Beena Sheth Lashkari
This profile was prepared when Beena Sheth Lashkari was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Beena is educating poor children in urban areas by establishing schools and other educational programs that are sensitive to their unique needs, backgrounds, and lifestyles. Through her Doorstep School (DSS), Beena is finding new ways to provide an initial educational experience to these children. Her goal is to have every child stay in school long enough to become literate and to earn a "Grade 5+level" certificate, essential to securing a job in the future. Beena continuously adds to her list of solutions for easy-access to education. Her most recent idea, schools-on-wheels, are classrooms in buses that reach entire communities of children outside the formal education system: street kids, children of poor construction workers, seasonal migrants, and others with no permanent address. Schools-on-wheels has already spread from Mumbai to Pune. The idea is also being considered in remote rural areas in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan in western India.