Jul 30, 2018

Alumna’s Start Up Helps Indian Women Support Their Child’s Development

From Fast Forward

Dost: Helping the 150M Low Literacy Women in India Support Their Child’s Early Development

The familiar Skype ringtone sounded, and Sneha Sheth and Sindhuja Jeyabal found themselves face to face. Between them lay a screen and 8,834 miles. They’d never spoken before, but a friend of a friend at Berkeley had recently introduced them due to their unique shared passion for education in India. “You both talk about education a lot,” he said, “you guys should meet.”

What started as an informal chat between two women who could not have been more different on paper quickly became an intense discussion about the power of education. Having seen inequity across the globe, the two were motivated to change how women could access high quality education...

Sindhuja’s grandparents worked as weavers in a village in south India, earning less than $1 a day. It was hard work for little pay, and with seven children Sindhuja’s grandmother constantly stressed the importance of education. She knew if her children didn’t receive a good education, they would likely end up in her shoes. Her determination paid off, and Sindhuja’s father went on to attend university and become the chairman of a bank. While Sindhuja’s family lived a financially-secure life in India, she always knew that her father’s success was unique. She recalls, “seeing before my eyes what education could do.”

Sindhuja decided to pursue computer science. After graduating, she landed in edtech building tools for educators in corporations and well-off universities. Sindhuja eventually realized this wasn’t the kind of impact she wanted to make. Rather, she wanted to build tools for motivated individuals like her grandma who had little access to educational resources. Sindhuja enrolled in UC Berkeley [School of Information] and quickly got involved with social impact organizations. She knew there was more out there than building fast moving tech.

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Sindhuja Jeyabal is a MIMS 2016 alumna, and cofounder of Dost.

Sindhuja Jeyabal
Sindhuja Jeyabal | Photo credit: Dost
Indian mother with children
Photo credit: Dost

Last updated:

August 15, 2018