I came to know from him that while the government provides textbooks and uniforms for free, they don't have the capability provide notebooks. This unsurprisingly turns out to be a severe limitation to learning. When inquired, the government officials respond,
"Even the government has limited resources. To offset our limitations we have empowered the school's headmasters and senior teachers to partner local NGOs and philanthropists to receive the relevant aid".
Makes sense doesn't it? But I think, and Shiva agrees, that this is not a sustainable model. So, what do we have? Even when ills like hunger and child-labor are removed from poor kids' way to the school, the good work is undone by the absence of guaranteed access to something as trivial as notebooks. I think this is a good idea for social entrepreneurship. Notebooks are available everywhere. Can be made from recycled paper too! Making notebooks is a good small-scale business. All it needs is an entrepreneurial idea that takes care of the economics and connects the demand and supply. Are you aware of any already existing models? (not donation of notebooks of course).
My raw and partial stab at social entrepreneurship:
Notebooks can be bound from papers. I was thinking if we can catch hold of someone who does the binding on a regular basis, and give a training session to school kids (or their parents) for a small fee, they can make their own notebooks.
Now that they know how to make notebooks, they (hopefully) can find their own ways of getting paper. A paper mart nearby, or unused paper from a relatively well off home.