Transformational Stories – Ep 1: Learning in rural homes in the Corona Times

Mrs. Prabha Raman is a name you may not be familiar with but is a Hero that you must know. This is her story and how she is using digital tools to create a learning transformation in one of the most rural villages of Himachal Pradesh. 

Read on.

It was the summer of 2019. We were hustling in our office when one afternoon I received a phone call. The lady on the line asked me if we work on digital learning for government schools. When I answered in affirmative, she requested if she can take just one learning tablet and use it in her school for teaching her students. 

Perhaps I was preoccupied with something so without going into further details, I simply asked her to share with me classes, board and medium for which she needed the content. And that once I have the information, I will get one tablet ready. But then I forgot. Usually in our business model, so far, we had focused mainly on setting up TABLABs, wherein each lab has at least 20 tablets. In 2019, we were yet to open a segment for individual users. 

After a few days, the lady called again. This time she introduced herself as Mrs. Prabha Raman and insisted to listen to her story. Once she began, I was intrigued to know more. 

For 30 years, while in the city, she taught in many schools like La Montessori,  Happy model, Gagan Bharati etc but once, unfortunately when she lost her husband (an army man) in 2004, she chose to work for the army. It’s been 11 years since then.

But teaching was always her first calling and upon the insistence of her friend, while on a trip to Himachal Pradesh, she fell in love with a school and its students. Since then, ensuring that these students receive the best of education and life skills has become her purpose of life. 

I wasted no time. We got a tablet ready with all the digital content we had and shipped it to her. 

A few days later I received this photo on my Whatsapp:

Mrs Prabha Raman with her students using the tablet to teach her students

It is moments like these which reaffirm your belief in what you are doing. At iDream Education, we have a very simple vision – to be able to facilitate a very easy access to enjoyable digital learning content to every last mile learner in the language that they understand best. 

And android devices like tablets and mobile phones being low in cost and easy to use, they are taking our vision to such places and directly into the hands of the learners. For any other learning tool to reach such a location would have required a lot of effort and investment. But not for our solution which was simply pre-loaded and activated into this tablet for it to be used offline in any kind of condition in this school. Prabha Mam and her students have since then been regularly using their learning tablet to learn better. 

If you think Prabha Mam’s story finishes here, please wait. There is also a Chapter – 2. 

When the Covid Lockdown happened and all our school projects came to a standstill, we expedited the launch of our app and released the iDream Learning App on 29th March, 2020. We have launched it as a free app where school students can access enjoyable videos, read books, make projects, practice and take tests as per their curriculum. 

There are two immediate thoughts behind the app:

  1. In the times of lockdown, while urban children have a number of resources for learning and entertainment, our govt school kids have none. So there is an urgent need for an in-home digital learning supplement for such students
  2. With the penetration of smartphones and internet happening at such a rapid pace in India especially in the rural parts, offering local language content in a very easy to consume format can actually transform the way last mile learning happens. This has an impact even beyond the corona times

So, once the app was launched, our teams started sharing it with their network of teachers, NGOs, our CSR partners and State Government officials. In my own list of people whom I had thought of contacting, I had written Prabha Mam’s name as well. 

But lo and behold, there it was – a message on Whatsapp from Prabha Mam herself congratulating me on the launch of the app. Even before I could reach out to her. We exchanged greetings and I requested her to share the app with all her students and to anyone else in her network whom she thinks would benefit from the usage of the app. 

4 days since then, the app had been downloaded by 150+ government school students of Himachal Pradesh. Once again, where nothing could have reached these students, iDream Learning App is ensuring that they continue their learning, have a lot of fun and do not miss out on their academic cycle. 

The people responsible for this change are inspired teachers like Mrs. Prabha Raman, who even in these times are more concerned about how to continue education for their students. On a phone call a few days ago, she told me how her students are enjoying the animated videos and reading story books sitting in their homes. It gives her and to us an immense sense of satisfaction that without any compromises on the safety and health of our children, we are empowering them with the best of local language learning tools. 

She shared with me a note which I am reproducing below because this will continue to inspire us and to many of you to innovate and keep thinking of best ways to serve our students, our nation. 

Mrs. Prabha Raman’s handwritten note

For the sake of reading, I am writing down what she wrote below:

Myself Prabha Raman was working as an educator in Delhi since 30 years and now I am blessed to teach the rural students in HP for the last 5 years. I always dreamt of giving digital education to these rural children that was easy in delhi. My wish was fulfilled in 2019 when I came in contact with iDream Education and Mr. Rohit with his team was able to provide a tab for the students. It had all that I wanted and being Science as my subject, the tab helped me and my students to perform various experiments with great zeal. We also conducted a presentation of experiments that was highly admired by the parents. 

And now during the period of lockdown, iDream Education started an app free for the students so that they utilise their time wisely. I am trying to make the app reach all the students (faster than Covid-19). It also has a library with value based stories which is my favourite. 

We are humbled and inspired. Thank you to Prabha Mam and to millions of teachers out there whose number one priority even in these times is how to kickstart their classes and ensure that their students do not miss out on their learning. 

To everyone reading, if there are any other thoughts and ideas you would like to share which can support our teachers in their efforts, please write to us in the comments below or email us at share@idreameducation.org. We would love to compile them and take it to as many teachers as possible. 

2 thoughts on “Transformational Stories – Ep 1: Learning in rural homes in the Corona Times

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful life affirming story. It’s truly amazing how one small little app, created hrough a strong vision, passion and dedication, is bringing so much joy and hope to so many people who are locked down and quarantined. It is you, and people like you through your talent skill, inclusivity and generosity, who inspire thousands as we move through this phase of the pandemic and beyond.
    🙏🏽

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