Sampark’s Journey: What do Bollywood, Mary Poppins & Butterflies have in common?
In partnership with his wife and mother, Nayar put these radical transformation practices - as well as their wealth and time - into transforming the education levels of rural children in India through the Sampark Foundation. “Money would not solve the problem,” he knew, so began to look to create a total transformation in other ways.
“It became the purpose of our existence,” Nayar said, and began by asking the question: “Where is our inspiration?” Nayer cited Bollywood as a key influence on his work with Sampark. The immersive experiences from movies allowed people in these communities to forget the trials, difficulties and toughness of their lives. “Can I bring Bollywood to that classroom?” Nayer asked himself. Nayer also drew inspiration from Mary Poppins - the songs, the dancing, as well as the relationship “we have with our kids.”
“The problem, of course, was there was no electricity,” so the third inspiration came in the form of Sampark Didi, a LCD and visual device that brings lessons based on children’s stories into the classroom. The foundation also trained staff to use these devices and now, “200,000 teachers [are] our butterflies.” Today, Sampark Foundation has an immense impact in 76 public schools in 6 states of India, touching the lives of 7 million children.
Sampark is inspiring children to become butterflies by overcoming the constraints. “Magic is created by people who make the impossible, possible,” Nayar concluded.
Note: Excerpts from Vineet Nayar’s presentation at SHRM Annual Conference 2019.