Access To Quality Education

    Improving the value chain of quality education delivery through intervening in the public or private sectors has been a major focus in education initiatives we have funded so far. We are supporting a variety of highly scalable models that improve the aptitude of children in science, math and language that are being mainstreamed in the public education system. There are also other unique models that are small but highly engaged and innovative in bringing inclusive and holistic education through alternative approaches to pedagogy. Some of those models include the following.

    • Innovating models to improve the quality of public education system
    • Promoting transformative models to improve stakeholder participation, impact pedagogy and teaching methods to increase engagement with children
    • Generating ideas of inclusive and comprehensive education through alternative models
    • Increasing employability skills through focused education modules
    • Promoting innovative solutions to address gaps in the access to and quality of education received.

Current Partners

Agastya Foundation

Agastya runs the largest hands-on science program in the world, employing innovative methodologies to enable students from private and public schools to conduct science experiments.

Sparking curiosity, creativity, and humanity among rural children and teachers is the Agastya Foundation’s primary mission. Driven by their vision of a creative India of ‘tinkerers, solution-seekers and creators’ that are ‘humane, anchored and connected’, they employ unconventional methodologies in science education. Experiential programs enable students from private and public schools to conduct science experiments, making learning fun. Within the Sandbox, Agastya’s new methodologies boost creativity and innovation.

Baala Balaga

Baala Balaga is a unique school that seeks to provide a homely, interesting and fear free atmosphere for children. It explores various different ways for a child to learn.

Baala Balaga guides the children with the hope of them evolving into well rounded, socially responsible individual, with a passion to excel in whatever they chose to do.In collaboration with the Deshpande Foundation, Baala Balaga works to develop and implement new concepts, methodologies and games to teach mathematics in a fun and enjoyable manner.

Chipper Sage

Not all children are endowed similarly. Learning is a complex brain process and is dependent on the latent and mature comprehension capabilities of an individual and it varies from one to another. In children, latent capabilities which are ever evolving happen so at varied pace and dimensions owing to a wide range of reasons. Such differences are quite normal but surely call for more suitable teaching approach, techniques and tools essentially to stimulate latent comprehension abilities. Chipper Sage products are all developed in consideration of this underlying cause for the difficulties children face in learning.

Some children hardly study but learn. Some children study hard and learn. And, some need to study hard but lack the inclination for it. Making learning easy, interesting and enjoyable is clearly the task. Our research for evolving learning concepts is based on this insight.

Friends Union for Energizing Lives (FUEL)

Many children lack clear information of education and career opportunities which prohibits them from reaching their full potential, FUEL aims to address this issue by connecting students to right education and career opportunities.

In partnership with Deshpande Foundation, FUEL is working on reaching out to more than 10,000 children and enables them to make right career choices through its low cost counseling kits.

Karadi Path Company

Karadi Path Company is a publishing house company that creates space for Indian culture and heritage learning by providing meaningful entertainment alternatives for kids and families.

A children’s publishing house, Karadi Path provides meaningful entertainment alternatives for kids and families, and brings fun into the development of early learning skills. Involved in innovative pedagogy for language learning, it caters particularly to rural and underprivileged schools and recreates the joy of Indian stories. Using an innovative approach that incorporates music and storytelling, Karadi Path brings fun learning techniques to the Sandbox.

Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya

Employing the ancient disciplines of Indian classical music and modern-day academic classes, KSV is a residential school that supports students from low economic backgrounds

Kalkeri provides academic and music education to children from socially and economically disadvantaged communities. With a goal of helping children from humble backgrounds realize their potential, it adopts both a traditional and modern educational approaches. Students learn through the ancient disciplines of Indian classical music while being taught English, IT and other modern-day equivalent courses. They are provided with accommodation, nutritious food, and healthcare, all free of cost. Its partnership with the Deshpande Foundation has been focused on developing and implementing a diversified fundraising strategy to successfully continue its work.


Pratham aims to have every child in school and learning well. With a wide and rare variety of programs available, Pratham has had an impact on the way schools are run in Mysore.

