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By Liz Tse
30 June 2024

Growing up with a mother as a teacher, UNICEF Australia Ambassador and Cricket Captain Pat Cummins knows the importance of education. Sadly, not every child is born with the opportunity to access adequate schooling. In some parts of India, barriers such as gender inequality make it difficult for students to learn.  

Systematic gender biases, including the view that education isn't important for girls, mean that they’re often held back from going to school. In India, the highest dropout rates in females occur between primary school and high school, with just 61.1% of girls staying in school until Year 10, and 43.6% until Year 12. Without access to an adequate education, they're prevented from unlocking their full potential.  

To keep girls in school across India, UNICEF works with local government partners to set up ATAL Tinkering Labs (ATL). There are more than 10,000 Tinkering Labs across India, teaching girls practical learning and innovation and setting them up with a holistic skillset to flourish in life. 

Learning through innovation 

In Hyderabad, India, Aussie Cricket Captain and UNICEF Australia Ambassador Pat Cummins saw firsthand how impactful the ATAL Tinkering Labs in schools are for curious minds. 

"The kids have been diving into creative problem solving, STEM and even 3D printing, which helps spark their imagination. Their enthusiasm is contagious."

Photo of Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins
UNICEF Australia Ambassador
Pat Cummins examines a mini house model created by a young student in India.
From 3D printers to mini house models, Pat was blown away by the students' innovative creations.
© UNICEF Australia/2024/Vishwanathan
Two young students hold up a mirror to Pat Cummins' face.
At ATAL Tinkering Labs, there is a focus on gender equality and girls in STEM. A hands-on approach teaches them practical life skills they will use beyond the classroom.
© UNICEF Australia/2024/Vishwanathan

"Moments like these remind me why education is so important for breaking down barriers for girls. That’s where places like this really shine."

Photo of Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins
UNICEF Australia Ambassador
Pat Cummins stands with a group of schoolchildren in India who are smiling with their hands raised.
Howzat! Pat is bowled over by the creative projects.
© UNICEF Australia/2024/Vishwanathan
Pat Cummins sits on the ground of a classroom and speaks to a group of school children in India.
A bit of classroom banter between Pat and the students.
© UNICEF Australia/2024/Vishwanathan

Pitch perfect

Pat Cummins shows a schoolgirl how to bowl during a game of cricket.
Pat managed to fit in a quick game of cricket where he taught the students some of his best on-the-field tactics.
© UNICEF Australia/2024/Vishwanathan
Pat Cummins shows a schoolgirl how to bowl during a game of cricket.
Pat believes every child should have the opportunity to shine on and off the cricket pitch.
© UNICEF Australia/2024/Vishwanathan

"Your generous support means that children around the world are given opportunities to learn, be inspired, and to achieve their dreams. Thank you."

Photo of Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins
UNICEF Australia Ambassador
Pat Cummins headshot© UNICEF Australia/Supplied

About Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins is an Australian cricketer, family man and advocate for equal rights. Living in Sydney, Pat has spent much of his life travelling the world, which has sparked a passion for protecting the world's most vulnerable children.