This profile was prepared when Ramchandra Gunari was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Students coming to urban schools from provincial towns are often frightened by their new surroundings and intimidated by their new curriculum. Cut off from their friends and family, they have no one to turn to in times of stress, but most Indian schools don’t offer counseling services to help students. Ramchandra is creating a support system for these lonely students, complete with trained emotional and academic mentors and counseling sessions. In 1999, Ramchandra started recruiting recent university graduates to found a professional corps of tutors and counselors called the Ankura program. Today, the Ankura program operates in twelve cities throughout Karnataka, and Ramchandra intends to use the national network of education and youth-focused Ashoka Fellows to continue spreading his idea.