Pratham works in the Sandbox to strengthen children educational skills by implementing its learning camps to better children’s learning in language, mathematics and science subjects.

Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled

Samarthanam conducts programs that promote the employable skills development of visually challenged people.

Guided by their long-term vision of shaping an inclusive society that provides opportunities without discrimination, Samarthanam implements a range of development initiatives that provide quality education, nutritious food, accommodation, vocational training, placement-based rehabilitation and opportunities that ultimately enable individuals to become independent. In the Sandbox, Samarthanam implemented the TechVision program, a 4-month training program in IT, English, communication, and personal development.

Teacher Foundation

The Teacher Foundation improves the quality of education by impacting pedagogy through empowering educators.

Empowering educators into becoming energetic, effective, and reflective practitioners is the mission behind The Teacher Foundation. Through a range of different programs and tools that include teacher centers and forums, TTF trains teachers and provides a platform where they can share ideas and insights. TTF’s work facilitates the professional and personal growth of teachers, which subsequently impacts the quality of education that students receive. In the Sandbox, The Teacher Foundation piloted a new program in 30 schools to improve the quality of education.

Alumni Partners

Akshara Foundation

Akshara Foundation executes programs that provide multiple solutions to universalize elementary education and ensure that “every child is in school and learning well”.

Ensuring that every child goes to school and is learning is what Akshara Foundation promotes. With highly scalable and cost-effective solutions, its five key programs provide solutions for universalizing elementary education. In the Sandbox, the Akshara Foundation focused its work on providing elementary education for school dropouts.

Asha for Education

Asha for Education provides education opportunities to underprivileged children.

Educating underprivileged children to catalyze socio-economic change in India through education is the purpose behind Asha for Education. With 67 chapters worldwide, Asha has disbursed over $25 million since its inception in 2011 and galvanized over 1000 volunteers.

American India Foundation (AIF)

AIF catalyzes economic and social change through investments in education, healthcare and employment opportunities for India’s poor.

Catalyzing economic and social change through investments in education, healthcare and employment opportunities for the poor is what the American India Foundation does. Its hallmark Digital Equalizer (DE) program is a computer-aided learning program that has reached 27,000 teachers and 800,000 children.

Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT)

BLT conducts training, workshops and performances in its commitment to the promotion of theatre and performing arts.

In an effort to promote theatre and performing arts, BLT conducts training, workshops and performances. In its 50 years of existence, it has produced over 200 plays, pioneered systematic training and initiated play development as a serious pursuit, reached out to the community in a wide variety of ways, and built strong bridges with the regional language theatres.

Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA)

Nurturing active citizenship amongst children to ensure a vibrant and participatory democracy is what CMCA seeks to develop.

Nurturing active citizenship amongst children to ensure a vibrant and participatory democracy is what CMCA does. Using a range of modules, the CMCA program sensitizes students across the country about civic issues and urges them to be messengers of change. CMCA sows seeds of social change and contributes to a society that is aware of local and national issues. The Deshpande Foundation supported CMCA’s expansion into additional rural schools.

Digital Green

Building and deploying information and communication technology, Digital Green raises the livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the developing world.

Building and deploying information and communication technology, Digital Green raises the livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the developing world. It works with existing, people-based extension systems to amplify their effectiveness.The work involves community members creating videos that feature local farmers talking on different topics such as market linkages, improved production techniques, government schemes etc. Vetted by domain experts, the videos are distributed and discussed by small groups of farmers in weekly screenings that are mediated by service providers from the community.

English Helper

English Helper provides innovative products that address English language learning and training needs.

Providing innovative products that address English language learning and training needs is what English Helper does. Designed with an eye for effective learning, the context and pace for each student is considered to be a priority for English Helper. Its ReadtoMe™ software addresses a major issue many ESL students face: the lack of opportunities to practice speaking English. Using a multi-sensory approach, the software introduces reading with comprehension, with a standard accented synthetic voice to help with diction that enables quicker learning. It has helped nearly 10,000 learners across India and continues to help more.

