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Pratham works towards universalizing primary education in India. Pratham is one of the largest non-profits working in the primary education sector. It serves children across 21 states in India. Seeded by UNICEF and Mumbai Municipal Corporation in 1994, Pratham began in the slums of Mumbai. In addition to the states where Pratham has been active, namely Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir, and Tamil Nadu; Pratham’s operations have grown in Nagaland, Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab as well. Assistance to Pratham programs has come from the local governments, leading corporate houses, and the local citizens. Many local trusts and governing bodies have been formed to oversee the smooth operations of Pratham activities; committed individuals from every walk of life have chipped in with their bit.
Therefore it can be comprehended that Pratham is a tripartite partnership between the corporates or donors, government, and citizens – working closely with the government in the belief that the fastest and most efficient change can be brought about by building partnerships to address problems based on concrete evidence. Rather than supplant, it supplements the governmental investment recognizing that primary education is principally the responsibility of the government. Pratham operates in scale and believes in demonstrating large-scale solutions.
Friends of Pratham have started Pratham chapters in the USA, UK, and the Middle East, to promote and support the Pratham cause in India. Overseas funding agencies such as the OXFAM NOVIB, NPL, AIF have also been sufficiently impressed by the work of Pratham, to start funding certain Pratham activities in a few states.
Since its inception, the goal of the Pratham team has been to ensure that “every child in school … and learning well”. Over this 9 year period, Pratham has reached out to a million children. An accelerated learning method, in which an unlettered child starts reading and computing basic mathematics in 3 weeks, has been in use since late 2002 and has taught over 160,000 children since then to become literate.
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