FEA’s five ingredient recipe for helping disadvantaged youth

The Problem

The quality of education available to youth from low income backgrounds in India is woeful and vast numbers of them, including college graduates are unemployable in professional positions. Many will end up being under-employed for their working lives. Few break the cycle of poverty.

Theory of change

FEA has developed a curriculum specific to the circumstances of low income youth in India. This instills five key skills, that the target population does not acquire from the formal education system:
1) Non-cognitive, personality development and life skills. These include self-confidence, drive, discipline perseverance, a growth mindset, critical thinking skills, communication and collaboration skills, ethics, resilience, adaptability, self-esteem, self-reliance, conscientiousness and a sense of community, etc.
2) English language skills, to a level that makes one effective in the workplace. Taught using a method of debate and discovery.
3) MOOCs, in a classroom setting to begin with, to have the tools to become a lifelong learner.
4) Mentorship by a successful and mature adult who can be a role model and introduce other role models.
5) Career guidance.

Program detail

Students come in to FEA classrooms for 100 minutes a day, six days a week for one year. FEA is a donor funded charity and its program is always FREE of cost for all students at all locations.


The impact of FEA’s program is visible and dramatic. If one interacts with newly enrolled students and compares them with ones that are ready to graduate, the difference in their mindset, personality, self-confidence and skills is readily apparent.
Stanford University is conducting a randomized control trial to measure the impact of the FEA program on the incomes of young workers by comparing the income of FEA graduates with the income of students from the same neighborhood who wanted to enroll but were unable to. MIT has funded researchers to evaluate at FEA methods of making the learning process sticky for disadvantaged youth.