Portfolio Partner Profile
Thirumeni Finance Private Limited (Varthana)
Varthana provides loans to affordable private schools in India. By focusing exclusively on this one sector, Varthana has gained a deep understanding of the challenges that these schools face, as well as the solutions that have been proven to work. More than 400 million student-aged children live in India, but only 260 million are currently enrolled in school. Even for those students who are enrolled, many attend under-funded and under-staffed public schools run by the government because they can't afford tuition for private schools. For years, entrepreneurs have been working to establish private schools that provide excellent instruction, but that are still accessible to low-income families. Currently, there are 200,000 affordable private schools in India, and they serve about 80 million students. Varthana works together with these organizations, ensuring that they have the capital to continue to expand and provide the best possible education for India's youth.
Featured Impact Story
Determined school leaders
A school leader and her husband established a school on rented premises with just a few hundred students, but they soon ran into space constraints. Using their first loan from Varthana, the husband-and-wife duo purchased a residential house to expand their school. Experiencing an increase in enrollments, the school continued to grow. This growth created the need for even more space and facilities to give the children an exceptional education. Six years later, the school expanded to three school campuses in Bengaluru with a 200-student increase each year. With a further two loans from Varthana, they purchased a parcel of land nearby and are currently in the construction-phase of a four-story school building. With their current infrastructure, they educate 1,200 students in the main school and 600 students in the other two campuses. Over the years they have incorporated basic computer education into the curriculum and are preparing for more integration of technology. The school has added extracurricular activities to highlight the importance of culture, discipline and moral lessons into their educational experience. These determined school leaders envision the children who graduate playing a valuable role in society. It is the reason they work laboriously to ensure their learning experience is exceptional. “If young students carry forward these lessons into adulthood,” the school leader shares, “each child can achieve what the school set out to accomplish: create a society of people who learn together, work together and live amongst one another.”
A life-changing school
Mrs. Padma (name changed) is different from most women in her community. She was a college graduate, had been a teacher all her life and wanted to support her family by starting a school. But it wasn’t easy. She was discouraged from doing so by people in her family and community. In a neighborhood of Bengaluru, she noticed the extreme poverty that families experienced. After one year of struggling to find the right premises, she opened her school with six students in one small room in Bengaluru. Soon, her student count grew to 22. One of her primary challenges was getting access to finances to rent or purchase a building to accommodate the school. Her partnership with Varthana allowed her to continue construction on an adjacent building where she was preparing to hold high school classes for the older children. This life-changing school now has three branches with over 500 students combined. Most of the enrolled students were formerly on the streets or working in small establishments. They now wear uniforms, sit in classes to learn and take part in creative activities in nursery, primary or high school – ready to achieve their dreams.
Dedicated school leaders
This English-medium school has one goal: to be the number one school in its taluk. This is not a recent dream. It goes back to the early nineteen-eighties when the school leaders gathered their earnings from the provisions store and the Xerox shop that they owned and decided to start a school. “We wanted to do something for the community”, shared the school owners. Five years down the line and the duo were soon faced with a problem. The rented premises the school was held on was due to be sold by its landlord. After struggling for funds, they were finally able to purchase the property, where the expanded new-and-improved school now educates 350 students. A loan from Varthana has enabled the school leaders to purchase a parcel of land next to the school too, which is used for activities, events and play time. For the many children who live far from the school, they purchased a van and a bus to transport the children and they expanded their academic services. One by one, these dedicated school leaders are achieving their dream of serving people in their community by providing education at a very low tuition fee. The expanded school has now been handed over to the school leaders’ daughter. A vibrant and energetic young woman, her vision for the school and its students is to continue its goal of strengthening the community by equipping the next generation with a quality education to shape their futures.