Dr. Piya Sorcar presents at the Stanford 125th Anniversary "Thinking Big About Learning" Symposium

Thinking Big About Learning - the title of the opening event in a series of Symposia celebrating Stanford University’s 125th Anniversary - neatly sums up TeachAids’ philosophy on the importance of making high quality health education available to all.

TeachAids CEO and Founder, Dr. Piya Sorcar was invited to present at this Symposium, which showcased the ways in which “Stanford innovators are elevating the promise of education in a changing world by forging new paths in the art and science of learning.”

Dr. Sorcar presented on Overcoming the Cultural Roadblocks to Education, and discussed the strategies TeachAids has engaged to overcome stigma and cultural barriers to HIV education in contexts throughout the world. In addition to presenting some of the research that has underscored TeachAids’ global success, she shared stories from partner organizations all over the world.

Dr. Sorcar joined a multi-disciplinary group of speakers which included some of the most influential contemporary thinkers in education, neuroscience, physics and technology. Fellow speakers included Carol Dweck (Author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success), Esther Wojcicki (Vice Chair of the Board of Creative Commons), Scott Doorley (Creative Director of the Stanford d-School), Sebastian Thrun (CEO of Udacity) and Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Professor Carl Wieman.

Approximately 550 guests, including Stanford professors, local teachers and representatives from major technology companies attended the symposium. The event was also simulcast into other locations at Stanford and through livestreamed through the Internet. The symposium was followed by a catered reception, during which TeachAids staff and volunteers engaged with attendees and answered questions about TeachAids’ research, goals and products.

TeachAids is honored to have been featured in this inspirational event and congratulates Stanford University on 125 years of Thinking Big About Learning.

Photo: Dr. Piya Sorcar presents at the Stanford 125th Anniversary "Thinking Big About Learning" Symposium

Featured Video Play Icon

We thank Think Plus Creatives for sharing this lovely video from the Zilla Parishad High School in Madhapur, Hyderabad. It’s inspiring to know that the TeachAids materials continue to thrive amongst young people in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

This video features Stanford School of Medicine Director of Media Relations Ruthann Richter and TeachAids India Trust Trustee Amala Akkineni introducing the TeachAids materials and the importance of protecting oneself from HIV, prior to the screening of the animations and a question-and-answer session.

TeachAids is delighted that our HIV prevention efforts continue in Hyderabad, India. In 2009, the stigma associated with HIV led to seropositive children being expelled from schools in Andhra Pradesh. TeachAids saw this as an urgent opportunity to partner with the HIV Education in Hyderabad, making it the first state in India where our localized HIV prevention software would expand across the population 84 million.  The state government distributed 25,000 copies of the TeachAids research-based materials across the school systems in urban, rural and tribal areas. The video versions of the software have also been shown on public and private television stations  and the software continues to be used across schools, residential facilities for street children and juvenile justice centers.

We would like to extend our thanks to Ms. Amala and Ms. Richter for their commitment to spreading TeachAids’ life saving messages throughout India, and across the world.

Video:TeachAids/Stanford SOM India Visit
HIV education workshop facilitators and participants at Newell High School, Jamaica

The beautiful Caribbean island nation of Jamaica is renowned for its turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and unique musical styles. Less well known is that the population of this stunning country is plagued by one of the highest rates of HIV in the Caribbean. An extraordinary partnership between an Australian nurse and several local organizations sought to address this issue through an innovative suite of programs designed to empower Jamaicans protect themselves from HIV.

In 2013, Beth Thompson took a leave of absence from her nursing position at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital and accepted an assignment at Mandeville Hospital in Manchester Parish, Jamaica. There she met Breds, an NGO that promotes education and healthcare in Jamaica’s under-developed south coast.

With the support of the Alfred Hospital, Beth and Breds developed a training program to educate women on the intricately related dual-dangers of domestic violence and HIV. Beth reports that TeachAids formed the “backbone” of the training sessions.  She notes that the TeachAids materials were ideal for this purpose as they are appropriate for people of all ages and backgrounds, they convey information in a fun and engaging way, and they make the information easy to retain.

Beth and Breds collaborated with Eve For Life, Woman's Inc Crisis Centre, MAC AIDS Fund, and the Treasure Beach Women's Group to roll out the training program in several locations in St. Elizabeth Parish. In addition to high school students and members of a women’s group, a group of HIV positive “mentor mums” trained by Eve for Life participated in the workshops.  These mentor mums will continue to spread HIV prevention messages to members of their communities.

