The 300 Million Challenge

The 300 Million Challenge is a coming together of citizens and citizen organizations to help students exercise their power to be change agents, to be Reader-Leaders

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 23, 2020 4:13 PM

According to a UNESCO report of September 2016, “India will be half a century late in achieving its universal education goals… we will achieve universal primary education only by 2050. Education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality. Education is equally key to enhance India’s competitiveness in the global economy. Therefore, ensuring access to quality education for all, in particular for the poor and rural population, is central to the economic and social development of India.


India has 300 million children in school — 200 million in primary education and 100 million in secondary school. Nearly 50% of them cannot read at grade level. This seriously affects their ability to stay in school and become contributing members of society.

We’re on a mission to change that – JOIN US IN THIS MISSION.

The problem is so big that India cannot achieve her potential if every child is not reading at grade level. Reading has to become everyone's business — every child’s business.

The 300 Million Challenge is a coming together of citizens and citizen organizations to help students exercise their power to be change agents, to be Reader-Leaders. By some divine arithmetic, one out of two children cannot read. So what could be more fun and easier to do than have each child teach a child.

The challenge hopes schools will find the proposition of making India a great country by the 2030s, where every child can read and we can be the pride of the world, an alluring prospect.

The project’s umbrella name is 300M.ILR. ILR stands for I Love Reading. This initiative has brought in lakhs of students into reading – in government and private schools. It is a fun way of learning to read fluently. For fun and meaning. With content and a unique Story Pedagogy, ideated and developed by Geeta Dharmarajan.


Registered schools will be offered the Katha brand name to run the Katha Reader Leader Club in their school, for their students.

Each KRL Club will be offered --

1. A set of Katha books (in English or Hindi) to start off their library. [Only for100 early bird registrants]

2. A fabulous website,, with missions to accomplish, challenges to be met, badges to be won. Challenging learning space for children in primary and middle school.

3. A special page for your school on the website where you can record your achievements and highlights under the Katha banner.

4. The famous Katha Writers Workshops will be offered online. This search for excellence leads to the reputed Katha National Writers Workshop and Katha Utsav (conditions apply).

5. Contests on our website. With names of winners being spotlighted on the website and on our very active social media pages.

6. Training. Online webinars for teachers, mentors, and children.

7. A free children’s dictionary to which children can add their own words.
And thus increase their vocabulary.

8. All registered schools are eligible for a surprise invite to the National Katha Utsav (5 children maximum).


Members will be called Rookies till they earn their first badges. The badges are in seven levels – VIBGYOR – with a WHITE BIRD badge that is the acme of achievement.

Student members will run their school pages on their own. They will have I Love Reading league matches and championships. (Guidelines provided. Training can be requested.)


We recommend a selection of simple activities the school can choose from –
one or all:


Each school can work with another neighbourhood school to help students in classes 1-5 read well and for fun. (Guidelines and training will be provided by Katha). Or work within the school or home with diffident readers.


a. A book-rich environment creates sustained, fluent readers. It would be great if you can share your library and if your teachers can share and peer-lead activities for children in your partner government/corporation school/slum community.

b. Or make a community library (see guidelines)

3. OR … Use your imagination! There are tons of ways to help buddies read as well as you. And you can make it fun!


Katha National Writing Workshops (KNWW) have over the last 7-8 years, helped young Indians give themselves a voice. Students’ writing skills have been honed by exciting guest faculty to be their own historians, with a viewpoint and a worldview.

We believe the time has come when the young wordsmiths who have been trained in Katha over the last many years, can conduct their own
writing workshops in schools for the less privileged. Such GFs will be handpicked by their mentors. They will work under the guidance of our creative mentors to offer Writing Workshops in any language as a school to school activity.


School provides internal assessment, conducted by the project supervisor. Progress monitoring and the duration and intensity of this learning experience are decided by the school.

300M Reader-Leaders will be recognised by KATHA based on guidelines and criteria to be laid down by KATHA. They will be recognised on the Katha website and issued Reader-Leader Certificate. The most committed among them will be publicly applauded at the prestigious at the Katha Utsav, 2020.

Reader-Leaders may also be provided with the opportunities for Internship and publishing opportunities with KATHA.


• Katha Club membership is open to all schools in India and abroad.

• Member schools will pledge to work with a government/corporation/low-cost school in their neighbourhood. Or children from a neighbourhood slum/under-served community.

• Individuals and children living in colonies in India are also welcome to register. (Please write to us for guidelines.)


As an organization, Katha has always had a bold and singular vision that children can own their futures and be Reader-Leaders, with the right equal quality education. With this vision in mind, we started the Katha Clubs in schools in 2017.

The Katha Club activities are voluntary, planned tasks whose outcomes contribute towards the school or the community as Work Education/SUPW activities.

Work will be hands-on and undertaken under the guidance of the PTA or a group of adults chosen by the school. Anyone can join the club to support the young leaders — PTA members, retired teachers and principals, leading lights of society.

Reader-leaders will help students plan and self-manage their project to achieve THE KATHA CLUB STANDARDS LEARN MEANINGFULLY

The Katha Leaders Club supports active and participatory learning where teaching becomes an important step. Service-learning helps students to engage in meaningful and personally relevant activities. This is the main goal of the Katha Reader-Leader Club in partner Schools.

1. Curious, creative critical thinkers — learning precious 21st century skills.

2. They will be confident, competent and committed individuals who are committed to the values of social change and breaking stereotypes.

3. They will be good team players — cooperative, compassionate. True citizens!

4. They will be responsible, responsive citizens who strive to bring about social, personal, cultural and environmental sustainability — imaginatively!


Faiz gave the strident call for BOL! Speak up! Balzac famously said that those who have the voice, have the power. So, when students work on storytelling, writing and reading with other young people on the other side of the economic/social divide, they find their own voice. The power of being a "good human being." And, the added bonus, teaching helps them be better learners!


Katha Leaders Clubs start with participants in the Katha Writers Workshops that use Story Pedagogy to help them Think, Ask questions, Discuss and Act – to arrive at their own special moment of discovery — TaDaa! Sharing these practices with others who are first-generation school-goers, gives students a purpose and a fun way of sharing their learning with others.

India is proudly heterogeneous. This means each one of us must protect the linguistic and natural diversity we see — or don’t see:) What better way than by writing and reading various genres and forms of literature; by helping children find their own voices. Katha Fellows learn to create and participate in a kinder, equitable world.

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