Sriram Ayer

Ashoka Fellow
Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu, India
Fellow Since 2004


This profile was prepared when Sriram Ayer was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Sriram's, Nalanda Way program focuses on children from lower-income groups who lack support systems by way of academic and extra curricular guidance and counseling. He is thus creating an entirely new segment of social capital in the form of role models or ‘mentors’ drawn from the privileged sections of society, primarily the vast body of young corporate sector professionals. The carefully selected mentors, who are matched one-to-one with children in the program, interact continuously not only with their ‘mentees’ but the parents and teachers as well, to ensure that the child remains in a cycle of continuous learning. The mentor is a mix of friend, philosopher, guide, counselor and sounding board whose role is to draw out a child’s creative thought and skills and steer him or her towards the vast opportunities and choices that the new global economy has to offer. Sriram is thus building social intelligence by complementing formal education with a human relationship-based program that allows a child’s emotional intelligence to surface so that his/her’s potential can be tapped to the fullest. The ultimate aim is make education relevant for these children and help them make choices and identify new goals.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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