Our colleague, Suman Sachdeva (Technical Director, Education) who has worked with CARE for over five years was selected as a 2015 Research Fellow at The Brookings Institution, Center for Universal Education, Washington DC. This was a part of the esteemed Echidna Global Scholars Program which builds the research and analytical abilities of NGO leaders and academicians from developing countries. Brookings received over 300 applications and selected only 4 scholars at a global level and we are proud that our CARE colleague Suman was one of them.

She has over two decades of experience in prestigious organizations like UNICEF and Butterflies as a practitioner in elementary education in the areas of gender, child development. Her focus lies in out-of-school girls, leadership, and early grade reading in children. She holds a Ph.D. in Education, a dual Master’s (M.Ed. and M.Phil.) in education gender studies/child development.

She found that the current multi-lingual policy in India is insufficient for acquisition of early grade reading skills among tribal girls. Literacy levels of tribal girls is 47% as opposed to the national literacy level of girls which stands at 65%. Average years of schooling of tribal girls is 3 years lesser than non-tribal girls as girls do not have sufficient skills in the dominant language to learn at higher levels. Suman recommends that education should focus on comprehension in pedagogy and not just reading. She believes that local tribal female teachers can play a constructive role in building early grade reading skills in tribal girls.

During her fellowship, she had the honour of meeting with the world dignitaries and peace leaders including the Pope Francis, US President and his wife and Indian Embassy officials in DC, leaders and founders of several organisations of repute working in education and other sectors. She presented a southern voice in various prestigious platforms like UN general advisory at New York, Girls Education Summit by USAID along with other events conducted by CARE USA. This global exposure helped her practice ‘less talk and more action’, make quick and informed decisions with immediate follow ups. We are sure that this experience will help her add value in leading CARE India’s Education vertical.

Rajan Bahadur, Managing Director & CEO, CARE India