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Asha Back to School Programme

The Background

A study released by the Government of the Indian state of Telangana in 2016 revealed that close to 38% of school children drop out before completing their high school education. This number went as high as 50% in certain districts. A parallel study to investigate the root cause behind this identified that the death/illness of a parent was one of the primary contributing factors. To cater to this need the Asha Back to School Program was started in the year 2008.

The Idea

Asha Back to School program identifies children of single mothers who may have had to be pulled out of school after the death/permanent illness of a father. After the death of their husbands, single mothers often find it difficult to meet household expenses such as food, rent and medical bills while also paying for their kid’s school fees. Due to their inability to pay the fee, the children are eventually pulled out of schools and stay at home. The Asha Back to School Program identifies such children and gets them back to school by helping them with their fees. In addition, Asha Tuition Centers, which provide free tuition to children whose parents are not educated to help them with their studies, help keep them in school.

Over the last eleven years, this program has helped over 570 kids get back to school and complete the education they deserve. In their latest year-end exams, Asha Jyothi students across all grades scored an average of 81%, which significantly outperforms their peers. 23 Tuition Centers Centers have served over 560 kids.

The excellent English medium education that these kids complete sets them up for success and opens up for them an infinite set of opportunities to eventually help lift their families out of poverty.

Asha Back to School program and tuition centers are embedded in a growing ecosystem of additional services and facilities for children and families, such as 21 Asha Jyothi Children Homes for orphans, the Asha Employable Skills Program for around 1,000+ school dropout girls and single moms every year with an employment rate of 89%, 5 Asha Restoration Homes for girls rescued from trafficking and 2 homes for HIV/AIDS children and young girls.

Our contribution and relationship

The Asha Back to School Program is implemented by the volunteer based non-profit organization Asha Jyothi, founded and led by Dr. Saji K. John and his wife Cynthia John. McKinsey-for-Children has been supporting two projects of Asha Jyothi, Asha Back to School and Asha Tuition Centers, since 2011, by covering the children’s tuition fees and providing financial support for the operations of the tuition centers. Since the beginning of the collaboration, Asha Jyothi was able to take in 275 additional students into the Back to School program and 200 kids in tuition centers based on McKinsey-for-Children’s support. More information on Asha Jyothi under