Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rohini Nilekani : Pratham Books

Yeah! It is Rohini Nilekani, a philanthropist, founded Pratham Books, a nonprofit publisher that uses innovative ways to put low-cost books in the hands of millions of kids.

My mission is to put a book in every child's hand, says Rohini Nilekani. That's an ambitious goal anywhere, but especially in India, where there are more than 30 crore children, most of whom can't afford books, or even read. Nilekani is founder-chairperson of Pratham Books, a nonprofit publishing house that uses innovative ways to tap India's vast market.

"The children we reach are first-generation readers," she says. "Their parents probably don't know how to read. They may never have bought a book in their lives." Set up in 2004, Pratham Books is an offshoot of Pratham, one of India's largest nonprofit groups, which supports education across India. Eight years later, Pratham has published more than 1 crore books with 225 titles in 11 languages. Most of the books are priced at less than 25 rupees.

Pratham Books is able to price its books so low partly because it's a nonprofit, subsidized by captial from Nilekani is unapologetic about this and says that while financial sustainability is a goal, Pratham Books's first priority is social impact. But Pratham Books also keeps its costs low through continuous innovation.

One of its biggest recent successes has been story cards, sheets of laminated paper folded to make a story and priced at only 2.5 rupees. Children who can't afford books can share and trade these easy-to-read, easy-to-store cards. One crore have been sold already.

Pratham Books is also trying out "sachet" books in retail stores across India - tiny, cheap books targeted at poor rural customers." We are constantly trying out new things," Nilekani says. "Some work, some fail, but because we don't have to worry about the financial bottom line, we can take risks."

Rohini Nilekani has spent about Rs. 215 crore for philanthropy activities since 2005.

Rohini Nilekani Sells Infosys Shares, Raises $27 Million For Charity.

Rohini Nilekani pours her wealth into getting books to India's poorest children

Salute to Rohini mam... 


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