Institute: – IIT Kharagpur
Organization interned with: – Teach for India
We Teach for India..one child at a time :-)
“My father didn’t see my face for the first 3 months after my birth because I was a girl ”as this 16 years old, who was born in one of the thousands of families in Dharavi slums, stood before us saying this, her eyes full of water, I sat gaping purely amazed at the change that is possible. She told us that she is now preparing for IIT-JEE and has dreams of changing this country, earning a lot, buying her mother a sea facing apartment in Bandra and making her father proud of his daughter. All this she told us in super-polished English with an accent better than most people I know. She was more well-mannered than most people I know, more mature than most people her age, much more confident about herself than I was at her age. A gal from Dharavi slums to a girl of independence and dreams, this is the amount of change that is possible and this is the change they are looking for in each child in India.
This is one of the girls among the many kids I met during my work at Teach for India. This girl belonged to Akansha – an NGO started by Shaheen Mistri in 1990 when she herself was just 18 with a belief that change is possible and yes, she proved it right! With a stronger belief and the same amount of motivation, Shaheen started this another movement alongside called Teach for India -2 years back with a vision of removing the inequity in education in the country. I am delightfully amazed at the tremendous energy in the system and the kind of bars set by the people in this movement.
A group of outstanding college graduates and young professionals, who quit their lavish lifestyles and are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones each day bit by bit, are all working selflessly towards one goal, one vision-the vision of independent India. Independent in the true sense of the word, how can a boy who is dependent on his maalik to tell him how much money is to be deducted from his pay for his absence at work be called independent or a girl who depends on the sunset to guess the time be called independent. HBS grads, IITians, Brown, McGill grads, etc., X-Schlumberger, Mckinsey, Deloitte, Infosys etc. employees have joined hands to give their 2 yrs to this movement and in the long run become leaders in different sectors and contribute in their own ways to remove this inequity-2 yrs of long working hours, several sleepless nights, litany of complaints from the parents, lesson plans, copies books, reading writing calculating. 2 yrs of relentless effort, unshaken willpower, insane passion & 2 yrs towards building the future of each kid!
Teach for India is a happy feeling, a pleasant profession and a noble sense of accomplishment. I have realized that among a million changes that TFI brings in its fellows, some of the most significant ones are that the cynic in you disappears at TFI, the passion in you rejuvenates, the energy in you is rediscovered, the joy of giving is re-realized.
All small actions like doing nice things for each other secretly, free hugs, writing about each other, reflecting your thoughts and actions, playing fun games to bring out the feel of one team or all big things like trying to work hard with each child individually, bring out the best in each child patiently, working crazily for that one Zameer who is not as smart as others in his class, or convincing that one parent who wants his child to quit school since he thinks it’s of no use to him, everything that they do brings a smile to atleast one person in this world . I have never seen a more focused group of people or a more devoted group.
I came here just because I love kids! I came in with a belief that inspite of all this effort, it is simply impossible to change a country with 1 billion people, I came in with a mindset that most Indians have. But, now I can see the change that is happening and I am enjoying every part of it and that love for children, I came in with – that has increased 10 folds :).
Impressed by the happy environment here and motivated by the strong sense of possibility, each day I work as much as I did before an exam in IIT and I still feel I should do more.. coz I know, every action of mine is measured in terms of each child’s progress…I am proud to be a part of this mega change, a part of this movement which has taken pace and will bring out the vision that – one day every child will attain excellent education! Oh..I so love those innocent eyes of children..so so much :)
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