Project Avesta– Working Towards SDG 4
'Project Avesta' is a non-profit initiative aimed at enabling holistic education and growth for the underprivileged youth of India
This initiative seems to be another significant and remarkable teenager-led non-profit organisation in Bangalore, India. The founders of this non-profit have taken it upon themselves to help contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4– Quality Education. This SDG is one of the most important ones, as its achievement will make several other goals (gender equality, no poverty, and good health and well-being, amongst others) far more tangible. Quality education is a problem that truly lies at the heart of India with frightening statistics; such as the fact that while girls have an almost 100% enrolment in primary education, only 25.4% pursue higher education.
Nonetheless, I find it amazing that students–themselves–are taking onus of the situation and rising as advocates of education.
In conversation with 'Project Avesta':
Why did you feel the need to start this project?
"As teenagers in the affluent Indian society, we’ve been gifted with good quality education. Yet, through our interactions with children from poorer backgrounds; each of us has directly been exposed to the inequalities that exist within access to education in our country. Anyone who has actually been able to visit a low-income government school would understand that each of these children has immense ability and willingness to learn, yet 35 million children in India don’t receive adequate schooling - a situation which has only worsened due to COVID-19.
Ultimately, being in a position of privilege should come with the responsibility of giving back to our societies and communities in any way we can."
What does the future of 'Project Avesta' look like in the midst of the pandemic? "During this time of crisis, students at top-tier private schools are able to maintain a sense of normalcy and engage in learning via online platforms; but students from low-income families continue to struggle, lacking the resources and motivation to continue their education. Since April, we’ve been working alongside teachers associated with TFI (Teach For India) to improve the current state of learning. Soon, we plan on holding a fundraiser to purchase refurbished tablets which will be distributed to a number of government schools in Bangalore."
The work that this initiative has done and will continue doing reminds us that problems will remain problems until we do something about it. We can choose to be oblivious of the fact that education may be normalcy for us, but a luxury for others; or we can work towards making sure that India, too, will achieve quality education by 2030 or earlier.