Teach for India, a non-profit organisation working in low-income schools, on Monday announced that it’s Internal Complaints Committee had investigated 13 cases of sexual harassment against its employees, and that in five of those cases, the perpetrators were fired.
In four cases, the respondents were “given a range of consequences” such as an apology letter, warnings, mandatory counselling or a change of the school, the organisation added.
In two cases, sexual harassment was not made out, Teach for India said, adding that in one of these cases, the accused employee was reinstated. The organisation was purportedly referring to its October action against three of its employees. Teach for India’s Bengaluru city director Kapil Dawda, Pune city director Abhimanyu Sarkar and an unidentified person were sent on leave after sexual harassment allegations emerged against them on social media. Dawda was reinstated in December.
The allegations had come from interns and fellows, both former and current, who had accused their managers of sexual harassment, ranging from bullying and sexually-coloured comments to “inappropriate touching”.
Teach for India added the remaining two cases of sexual harassment were against alumni. “The Alumni status has been derecognised and the current employer has been informed of the actions that Teach For India has taken,” the organisation said in a letter to the Teach for India “community”.
Started in 2009 when it inducted its first batch of fellows, Teach for India works with graduates and young professionals who, after a round of training, are placed in government or low-income private schools to teach full-time. These fellows remain in that position for two years after which they may find jobs elsewhere. A small section may even be recruited by Teach for India itself. It has chapters in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai
The organisation on Monday added that it has taken several preventive measures since the allegations came out, such as conducting workshops in all cities for all its employees, revising the Prevention of Sexual Harassment policy and setting up seven internal committees to investigate cases of sexual harassment in the future.
Last October, dozens of women, including actors and journalists, had taken to social media to give detailed accounts of the sexual harassment and misconduct they faced across several sectors such as advertising, Tamil and Hindi film industries, the field of arts, music and dance, publishing, journalism, sports, religion and non-profit organisations.