The collaboration demonstrates the inspirational potential of building the capacity of local organizations and individuals.  Beth notes that the local partners and workshop participants quickly came to own the project: “once educated they were able to take control of the project, make it their own, and run it their way.  They were so creative!”.

Beth joins a global community of committed health professionals who use TeachAids to provide HIV and AIDS education at clinics, youth centers, and workshops around the world. She plans to return to Jamaica later in 2015 to continue this work.

We applaud this remarkable collaboration between Beth and her many local partners for their tireless work to help the people of Jamaica protect themselves from HIV, and for bringing TeachAids to the magnificent shores of Jamaica.

Photo: HIV education workshop facilitators and participants at Newell High School, Jamaica
TeachAids' new office on University Avenue, Palo Alto, California
A few weeks ago, TeachAids said goodbye to its California Avenue office and moved to a truly beautiful new space on bustling University Avenue in the heart of Palo Alto. The new office is located in a historical building with cathedral ceilings and a gorgeous view of the downtown. As with our previous office, the new space is donated to TeachAids by a very generous long-term supporter.

The change of scenery has been very exciting for all members of the TeachAids California office. TeachAids Founder and CEO, Dr. Piya Sorcar, notes, “The new office is perfect for our next phase. The natural sunlight inspires the team every day, the period elegance lends itself to old-fashioned hard work, while the location right in the heart of the Silicon Valley centers us at the leading edge of world class technology.” Dr. Sorcar adds that she is delighted to now call University Avenue home, “we could not be happier with the space or the location and are immensely grateful to our generous donor!”

Earlier in the year and on the other side of the globe, TeachAids also moved offices in India, from Bangalore to Hyderabad. Business tycoon and film icon Nagarjuna Akkineni has kindly donated space at the prestigious Annapurna Studios, one of India’s biggest, most successful and entrepreneurial film studios. Thanks to this space, we have unparalleled access to the who’s who of Indian celebrities, directors and production teams. Akkineni says, “we are so pleased to be able to support the important work of TeachAids by offering space in Annapurna Studios. We have enjoyed working with TeachAids for many years and have been immensely impressed by their nationwide development and distribution efforts.”

The support of our donors and networks in the US, India and around the world makes what TeachAids achieves possible. We are immensely grateful for the unwavering generosity of all of our donors: from the local restaurant that recently donated food for a TeachAids staff party to the cultural icons who take time out of their busy schedules in the spotlight to support TeachAids, to the extraordinary generosity of our office space donors. With their support, we continue to work toward making high-quality HIV education software freely available around the world.

Photo: TeachAids' new office on University Avenue, Palo Alto, California

Girls of Rainbow Homes residential homes for vulnerable urban youth, Hyderabad, India
TeachAids is proud to work with United Way of Hyderabad (UWH) to bring HIV education to the vulnerable urban children of Rainbow Homes.

United Way is a nonprofit that seeks to advance the common good by “mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world.” Throughout the world, citizens have established almost 4,000 chapters of United Way, organizing millions of volunteers in support of local health, education and livelihood initiatives. Under the umbrella of United Way of India, UHW strives to “create long-term social change that produces healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families.”

UWH’s projects include supporting education activities at Rainbow Home’s ten Hyderabad residential homes for urban street children at risk of sexual and physical abuse. These facilities seek to “ensure a safe and happy childhood” for vulnerable children by providing shelter, nutrition, education and health care.

Recognizing that HIV prevention is critical for the long-term health of these children, UWH and Rainbow Homes identified HIV education as a vital part of their learning curriculum. Together, they showed the TeachAids Telugu software at a Hyderabad Rainbow Homes’ residential home for girls.

Over 30 young adolescent girls viewed the TeachAids software over several sessions. The girls greatly enjoyed learning from Nagarjuna Akkineni and Navdeep Pallapollu, two of the many cultural icons who kindly donated their voices and likeness to the software. The Rainbow Homes viewings perfectly complemented other TeachAids’ screenings in Andhra Pradesh and across India, including numerous screenings among at-risk boys and annual screenings on several major television stations since 2011.

In the Behind the Scenes of TeachAids video, actress and social activist Amala Akkineni comments on the ability of the celebrities, combined with high quality materials, to reach young people. “If you come to one of those viewings you’ll see how the children are glued to the television. They get it so fast because the material is fantastic....TeachAids has cracked the puzzle of bringing a very serious subject to the mind of a child by using the celebrity”.

TeachAids is honored to connect with United Way of Hyderabad and Rainbow Homes, both of which provide critical services for the betterment of society, and is grateful for the generous support of cultural icons in India and across the world.

Photo: Girls of Rainbow Homes residential homes for vulnerable urban youth, Hyderabad, India