The Akanksha Foundation was started in 1991 with a simple idea -
To deliver a high quality education to each child, no matter his or her background.

Initial years

At the age of 18, when she was in college, Shaheen Mistri realized that there were thousands of children who didn’t have access to quality education. She and a few of her classmates came together to address this issue by volunteering their time teaching these children. Shaheen started the first Akanksha Centre at a classroom donated at the Holy Name High School in Colaba. The Centre started with 15 students and one teacher.

After-school centres

In the next 16 years, Akanksha set up 60 after-school centres in under-utilized spaces, each staffed with professional teachers, volunteers, and social workers at the service of more than 3,000 underprivileged children.

The School Project

Recognizing the need to work with government schools to achieve impact at greater scale, Akanksha began the School Project in 2007 in collaboration with the Municipal Corporations of Mumbai and Pune. The project aims to create a scalable school model within the government system that drives wider systemic reform in education. Today, Akanksha’s network has grown to 21 schools in Mumbai and Pune.

Since 1991, Akanksha has grown from an organisation of student volunteers to a professional institution with over 700 staff, teachers and volunteers with a mission to provide educational opportunities to less privileged children.

Our 30 Year Journey


Shaheen Mistri starts the first Akanksha center with 15 children at Holy Name School in Colaba, Mumbai


Art for Akanksha is launched to empower children with a strong creative education and provide art-related career opportunities to Akanksha alumni


Akanksha begins operations in Pune in collaboration with Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation


Akanksha conducts its first school interventions in government schools in Mumbai and Pune


The School Project adopts its first municipal school with Thermax Foundation


Akanksha and Teach to Lead collaborate to implement Teach for India, a Fellowship program aiming to end educational inequity.


Akanksha reaches 10 schools in Mumbai and Pune


The first batch of students at KC Thackeray Vidya Niketan (Akanksha’s first school opened in Pune) graduate school with a 100% pass result in the SSC exam


The Social Work department is created to link Akanksha with its students’ communities


The Mentor Program is launched so that individuals from the corporate world can provide guidance to students



Akanksha ties up with a CBSE school in Navi Mumbai and runs 21 schools in total

Awards and Recognition

GuideStar India Platinum certification


Great Place to Work® Certification Feb 2019- Jan 2020


GuideStar India Champion Level - Platinum Certification


GuideStar Transparency Award


Rockefeller Center Award — Finalist (Category: Large)


Highest Pledge Raising NGO Standard Chartered Marathon

2009 / 2010

India NGO of the Year Award


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