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Home > About Us > Letter from Mohnish Pabrai - November 8, 2012


Dear Guest:

Welcome to the Dakshana Foundation’s website. Thank you for visiting and do share your thoughts on our message board. Dakshana is a start-up. Allow me to tell you the story of how we decided on the focus we have.

I still have a “day job.” I run Pabrai Investment Funds (www.pabraifunds.com) out of Irvine California. As an investor, return on invested capital (ROI) is of fundamental importance. And I think it ought to be equally important when one embarks on giveback. Resources are always limited and one needs to maximize the returns one generates from them. To this end, in general, education of India’s rural impoverished but gifted children has an ROI that is off the charts. Years ago, I came across the following article in BusinessWeek magazine. It significantly impacted my thinking:


The ROI of the Ramanujan School of Mathematics is simply off the charts. If you take a kid who might not even go to college and instead get him accepted to attend India’s elite IITs, his value to society rises exponentially. During the months that Ramanujan tutors him or her, they likely spend under $1000 on this student. The income enhancement over that individual’s lifetime is likely several million dollars. Investing $1000 and getting a payback of several million over 50+ years is a very compelling proposition.

So, I thought, why not clone and scale the Ramanujan Model?

Harina & I setup the Dakshana Foundation (in the US) and the Dakshana India Educational Trust (in India) in 2006. We would like to eventually recycle virtually our entire estate back to society, and help thousands of gifted kids from impoverished rural backgrounds get into IIT and other exceptional universities around the globe every year.

Like any startup, I’m sure we’ll face our own share of disappointments and make a ton of mistakes. We hope to keep learning and continuously improve the model. I’m also pretty sure that the model will evolve over time.

We recently published our Dakshana: 2011 Annual Report. I think of the annual reports as chapters of an unfinished book.  It is best to start with the first chapter - 2007 Annual Report.  I’d suggest that reading these will get you quite familiar with Dakshana. Thank you for visiting the website.

Warm regards,

Mohnish Pabrai