Mini-Schools for Educating Underprivileged Kids during COVID

The Problem

Due to the COVID pandemic, public schools in many parts of India have been shut down. Unfortunately, a majority of Indian public school children cannot afford laptops or smartphones. Online learning is therefore not an option for them during the COVID pandemic. It has led to a large percentage of children from low-income families putting their education on hold.

The Impact

Reports indicate 30% of children from low-income families will never return to school since they enter the labor force or have underage marriages. Asha for Education has seen this trend first hand. This is real!

Asha for Education's Solution

To address this problem, Asha for Education has organized 65 mini-schools in the state of Tamil Nadu. Small groups of children attend mini-school in a teacher’s home, open-air terraces, libraries, and other public places. Over 2000 children attend these 65 mini-schools running in more than 100 batches. These mini-schools have become very popular for a few reasons:


Children wear masks, follow social distancing practices, and wash their hands frequently.

Quality Education

Asha has developed a well-rounded curriculum including art, crafts, outdoor games, and computer games, in addition to regular subjects such as Math, Science, English, and Tamil. Asha Kanini, a homegrown software that includes some of the world's best online and downloadable content is used effectively by well-trained Asha teachers.

Dedicated Teachers

Asha Chennai has employed about 80 teachers in remote rural villages to run our regular program supporting about 100 public schools. With these public schools being closed, we are leveraging them for our mini-school program. These teachers have BE/BSc/BEd/MCA/MEd degrees, have an average teaching experience of 5 years, are well trained, are passionate about helping underprivileged children and have shown tremendous commitment - they often use their homes to run the mini-schools. Your funding for this program allows us to keep these amazing, well-trained teachers employed during the pandemic.

Nimble, dedicated, high quality team

The team in Asha Chennai running the mini-schools is nimble and gets things done. As soon as COVID hit, this team innovatively organized some of the first structured mini-school programs in India and scaled it to 60+ locations.

Geographies Covered


See this feature coverage of Asha's mini school program by The Hindu, one of India’s prominent newspapers. Asha for Education has got 4 stars on Charity Navigator - the highest rating possible. Asha also won the Social Impact Award from the Times of India for 2015.

Asha's Financial Need

With COVID hitting, many of our corporate sponsors saw challenging business conditions and could not afford to continue their support. We hope to raise money to continue running the 65 mini-schools. The cost of a mini-school batch per month is $85, so the money you donate will have a big impact. You can donate to our mini-schools and get tax exemption in India as well as US. Click here to donate and mention mini-schools in the comment.

Organisation of the Mini-Schools

Asha runs 65 mini-schools spread across Tamilnadu and we are still expanding the program to include more children. We limit the number of children to about 15 per batch, so in villages that have a higher demand we conduct more than one batches. Sometimes the same teacher runs multiple batches, say one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Other times we allocate multiple teachers to the same mini-school where they split the children by classes and run multiple batches at the same time. In total Asha runs more than 120 batches of these mini-schools. With more free travel, some of our teachers also go to nearby villages to include students that don't have the opportunity for learning during Covid.