United for Hope – Case Study: Azad

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Posted On: 05.13.2019
  • Azad operating one of the robots he programmed during a STEM class.

  • Students walking through the fields.

  • Azad works with a classmate to program their robot during STEM class.

  • Azad: English, Computer and STEM classes student

Azad is 14 years old and lives with his family in the village of Tirmasahun, in the Kushinagar District of Eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP). He is currently a ninth year student, but his life
is much more than school work.

Azad and his sister rise before dawn to help their parents with the demanding agricultural work. His family depends on the income for basic needs and sustenance. Before and after school, he spends time working in the fields so that his father can sell their produce in the local market. This is a common trend for children in this rural community. Data from the Annual Status of Education Report, facilitated by Pratham, indicate only 60% of enrolled students are actively attending school full time in Uttar Pradesh. The literacy rate in Tirmasahun village is only 58.7%.

For the young age of 14, Azad is well beyond his years in understanding that to tackle the complex challenges of rural India and improve the lives of India’s poorest, he needs help. That is where United for Hope, an NGO founded in 2014, comes alongside the young people of Tirmasaun to help them acquire new life skills. United for Hope started to build their Community Centre headquarters in the village in 2014. They work through a holistic Smart Village approach that is built on 3 pillars: Education, Social Enterprises, and Community Services. Azad, and 50 other students, balance school, work, classes, and studying every week at the Community Centre. He works hard and is often tired but he remains passionate about his education. He is a student in a young adult computer and soft skills class, English language class, and STEM robotics class, which are all a part of the United for Hope Education program. He attends afternoon classes from Wednesday to Saturday.

“My English has improved a lot since coming to classes at United for Hope. I like being able to speak English,” Azad said. He says his favorite subject is English and he hopes to become fluent in it.

Azad has been an active, loyal and successful student in his English and computer skills classes, and as a result, was selected to participate in the STEM class on Saturdays. “I love the robotics STEM class! I really like robotics and learning to operate systems. I know how to do the programming by myself and that is very exciting,” Azad said. He has become so dedicated that, most weeks, he comes to the Community Centre outside of class hours
to spend extra time working on his programming tasks.

In addition to being one of the top performing students in his classes, he is always taking time to explain and help other students. Through his time in the United for Hope classes, he has acquired more confidence, leadership qualities and is focused on his future.

“This is the impact that we aim to make on the students who participate in our Education initiatives,” said Tara McCartney, United for Hope Director. Tara and her team are recipients of an IEEE Smart Village grant to expand the educational opportunities across the region.

A new vision for the future

Since becoming a student at United for Hope five months ago, Azad has a different vision for his future. He has long-term goals of attending pilot school and becoming a pilot, and he knows that continuing to be a proactive student will help him achieve this.

United for Hope was founded in 2013, and is a registered tax-deductible NGO in Germany, India and the USA. It functions in a non/for-profit hybrid model in close collaboration with our sister social enterprise, Shakti Empowerment Solutions Pvt Ltd. (SES), which was created in India in 2016. To learn more about this unique environment, visit https://www.unitedforhope.org

A priority initiative of the IEEE Foundation, IEEE Smart Village has helped more than 70 villages with solar power equipment, entrepreneurial training and education. As a 501 C(3) organization, it benefits from your tax deducible contribution.


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