Our story

It all started with a single trip to India…

In 2005, Clary Castrission and Karyn Avery, two uni students from Sydney, took a holiday to India that would change their lives forever. Upon witnessing firsthand the devastating impact of extreme poverty affecting so many children, Clary and Karyn’s life took a complete departure from the career trajectories they were on.

Clary and Karyn believed that education would transform the lives of these children, opening up opportunities to change and shape their own futures. They naively figured that they only needed $40K to build a school for a community outside Bangalore. Five years and $400,000 later, the Banyan School opened its doors to its first children. Had it not been for 40K’s work, the 350 children who are currently enrolled at the school might still be spending their days in a nearby quarry with their parents.

We never changed the name 40K because it represents something that we never want to lose sight of: the naivety, creativity, drive and power of youth.

Clary Castrission OAM
Founder & Chairperson of the 40K Foundation

In October 2010, 40K together with our project partner, The Lovedale Foundation, officially opened the Banyan school providing education to severely underprivileged kids from the local villages and nearby granite quarry of Bangalore. Since the school opened, Lovedale has done a phenomenal job in building the school from the inside out. 

The Banyan School is a clear demonstration of 40K’s ability to commit to and deliver a project successfully in the Indian environment. But, the Banyan School was just the beginning for us…

  • 2010We opened the Banyan School on the outskirts of Bangalore

    A wonderful yet costly exercise with limited reach. In moving forward, we knew that if we wanted to extend our reach to thousands more kids, then building schools was not going to be the answer.

  • 2013 – We established our first “pod” in a small village in India

    These community-based after-school learning centres filled an identifiable need in underserved villages. However, there were not enough adequately trained or skilled teachers to deliver lessons.

  • 2015 – We introduced PLUS English to support English language learning

    The technology innovation compensated for the English teaching skills deficit and improved children’s learning outcomes. But, the setup costs were high and the program was hard to scale through the pod system.

  • 2018 – We piloted an in-school delivery model in India & Cambodia

    Delivering the program in schools proved easier to scale and also helped to address deficiencies within the local school systems. We quickly realised that this was the way forward.

  • 2019 – We signed an MoU with the Cambodian government

    This allowed us to expand the program to 250 schools (approximately 50,000 students) across the Cambodian countryside. We were on track to reach the target number of schools, but then COVID-19 hit…

  • Today – We are supplementing in-school delivery with remote learning

    We created a series of audio files and a light version of PLUS English that children can access on a phone. This is keeping them engaged with the content and curriculum during COVID-related school closures.