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Leading the forefront of education in India

Telstra Business Women's Awards

Posted on October 17, 2017

3 min read

Last week we announced the seven finalists of this year’s Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award category. In the coming weeks, we will share inspiring stories of some of these outstanding women from India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. Today, meet Geeta Dharmarajan, Founder and President of Katha from India.

As a passionate writer and storyteller, educationist, reading advocate and community focused leader, Geeta Dharmarajan has combined these traits to create her not-for-profit organisation, Katha, which has been at the forefront of publishing and education in India for three decades. Through the years, Geeta has been bringing together India’s 2,000-year-old storytelling, theatre, dance and music traditions into her StoryPedagogy, a sustainable education model that spans the literacy to literature continuum, seeing translations as a non-divisive tool in nation building.

Family has been a big inspiration for Geeta. Her grandmother, an Indian social activist, and her father, a family doctor, highlighted the importance of empathy and equity, from an early age. Knowing that children living in poverty are not given the opportunity to learn, Geeta started the Katha Lab School in 1990, to give all children the opportunity to bring themselves out of poverty and live a better life. From mainstreaming quality into ageold government systems, to starting bold, innovative reading initiatives that impact thousands of schoolchildren, to cutting edge teacher training, Geeta is making a positive impact on poverty reduction through quality education.

Katha’s education model focuses on learning for meaning. Geeta is fostering in children a reader-leadership to create a kinder, more nurturing world. Katha’s children’s books open the world of Indian culture and diversity amongst people, helping to create a more open and inclusive society. From caring for the earth and nature, and gender issues, Katha’s focus is on equality for everyone.

As the world is rapidly digitising, technology has played an important role in Geeta’s plan to bring 300 million children in India to help bring equity in education. From this, the Katha digital lab – the organisation’s cell that creates ekits, apps, website service and online education resource – was born. Through the power of technology, DigitalKatha removes physical barriers, enabling children across the country to have access to books and learning. Enhancing the use of technology is also key to the organisation’s work with teachers and poor communities, facilitating the training of government school teachers as cloud specialists, enabling them to lead their own learning clusters of teachers.

The impact of Katha and Geeta’s constant ambition to educate children has had significant impact in India. Not only has she empowered children in government schools, in over 1000 poor communities training 350,000 women, but also 17,000 teachers in primary education. Her work has helped over 1.3 million children to date to become upwardly mobile, who otherwise would not have had access to an education. Katha books have reached 8 million children and continues to grow!

Geeta is one of seven finalists for this year’s Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award category. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 21 November in Melbourne.

Click here for more information on the Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award or to nominate brilliant business women for the 2018 Awards.

Why the B20 matters: How one conference plans to create millions of new jobs

Telstra News

Posted on July 30, 2014

1 min read

I was recently involved in the B20 conference in Sydney together with 400 other business leaders from all around the globe.

The B20 (Business 20) has a critical role providing a channel for business to generate ideas and advise governments about how we think economic growth can be boosted, workforce participation increased and jobs created. (more…)

10 ways you can be a better leader

Telstra Careers

Posted on June 19, 2014

2 min read

This was originally published on the Telstra Careers Blog – a place to find out what’s happening in the world of work and Telstra.

About a week ago I shared with you my involvement in LinkedIn’s Talent Connect Conference – where I presented on Telstra’s employment brand journey, as well as connecting with my peers in the industry, and exploring best practices in talent attraction and acquisition.

I ended the blog with a quick summary of Peter Baines’ (Founder of Hands Across the Water) lessons on authentic leadership and its impact on achieving results. Peter has played an instrumental role in managing the response to some of the most confronting natural disasters and acts of terrorism. He shared his personal accounts of the Bali bombings and Boxing Day Tsunami in Thailand.

These stories alone would have made for an enlightening and inspirational experience, however Peter also shared some amazing lessons on authentic leadership and its impact on achieving results; lessons I’ve already begun to apply in my work and personal life.

Here are ten of Peter’s lessons that resonated most with me. (more…)

The big questions broadcasters must answer in the next 5 years

Tech and Innovation

Posted on May 26, 2014

3 min read

I attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference for the eighteenth time in April this year. As I walked around the buzzing Las Vegas convention hall, the renewed energy among broadcasters was palpable. I could sense the urgency among large media entities. They came to the show knowing they have a problem to solve and they’ve got to solve it now.

Three big questions formed the underlying themes –  and the broadcasters who can successfully figure them out will be the ones that survive in five years time! (more…)

Why everybody should think they are the Chief Customer Officer

Telstra News

Posted on May 23, 2014

1 min read

It must be one of the business world’s most widely used calls to action – “We must make the customer the centre of everything we do!” The reason it is, of course, is that it is absolutely right. Nothing is more important. But for all the passion and conviction put into creating genuine customer focus it is frustrating when we get it wrong. (more…)