Varirtra Foundation

Partner From
01/01/2019 - On Going
Varitra logo

Supported by: Wipro

About Varitra Foundation

Varitra Foundation is a section-8 company founded in 2018 and works on rural education, youth development, and women empowerment in Haryana. A Sanskrit word, “Varitra” means Umbrella. In development terms, Varitra symbolizes synergy, collaboration, and a canopy of ideas. 

Over the past four years, Varitra has worked in over 20 villages in Karnal district (Haryana) on strengthening education access in rural government schools through initiatives like setting up libraries, running reading programs, infrastructural transformation, running post-school remedial classes, and enhancing student leadership.


About the problem

Lack of quality education access to rural children of India is the key social issue that we at Varitra are trying to address. We believe in the words of Marian Edelman – “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it”.  In terms of the demography of out-of-school children, India ranks fourth highest in the world. These under-privileged children grow up in an impoverished environment which affects their overall development and educational attainments. 

The educational levels of the disadvantaged children paint an extremely grim picture. They usually go to schools with fewer facilities and opportunities for quality education. Then again, there is a considerable mass of disadvantaged children who are deprived of basic access to primary education despite the ‘Right to Education’ enactment. It is a matter of grave concern that in India, more than 12.6 million children under the age of 14 are reported to be working as child laborers. In some of our intervention villages, not even a single child/youth has opted for higher education/college. 


Our geography

Over the past five years, Varitra’s intervention has been focused on Whole School Transformation in the Karnal District of Haryana. The majority of Varitra’s associated villages are in the ‘Yamuna Belt’ region which is geographically located along the stretch of the Yamuna riverbank bordering the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. These interior villages are known for socio-economic backwardness. Furthermore, the lack of geographical access to major towns like Karnal, Panipat, and Kurukshetra has also contributed to the lack of education access at various levels. The villages to date have very low literacy levels or minimal higher education rates. Along with high drop-out rates from schools, these trends further percolate into other issues like early marriages, alcoholism, debt, and gender violence. 

About the project 

In 2018, Varitra started ‘Project SEARCH’ (Strengthening Education Access to Rural Children of Karnal) using a whole school transformation approach to transform rural government schools into quality education spaces. Enhancing school infrastructure, providing safe reading spaces through libraries, and improving learning outcomes of children through Varitra remedial centers were three key initiatives started under project SEARCH. The project focuses on providing remedial classes for Mathematics and English to 4th and 5th-grade students having low learning levels in government schools using innovative teaching-learning practices.

The above project aims to create a Learning Enhancement Centre at the school level which is run and managed by one or two Shikshan Mitra. A Shikshan Mitra or SM is a local teaching volunteer who is the primary driver of Creative Learning Centres and teaches the children as well as works on their overall development through a diverse range of learning and extra-curricular activities. The Shikshan Mitras are rural youth (age 18-35 years) belonging to local communities. 

All the SMs have been identified through local channels like Panchayat, SHGs, and SMCs. A capacity-building strategy is created to provide training to the SMs to nurture teaching, self-awareness, and leadership skills amongst the cohort for quality and committed work. The SMs are also encouraged to serve as bridges between the community and school through regular interaction with schoolteachers and parents, setting role model behavior for young children and actively participating in their community affairs.

Partner updates

During this year, Varitra’s core focus remained on providing remedial learning in 6 partner schools for children from grade 4 to 5. Through these 6 LECs, Varitra engaged approximately 360 children and worked on building English and Mathematic proficiencies. Varitra also focussed on creating libraries in 6 partner schools and undertook reading sessions. Each library comprises bi-lingual books from a diverse range of publishers to encourage a healthy reading environment in schools.