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The Tara Akshar Hindi Literacy Program

The Cure for Hindi Illiteracy

This lady is reading out a poem that she has written at a graduation ceremony. 6 weeks earlier, she had been completely illiterate.

TARA Akshar is a program which teaches illiterate people how to read and write. It uses new technologies for learning, including advanced memory techniques. It works on children and on adults. It works in cities and in rural areas. It uses computer software and an instructor, as well as special playing cards and writing books. The instructor does not have to be a trained teacher, but does have to do our authorised training course. It is run in a room with the instructor and the students; it is not an online self-taught class. TARA Akshar has been deployed successfully in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, NCR and Madhya Pradesh for 15 years.

Our combined drop-out rates and failure rates are extraordinarily low – less than 10% of ALL starters fail to graduate. To pass the program, students have to pass a written comprehension test, and the tests are monitored by our head office adjudicators, not locally.

The program has been adjudged as “Best Practice” by the Indian Government. The program has been funded by the governments of the UK (DfID), Canada and Switzerland (, as well as India (HRD Ministry and the state government of Madhya Pradesh). The program has been funded by international agencies including Oxfam and IKEA Foundation.

Over 238,000 women have already graduated the course. Their ages range from 8 to 80. Most of them have never been to school.

There is lots more information about the program on the following links. (They will open in a new browser tab/window.)

Other languages

TARA Akshar is currently available for people whose native language is Hindi. We also have a suite of English literacy programs for native English speakers called AlphabetWise, PhonicsWise and ComprehensionWise.

To learn lots more about TARA Akshar, please go to NOTE: The website will open in a new browser tab, which you will need to click.

Interesting stuff to read - click to download

Independent research project on TARA Akshar by Delhi School of Economics and Universities of Ottawa and Tokyo

Testimonial for Tara Akshar from IKEA Foundation

Tara Akshar Stories of Change booklet