It’s not easy being a kid in a slum in Mumbai. Life is tough. Your parents work day and night but can barely both make ends meet. And on the other hand, the goons and slum lords seem to have all the time, money and respect. Kids, being impressionable, look up to these criminals as role models. And most of them drop out of school. Even the parents are so busy fighting for survival in the city of dreams that they never get the time to stop and think of their child’s education.
At an agency brain storm session, Lodestar UM hit upon a very unique, never done before idea!
It thought an idea around street names and created an impressionable event for lasting impact.
Slums in India have a maze of narrow, crisscrossing streets. And none of them have names! The agency decided to name these streets, in a very inspiring and motivating way. The streets were named after the kids who were toppers at the local school, making them heroes and role models.
And it made this really Big by organising a street naming event around this. It put together huge inauguration ceremonies with special guests, local celebrities, parents and children attending. The local MLA, the school teachers, the government officials of the education department, all attended to felicitate and make the child the hero. This had a lasting impact, everyone wanted their child to get there.
Imagine having a street named after you when you are only 12 years old! Especially when you know that in India only famous, learned people like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Doctor Radhakrishnan, Sardar Vallabhai Patel etc. have streets named after them.
This event was planned over several days in three different slums across Mumbai. The ground work started much earlier. The teachers of Door Step School sat together and identified the best academic performers in school. Another team identified the streets that would be named. Metal road signs were commissioned. Permissions were sought from community leaders. The date was fixed and the entire slum community was given advance invitations taking over several months.
The streets were decorated. Elevated stages were built for the chief guests to address the audience. And influential people like a famous TV star, a member of the legislative assembly and a senior member of the women and children ministry arrived to congratulate the kids and inaugurate the streets. To loud cheers the roads were ‘named’, refreshments were served, speeches were made and kids were inspired to stay in school and excel.
This campaign was launched despite the following implementation challenges:
- Creating a big event around a slum street naming, was never done before
- Identifying the streets that would be named.
- Engaging and seeking participation of community leaders and local municipal authorities.
This was not a glam Bollywood event, it was a real event for social change. Overnight, education became a top-of-mind subject in these slums!
The schools got a record 1,213 new enrolments, a 38% increase.
By doing so it not only motivated the kids to do even better, but also had set examples for other kids and parents for them to join school, study hard and build a future for themselves. It had created positive role models overnight!
Kids being kids, almost 100% of the kids at Doorstep school told their teachers that they too wanted a road named after them. Their attention has been shifted back to education.
The slum community leaders have put together a team of men to protect the signs from being defaced or stolen because they believe that they will bring about a positive change in the slum.
Parents are coming forward to ‘nominate’ their children for future road signs!
The idea is going viral. A slum rehabilitation project nearby has borrowed the idea and is executing it completely on their own.
What makes the innovation differentiated and unique?
This event innovation had impacted society and brought about social change…
The event had a lasting impact…
Education and its importance got ingrained in the minds of slum dwellers.
The streets named after role model kids, became permanent reminders and everyday motivators. It led to 38% increase in school admissions.
1. Business Metrics – 38% increase in school admissions
2. Campaign Metrics – Overnight, education became a top-of-mind subject in the slums
3. Budget - Less than $1m.