Educating millions of children in the slums of India

When Bina Lashkari was studying to become a social worker, she did an internship at a municipal school in Mumbai’s slums. Her task included understanding the children’s low levels of attendance. The reasons were many: they lived far away from the school, stayed at home to care for younger siblings, or worked to contribute to the family income. Bina decided that these children deserved a good education, despite the difficult conditions.

Bina founded Door Step School 30 years ago. She converted buses to classrooms and drove them to the places where the children worked so that those unable to come to school also learnt to read and write. India has changed over the years, and so has Door Step School. As more children go to school, the focus shifted to making sure that children don’t drop out, and actually learn something. Door Step School does this by running pre-schools, offering remedial teaching, IT and science labs, and mobile libraries.

Throughout the years, Social Initiative has worked to improve the organisation’s impact measurement, enabled the testing of new, innovative programmes, and expanded the high impact programmes to new slums in Mumbai. In recent years, the focus has been on helping Door Step School assess and launch teaching in the English language.

The schools in Mumbai kept close since Mars 2020 due to the corona pandemic. Door Step School quickly adapted to the new situation by creating WhatsApp groups and online classes on zoom. During the step-by-step process of reopening, the teachers at Door Step School organized outdoor classes. In October 2020, the school was able to organize a combination of online and regular gatherings. Since public schools have been slow in offering digital teaching most students received their education though Door Step School alone.

Our partners have contributed with extra support during covid, enabling Door Step School to purchase digital tablets.

95% of the children who transitioned from pre-school completed the full school year
The number of children in grades 1-2 who know the alphabet increased from 10% to 92%
Door Step School educated
96550 children