Going to School

Going to School features stories on schools in India where children come together to learn lessons that are relevant to their lives.

Making stories (movies, books, radio) for children from low-income groups to encourage them to use their education to transform their lives and create their own opportunities is what Going to School does. Going to School in India features stories on schools in India where children come together to learn lessons that are relevant to their lives. It has since been adapted into 10 mini books and 9 movies in regional languages.

Head-Held-High Foundation

Head Held High Foundation provides rural youth with essential skills and places them in business process outsourcing (BPO) organizations.

Transforming non-educated youth from rural areas to be a local human resource pool employed by knowledge industries in villages is what Head Held High Foundation does. Through an intensive training program, Head Held High Foundation provides rural youth with essential skills and places them in business process outsourcing (BPO) organizations.

Lend-A-Hand India (LAHI)

Lend a Hand India works at the intersection of education and livelihood to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for the rural youth.

Making a difference in the lives of the poor through self-help is the focus of LAHI’s work. Working with the local government and communities, it facilitates better access to resources while working at the intersection of education and livelihoods. LAHI’s work in the Sandbox was focused on providing rural youth with educational opportunities in order to enhance their employability skills.


MelJol aims at developing responsible citizenship amongst children through Child Rights Education.

Developing responsible citizenship amongst children through Child Rights Education is what MelJol does. It develops childrens’ citizenship skills by making them aware of their rights and responsibilities, and providing them with opportunities to contribute positively to their environment.

Malenadu Education And Rural Development Society (MEARDS)

MEARDS strives to create a well-developed rural region that fosters a healthy environment that has all the basic necessities to enable individuals to have access to quality education and gain employment.

Creating a well-developed rural region with a healthy environment where everyone can gain access to all the basic necessities is MEARDS’s mission. While much of its work has been focused on education programs, MEARDS’s work is guided by its goal of enhancing the overall development of the underprivileged rural population. Consequently, two of its educational programs included establishing a pre-school and primary school in a village of Karnataka. In partnership with the Deshpande Foundation, MEARDS started a Rural Science Center that provides hands-on science training to teachers and students.

Sahana Charitable Trust for the Disabled

Sahana Charitable Trust contributes towards enhancing access to education by providing Braille books and support services to visually challenged people.

Empowering the visually impaired is what the Sahana Charitable Trust does. It provides opportunities to obtain quality education, skills, training and rehabilitation that will enable visually impaired individuals to gain employment. The Deshpande Foundation partnered with Sahana to provide academic books in Braille to visually impaired college students and quality training that will enable them to become independent. So far, its work has had a direct impact on 235 students.

Sikshana Foundation

Creating and adopting methods and techniques to improve learning levels in the public education system is the main focus of Sikshana Foundation’s work.

Working in collaboration with state governments, Sikshana implements its replicable model that improves learning levels in the public education system in rural and semi-urban areas. It implements its five-year model which involves heavy engagement with teachers and students for the first two years, increased community participation in the third year, and gradual disengagement during the final two years. Its presence in the Sandbox translates to a more productive, aware and connected ecosystem. Today, Sikshana works across three different states and it continues to grow.

Tropical Research and Development Center (TRDC)

TRDC fosters sustainable communities through education for children, community engagement, and natural resource conservation.

Fostering sustainable communities through education for children, community engagement and natural resource conservation is the focus of TRDC’s work. It builds social capital through primary school education, promotes self-help groups and engages in biodiversity conservation through organic farming programs. In the Sandbox, the Deshpande Foundation supported TRDC’s project to address the issue of child labor and improve the enrolment of children in school.

Vidya Poshak

Vidya Poshak provides integrated support to economically challenged students to enable them to gain an education and employment.

Giving students with economic difficulties an opportunity to continue their higher education through integrated support is the focus of Vidya Poshak’s work. Meritorious students who want to pursue further education past their 10th standard are supported to increase their employability skills, ultimately transforming them into contributing citizens. The Deshpande Foundation supported the development of Vidya Poshak’s fundraising infrastructure for sustainable support of its programs.