How edtech startup WhiteHat Jr is offering customised content for underprivileged children through its ‘WhiteHeart’ initiative
The pandemic has created a learning deficit not just in India but across the world. While children are finding it difficult to learn through online classes, the situation is much worse when it comes to underprivileged sections as many students cannot even afford gadgets like smartphones to take online classes.
To help the underprivileged sections, edtech startup, with over 11,000 teachers, launched WhiteHeart earlier this year.
The initiative is aimed at giving back to the society by delivering live learning sessions to children and youth from the underprivileged communities.
With the help of its teacher community, it prepares curriculum for each of the sessions, which is customised based on the requirement of the NGO partner.
During one of the sessions with the students.
The live sessions, delivered over the mobile phone, covers varied topics including basic literacy, digital literacy, and numeracy-based topics, with a focus on coding and math, vocational skills, interview preparation, and communication.
“Our teachers are our biggest asset and the WhiteHeart initiative is a testimony of their desire to contribute to the society by going above and beyond. We have learnt a lot in this first leg, and now our intent will be to make the WhiteHeart initiative even more impactful in the times to come,” says Trupti Mukker, CEO, WhiteHat Jr.
Working on the genesis
In order to accomplish its mission, WhiteHat Jr reached out to its teacher community to understand if they would like to donate live teaching hours to help students in need. The feedback from internal surveys was very positive with many teachers coming forward and eager to contribute.
The next step was to understand how the team can deliver impact. “We started engaging with multiple NGOs to formulate next steps. Our strategy was to keep all options open - we have a large qualified teacher force, and therefore the capacity to deliver a significant number of live teaching hours,” says Trupti.
Further, the NGO partners request sessions on specific subjects, which are curated by the teachers who deliver customised sessions. The teachers here first curate content and then deliver sessions for each of the NGO partners.
So far, the edtech company has reached out to students in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bihar, Bengaluru, Odisha, Varanasi, and Pune. Its intent is to deliver a healthy mix of online as well as in-person sessions working in tandem with its NGO partners.
Till date, WhiteHat Jr has associated with 22 NGOs under the WhiteHeart initiative. The NGO partners include a FNavjyoti Indioundation, LightHouse Project, Parikrma Humanity Foundation, Bhumi, Spark a Change Foundation, Lotus Petal Foundation, Antarang Foundation, VIDYA, SETU, CRY, Kind Beings, Apna Ghar, Aahwahaan, Peepal Tree Foundation, Salaam Baalak Trust, Udaan India Foundation, i Saksham, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, Sampark, Salaam Bombay Foundation, Udayan Care, and SNEHA.
The WhiteHeart initiative has also conducted ‘Train the Trainer’ programmes with employees and volunteers of the NGO partners helping them transition from offline to online teaching/learning.
The pandemic saw many such startups and organisations coming out to help those in despair. Last year,launched BYJU’S ‘Give’ initiative where citizens were encouraged to donate their old or unused smart devices that will then be refurbished and powered with BYJU’S content and distributed to children with no access to online education.
Bringing a change
“We have received very positive feedback from our NGO partners as well as beneficiary students. The work done by the WhiteHat Jr teachers in curating the curriculum and spending the time teaching the children has led to creating a lot of positive impact on the students,” says Trupti.
“For instance, the programme designed for NavJyoti Foundation India titled ‘Orientation to Coding’ saw students learning problem solving skills and critical thinking. We also awarded scholarships to exceptional students,” she adds.
As part of the association with Navjyoti India Foundation, WhiteHat Jr teachers have curated a mobile-based curriculum called ‘Orientation to Coding’ divided across 20 sessions covering the basics of coding.
In all, 1,800 students from Navjyoti India Foundation have benefitted as part of this association. Further, WhiteHat Jr has awarded scholarships to five meritorious students.
“Meanwhile, NGO partner Spark a Change requested sessions on digital literacy for children in the age-group of 6 to 16 years. So, the teachers worked together to create and deliver special sessions,” says Trupti.
Similarly, WhiteHat Jr teachers delivered sessions for over 400 students of Parikrama Humanity Foundation, guiding students from grade 3-9 in subjects such as English, Math, and Science. The WhiteHeart team says that its attempt was to help students understand basic concepts by employing stimulating teaching strategies, close supervision, and providing individual attention to those who needed it the most.
The community initiative is funded totally by WhiteHat Jr. The core of this intensive operation led initiative is teaching hours since it delivers live sessions online. It further aims to intensify activities under this initiative with a target to impact 50,000 children by 2023.