By Pia Brar
Pushpa Mauria has been working with Pratham since 2004. She is from the Jaunpur District in the Varanasi Division of Uttar Pradesh, where she first experienced Pratham’s influence on a community. Mauria explained that she heard of the organization from the eleven people of her village that were already involved with Pratham. The work they were doing interested her, but she did not yet feel the drive to become involved herself.
“Initially I did not see the point of teaching with no salary, and so I stayed home,” she said. “But after
talking to some people I understood how significantly volunteering my time could help children’s learning.”
Mauria began her work with Pratham by gathering a group of twenty-five students from her village and surrounding areas with the aim to improve their reading levels. Mauria worked with these children for a month and fifteen days and was able to bring fifteen out of the twenty-five children up to the “Reader Level”,
enabling them to read full paragraphs with fluidity and understanding.
Because of her dedication to her work, Mauria has had the opportunity to work in and travel to
multiple districts in Uttar Pradesh over the years.
“Though I may receive a small pay check, I value working at Pratham” she said. “I have been able to
travel to various places for work and training, which I would not have had the chance to do otherwise, and
I’ve had the opportunity to meet many important people, especially government officials.
I got to speak with them... and they would listen.”
Mauria is now currently working in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, where she has been promoted as the leader
of Block Resource Group of the area and oversees the training for and the evaluation of projects in Dadri. However, she is known for her ability to mobilize a community.
“I go into the villages and speak to the parents. We hold meetings where we use the Read India
testing tool to show the parents which learning level their children are at compared to where they
should be. By doing this we demonstrate how effectively Pratham can help,” she said.
Upon reflection of the near decade Mauria has spent with Pratham, she states, “I can now lead meeting
and to speak to large audiences, I have the courage to teach in a classroom. My work has expanded
my frame of mind and helped me understand larger issues faced by a society.”