Shanti Bhavan is a school in the Tamil Nadu state of southern India that serves children from the Dalit community. These are the some of the poorest children in the country. Systemic inequality has kept many members of this community in extreme poverty. (The Dalits were sometimes referred to as the “untouchables” in India’s now-illegal caste system.)
Shanti Bhavan seeks to break that cycle by offering high quality education and other life skills to its students. And for its successes to that end it has begun to earn a great deal of attention. Last year a documentary on Netflix, called Daughters of Destiny, profiled young girls at the school and offered some insights into Shanti Bhavan’s unique strategy for breaking cycles of poverty.
The school was founded in 1997 by the Indian-American businessman Abraham George. His son, Ajit George, is the director of operations and joins me on the podcast to discuss how his father decided to start the school and how this school fits into a broader theory of change to upend the caste system and extreme poverty it engenders.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn about one unique strategy to end extreme poverty, have a listen.