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INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Act I Scene I

USP: Lucknow (India)

The Prerna School


  • Gomtinagar neighbourhood of the Uttar Pradesh state capital city, Lucknow.
  • Gomtinagar is a neighbourhood like many in Indian cities, where affluent residential homes are situated alongside very poor slums.
  • UP is the most populous state of India with a population of more than 199 million, and a sex ratio of 908 women to 1000 men.
  • Lucknow has a population of 2.81 million people.

Student Demographics:

  • all-girl pre- school to 12th grade
  • The majority of students come from the slums of Gomtinagar, some traveling from other more distant slums.

What's Unique:

  • Prerna operates in a second shift in the afternoon, after the Studyhall day is over
  • Prerna classes are held from 1:30pm until 5:30pm in the summer, and 2:00pm until 6:00pm in the winter.

Studyhall Educational Foundation (SHEF)

  • private foundation that opened Prerna in 2003
  • SHEF began its work in 1986, with the goal of providing quality education to all children in India.
  • Based out of Uttar Pradesh (one of the largest and most underdeveloped states in India), SHEF is reaching out to over 300 teachers, 6,000 children and 14,000 student teachers through its schools and other programs.
  • Studyhall, also established by SHEF, is a fairly large, well-equipped and well-furnished building of a private fee-paying school for middle-class children.


Audio documentary of work 

at the Prerna school.


Short films documenting the superb work that came out of the Prerna School

Students at Prerna Girls School are engaged in social activism. They have formed a group called Veerangana, which roughly translates as ‘Girls of Courage and Change’ in English.

The group goes into the community villages and slums and leads critical dialogues on child marriage and domestic violence, and other issues they live every day. They also engage in street theatre at rallies they organize in neighbouring villages

Darwaze performed by Prena Girls School, Lucknow, India. A two act performance by Prerna girls:

The first act is based on a true story of a girl name Khushboo Rawat, a student at Prerna. It shows Khushboo’s (played by Sunita) struggle for education.

The second act is enactment of a collective poem written by Sunita, Laxmi, Soni and Kunti. It builds from the metaphor of "doors" in our lives, doors as thresholds, or doors that close on us, keep us out, an idea they adapted from a production of "Doors" created and performed by students at Middleview School in Toronto.

Prerna Street play at Guari Gaon.


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