Mehron Abdi is a junior from Washington who plays varsity soccer for Claremont colleges and is pursuing a degree in Science and Management. Mehron spent this last summer on a Strong Gault internship with the New York branch of Pratham.
Pratham was the 2012 recipient of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership and is the largest educational movement in India, dedicated to improving children’s access to quality schooling throughout the country. Mehron explains that the Pratham’s New York office “does a lot of behind-the-scenes work that provides employees of Pratham India with the resources to educate the children in the various villages they visit.”
This summer, Mehron was involved in launching Pratham’s Readathon campaign and driving student engagement among middle and high schoolers across the United States. The Readathon is a crowdfunding campaign that encourages students throughout the US to seek sponsorship for every book they read. Readathon participants sign up online, then read their books and collect their donations, knowing that for every book they read, they are simultaneously contributing to improved literacy programs in India.
The tagline for the Readathon program is that “just $25 helps educate a child in India through Pratham programs for an entire year.” To put this into perspective for the American students participating in the Readathon Campaign, Pratham USA asked these students to write short statements explaining what they have bought in the past for $25. According to Mehron, “The message of this challenge was to show how you can use that same $25 that bought you a basketball to instead fund a child’s education in India for a year.” Echoing Mehron’s sentiment, Shruti N., one of the Readathon Mentors concluded, “it doesn’t take a lot to make a huge change in someone’s life.”
Beyond the Readathon, Mehron wore several other hats at Pratham. As Mehron explains, “in the first week, my job duties included organizing information in excel spreadsheets, researching other campaign events, designing pledge cards using Adobe Photoshop and gaining a more thorough understanding about everything Pratham does.” With a variety of tasks, Mehron stayed busy with everything from data processing to creative design.
By the end of the summer, Mehron had adjusted quite seamlessly to living in the Big Apple while working alongside the Pratham team. As he says, over the past several months, “I feel that I have contributed a lot towards the organization.”
Visit Pratham’s website for more information about their Readathon (http://www.prathamusa.org/get-involved/readathon); students are still encouraged to join the campaign through September 30th.