Explain your project in details:
At present, over 263 million children and youth are out of school and over 115 million youth are illiterate, about 60% of which are young women. UNESCO figures show that a severe teacher shortage exists in at least 74 countries across the globe, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. Without an impossible 69 million new teachers by 2030, millions of children will be excluded from even primary education. Even where teacher shortages are not prevalent, the quality of education in low-income schools in Pakistan and across much of the developing world is extremely substandard. A report on the state of education in Pakistan shows that many school-going children are essentially illiterate and innumerate–only 43% of rural grade three students could read a sentence from a grade one book in their local dialect, and only 40% of rural grade three students could do simple grade one level arithmetic. Soch is an innovative, distribution focused education intervention which incorporates digital curricula into low-income, resource-limited classrooms as way to ensure the equal provision of quality education and as a possible solution to the major global issues if teacher shortages. Soch partners with local and international curriculum developers and low-income government and nonprofit schools, and informal learning centers for its operations.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Soch primarily targets SDG 4 - quality education, and by extension, SDG 10 - reduced inequalities and SDG 1 - no poverty. For the pilot test, Soch is working to test it's model on 250 students of a nonprofit school in one of the largest slums in Pakistan, teaching the students basic literacy and numeracy skills through digital curricula and Soch's low-cost classroom model. By starting with the provision of basic literacy and numeracy skills, we are taking the first step to providing the youth with the means to get decent work, lift themselves out of poverty, and reduce the vast social inequalities prevalent across the globe. The venture was the winner of the IBA/D-prize social venture competition and just recently received a $10,000 USD grant to conduct a 3-month pilot test.
Sustainability and future plans
After the pilot, once a strong final classroom and curriculum delivery model is developed, it may independently be replicated by classrooms across the country. Such aims to scale up to 12,500 students within 2 years. Initially, Soch will be considerably reliant on grants and donors - and already has several commitments from potential donors based on pilot results. This will allow such to develop its organisational foundations and sustain it's operations until it is able to be financially self-sufficient. Eventually, the plan is to operate a hybrid cross-subsidy, whereby there will be for-profit social enterprises under the nonprofit organisation and the revenues from profit making arms will be used to fund the deficit running areas of the organisation. This will allow us to be mostly, or even entirely, self-sufficient. Soch has a vast support network of organisations, such as the D-prize in San Francisco and the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, and individuals, including university professors, social workers, and nonprofit founders.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
Social and community work and volunteering have, since my childhood, been an important part of my life and my person. From a young age I have felt strongly about reducing the deeply prevalent and prominent inequalities in our global society and have actively volunteered my time to any cause I felt was worthy and needed support. I am 21 years old and am deeply passionate about issues of education, healthcare, environment, and poverty, having volunteered for or worked with some of the leading NGOs and nonprofits in the country as well as some small grassroot-level organisations. To procide a glimpse into some of the work I have previously done: I have interned at, and am a member of, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), helped raise funds for a Childrens Cancer Hospital, and worked with The Citizens Foundation (TCF), one of the leading NGOs in Pakistan working in the field of education, where I lead a team for several months to run a project helping underprivileged high school students - most of whom would be the first ones in their families and even communities to go to higher education - to get into the best universities in Pakistan in an attempt to reduce the social disparity in higher education and to level the playing field for similar students, and personally mentored some of the most promising students to help them dream big and achieve their aspirations. Additionally, I am a member of the Alliance for Positive Youth Development, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - Pakistan, and a youth associate member of CIVICUS.