Shravya Nalla: Empowering Small-Town Kids to Dream Big

Daring young minds to dream and helping them chase those dreams can be quite a task. NRI Shravya Reddy’s search for contentment brought her back home to change lives. Although life threw many challenges at her, her dream was to make it possible to empower teachers and students in her hometown to transform education.

Born and brought up in a middle-class family in Nizamabad, Shravya grew up as an insecure person but decided to change herself by getting out of town and joining BITS-Pilani, Rajasthan. During that period, she started Project Saksham in an effort to bring economic empowerment to rural women. Though the project failed, it set her on the path to social change. After graduation, Shravya joined Schlumberger as a field engineer and co-founded the Grassroutes Fellowship program aimed at encouraging the youth to become rural entrepreneurs, but the program failed to scale its operations.

22-shravyanallaShravya continued to work for Schlumberger and moved across three continents. She soon realized that she had joy and happiness, but was nowhere close to feeling content despite all the good that was happening in her professional and personal life. She felt that the biggest problem plaguing the Indian education system was that we get done with all the education and then start learning. She also felt that parents tend to ensure that they are picking safe career options for their daughters, limiting their exposure to the world.

A trip to her mother’s school in Nizamabad changed everything. Shravya knew what she wanted to do- use education to change lives. She launched the Presidency High School and Presidency Kids Preschools, to offer an alternative approach to education in Nizamabad and tier-2 regions.

“Everyone has the freedom to dream and make it big. It takes a lot of struggle and a lot of pain for you to sustain to change those dreams into reality. After working in different countries, we wanted to do something meaningful and challenging, to do something which is very close to my heart. I am hoping our dream to change the education system in Nizamabad and tier-2 towns will be a reality someday,” says Shravya.

At present, Shravya is working with the vision to make learning fun and intuitive for both students and teachers. She is also working to embed technology into education through initiatives such as tablet-based education. “Technology has the power to transform the one size fits all approach of instruction into a more bespoke learning experience. Complex and abstract concepts can be explained better with simulations. We are using app-based learning to teach kids spelling, vocabulary, and algebra,” she says.

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