
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Perky guidance:
http://www.indiegogo.com/crowdfunding-tips#perks
http://blog.indiegogo.com/2012/12/top12perks.html
http://support.indiegogo.com/entries/21012318-What-You-Can-Can-t-Offer-As-Perks

E4D TEST-RUN LAUNCHED!!!

Perhaps it’s a bit too early to celebrate, but E4D definitely hit a milestone yesterday (2 May 2013), as we registered and started training our first six E4D participants!

The six ambitious young women, ranging in age from about 17 to 26, all presently live and work full-time service jobs in the vicinity of the Brahmapuram area of Vellore, Tamil Nadu.  Their goals in joining E4D are quite varied — one plans to learn computers, with the goal of advancing in her current job, while another matter-of-factly declared her intention to become a police officer.  All six women require further education to achieve their goals, but they cannot risk losing their current jobs.

As part of the registration process, the new participants each spent 1-2 hours with one of our awesome volunteer academic counsellors — Sonali Deshpande and Spandana Chervu, thank you so much for your patience and commitment!

Sonali and Spandana had the dual task of teaching the women basic computer skills and gathering information about their educational objectives.  By the end of the first session, each participant had created her first email account and learned how to login/logout, copy/paste text, and compose/read email messages.  They will return later today to complete the intake process, after which they will begin an online course covering the basics of MS Windows and Office Suite.

 

Sumithra teaching new participants basic computing skills

The photo shows Sumithra Sriram, another of our volunteer counsellors, working with new E4D participants on basic computing skills. [6 May 2013]

 

 

Hello world!

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