Dr. Abraham’s Story: The Power of Social Enterprise at Work.
Transforming poverty through education and enterprise.
As the A Path Appears documentary attested, early childhood intervention is one of the best and most sustainable solutions to poverty. Intervening on the frontend is much more effective and affordable than intervening on the backend.
Providing children with education can prevent them from entering the labor force too young, from early marriage and pregnancy, and from trafficking, to name a few things. Hence many organizations focus their efforts on providing education for children in regions where it is not otherwise available.
One of Agora’s partners has done just that. More than 15 years ago, Dr. Abraham felt a burning call on his life he could not ignore. It was not an easy call. But he knew he must respond.
Stepping out into the scary unknown, Abraham opened an English-speaking, tuition-based K-12 school in the middle of one of the most heavily Hindu and poorest regions in India. People thought he was crazy. This was the poorest region of India! No one could afford tuition! And who would attend a school like this in a militantly Hindu area?
The school began very small, and the journey was hard. Abraham and his family faced persecution from the start, surviving the cut and thrust of the assassin’s knife not once, but twice.
But Abraham pressed on. Little by little, word got out that there was hope for a better future for their children. If they could have an education, they could have opportunity – and that was something no one in this area had.
Parents scraped together anything they could find to pay tuition for their children to go to school. Abraham’s school began to grow. And grow. And grow! It now has multiple campuses and over 3,600 paying students. It employs 160 teachers. The same militant Hindus who tried to take Dr. Abraham’s life now send their children to the school. It is a legitimate business creating jobs, providing education, and boosting the local economy.
Now, Agora is helping Dr. Abraham start a vocational technical trade school and later a Venture VillageTM Business Development Center in conjunction with his school. These new endeavors will provide countless more opportunities for the community to advance.
Change is happening is this previously destitute region of the world. The cycle of poverty and inopportunity is being broken – all while providing education and bringing enterprise to a region that lacked both!
This is the power of social enterprise at work!
The above article by Britney Hamm first published on agoraenterprises.org in Feb, 2016.