Smart Communications is the Philippines largest mobile company. Through their Smart Public Affairs group, they are actively engaged in several CSR programs which include disaster preparedness, community building, livelihood and of course education.
TXTBKS targets public school kids, many of whom belong to families who cannot afford e-readers. These kids usually walk miles to go to school carrying in some cases as many as 22 books to school, leaving them tired and unable to focus on their studies.
With the current shift toward smartphones, Smart Communications had an abundance of inactive, older sim cards which would simply go to waste. In these sim cards we saw the opportunity to resurrect older technology and make them beneficial to the less fortunate.
So with the help of textbook publishers, the current editions were condensed so they could be encoded into the inboxes of sim cards. When loaded into any analog phone, which have become increasingly affordable, kids could now access their books in a format that was lightweight and easy to use.
These sim cards were initially distributed to 4 partner public schools. Immediately, school bags became 50% lighter. Within months, attendance had increased by 90% and the average performance of students increased by a surprising 95%.
These results encouraged Smart to pursue its TXTBKS project, by including more subjects and more grade levels, for immediate nationwide release to public schools.