We're transforming their lives of labour into lives of learning:
(1) 4000+ students graduated.
(2) 28% cleared job interviews for white-collar jobs.
(3) 12% started businesses back home.
(4) 23% got promoted to white-collar jobs from existing blue-collar jobs in the same companies.
(5) 37% got higher salaries including a labourer graduating from 800 AED (~$220) to 8000 AED (~$2200) per month.
(6) The project is invited to be a part of the Government’s ‘Happy Dubai’ initiative.
(7) All costs were pro bono ($0) courtesy our partners.
(8) Unprecedented earned media worth $230,000 across TV, Press, Radio and Social Media.
We then placed hundreds of words like these, designed to look like school notepads, across their daily journey, turning Dubai into a blackboard for them.
Labour camps became Educational camps.
Transport buses became School buses.
Construction sites became Learning sites.
Mundane routines became Inspiring journeys.
We extended their learning across channels by creating: Learning flashcards, an Interactive karaoke song, Print ads in vernacular media, Bus shelter ads around labour camps.
In the spirit of free English classes, we shared a number with our words that they could give a missed call on and SmartLife called them back to enroll them.
To support the outdoor engagement, we created a social media app on Facebook, inviting Hindi-speaking people and typography fans to get creative and contribute their words to the cause.
A special edition designer book with the words was sold in bookstores to raise funds for the project.
Insights, Strategy and the Idea
In Dubai, learning English will help its many labourers get better jobs and salaries.
But with average monthly salaries of $220, and a hard life of 12-hour work shifts, they neither have the money nor time to educate themselves.
SmartLife, an NGO for Dubai's labourers, wanted to help them improve their status and quality of life.
So, we created Project Akshar (Alphabets), where we set out to graduate Dubai's labourers from blue collar to white collar.
We first launched free English classes.
And to encourage labourers to register and enroll, we needed to show them how easy it is to learn English.
So, using effective visual learning techniques, we took words that are useful to them, wrote their English phonetic pronounciations in the Hindi script, and combined them with their visual representation, to create words that teach them English through their own language.