Interview with Mrs. Alice Dennis, Founder of Val-hue School | Client of MicroVest portfolio company, Varthana
Please tell us about yourself. What inspired you to open your own school?
My name is Alice Dennis and I am the founder of Val-hue School in Keshavnagar, Pune. I spent my entire life as a teacher, working hard to improve education and the lives of my students. One day, I realized I could use this knowledge to help underprivileged children in my community, so I founded my own school in 2002. The majority of families in the area come from low-income backgrounds and cannot always afford to pay their children’s tuition fees or school supplies. I thought I could provide them with a good education by charging less fees. This is how my lifelong dream became a reality.
Tell us about your Partnership with Varthana.
When I started my school, we only had seven students. Today, we have more than 1,000 students from nursery to 10th grade. When I was facing financial challenges and lacked the proper infrastructure to shelter the growing number of students, I turned to Varthana for support. Thanks to Varthana’s loan, I was able to construct a new school building and purchase school buses, which led to a significant increase in the number of students enrolled. Our students have also benefitted from Varthana’s educational support. When students need study materials, Varthana’s Education Specialists will visit the school with new assessments and implement activity-based learning.
How has COVID-19 impacted your school?
The children have been cooped up at home for the past two years. They, as well as our teachers, needed extra support. When the children returned to school, we noticed that students made little or no progress while learning from home. We also noticed some behavioral changes. The teachers and I dedicated extra time to the children who were falling behind in their grades. We picked up activity-based teaching and launched afterschool programs. We are also giving them supplemental assignments that they can tackle in school or at home. I am a big proponent of flexible learning methods and believe that students should not be forced to learn, they should be encouraged.
The client of our portfolio company profiled here is for educational purposes only and may not represent all of the portfolio holdings. It should not be assumed that investments in the company identified and discussed were or will be profitable. The companies profiled were selected based on their financial inclusion and impact with no reference to amount of profits or losses, realized or unrealized.