Nonprofit Bridging Horizons Improves the Indian Education System

Bridging+Horizons+is+a+student-run+non-profit+focused+on+education+inequality+in+developing+countries+like+India.+Organizers+chose+to+focus+on+India+because+of+their+personal+and+familial+connections.+The+group+first+reaches+out+to+schools+in+target+countries+and+teachers+in+the+United+States+to+bridge+the+gap+in+communication.+They+set+up+digital+meetings+and+start+a+dialogue+about+ways+to+improve+schooling+between+the+different+education+systems.

Nate Taylor

Bridging Horizons is a student-run non-profit focused on education inequality in developing countries like India. Organizers chose to focus on India because of their personal and familial connections. The group first reaches out to schools in target countries and teachers in the United States to bridge the gap in communication. They set up digital meetings and start a dialogue about ways to improve schooling between the different education systems.

Nate Taylor, Centerspread and Photo Editor

In early spring, four juniors came together to organize a nonprofit aimed at providing equitable education in developing countries, specifically India.

 Today, with a growing team of over 30 members from across the world, the motivations behind Bridging Horizons can be found in the personal roots and values of its co-founders: logistics director Akanksh Divyananda, project director Diya Jain and Shailee Sankhala and director of development Saachi Raju, all juniors. 

We heard similar things across all of our parents, and it was that they were taught for a specific board exam, and they were never really taught based on project-based learning. For example, in schools here we are taught through discussions and Socratics and interactive things that allow you to collaborate.”

— Saachi Raju

“We heard similar things across all of our parents, and it was that they were taught for a specific board exam, and they were never really taught based on project-based learning. For example, in schools here we are taught through discussions and Socratics and interactive things that allow you to collaborate,” Raju said. “That’s why we came up with the idea while finding a common theme with all of our parents and people that we interviewed in India.”

Each founding member of the group has familial connections in India with vested interest in helping the communities improve. Members are trying to take their privileges provided by their families to help less fortunate students.

“I feel like it’s an amazing opportunity to kind of learn more about leadership,” Sankhala said. “To learn more about how to gain connections and how to talk to people that you don’t really know. I think it builds really good life skills that you could use outside of school.”

The team is currently implementing projects to combat the issues they feel are most prominent in the Indian schools, like reassessing the rote learning system. Rote learning: learning through memorization of information by repetitive exposure. 

By digitally, connecting teachers in the United States with teachers in India, the Bridging Horizons team helped create new lines of communication and introduce unique perspectives that otherwise would not have come to fruition. 

Tiana Kallenberger Tustin sixth grade Legacy Magnet Academy teacher and supporter of the organization, was one of the first to connect with other teachers overseas. 

“We had a meeting where [Kallenberger] was talking to one of our Indian principals to try to show them why we should implement our project at their school,” Sankhala said. “She talked about how important it was, especially with her small kids and stuff that she teaches, how important it is for them to learn how the teachers are supposed to act as their guides and not like [students’] dictators.” 

The group is in the beginning stages of its next project to address another critical social issue for India: the empowerment of girls through education. Recently, the group reached out to several schools in India and plan to have more concrete proposals as the year continues.