In February we sat down to interview several students who had just begun our Youth Empowerment Program to understand their motivations for joining the program and discuss hopes and aspirations for where it might lead.
Now, two months later we caught up with Hajira (who is currently two months into the program) and Shabana (a recent graduate) to take time out to reflect on how the program had changed them and the ways in which they were developing and learning.
Hajira Shaikh (22) joined the program with a high level of English but a desire to develop this further and to improve her conversational English. It was her hope that this would enable her to better compete with privately educated students when applying for jobs. Hajira writes:
This class has encouraged us not only to learn English but to improve our other skills. The Youth Empowerment Programme also includes computer education and soft skills, which helps us develop basic etiquette and our personality.
I enjoyed because there is no particular age limit. People have joined also with different backgrounds, religions, castes, etc. Some people are married, unmarried; students, workers, etc. Everyone has different ideas and experience to share. We share thoughts and beliefs and family situation. All are one and everyone shares their problems and help each other.
The main challenging task was managing the time. It is not so hard but sometimes we face little time problem but thanks to the faculty and management we find it very flexible to attend. The faculties members are like friends, teachers and parents. We never do hesitation to share or ask any difficulties and they are always ready to help.
They changed my life, my thoughts. They encourage me and it also boosts my confidence. Now I don’t have stage fright. It encourages me to think much broader and innovatively. I wish I could also be a part of Reality Gives as it is an NGO I would love to work in.
Reality Gives means a lot to me. In this class only we come to know how people come from different countries to see Dharavi, where everyone wants to help each other out. I noticed one thing that they don’t go to other places but to visit Dharavi. It means they are very interested to see such places rather than go just for holidays.
Shabana Ansami (21) is a recent graduate of the program. She is now training to be a teacher, and has just passed her penultimate exam. Shobana writes:
I have learned personality development, hence how to present our self, how to communicate with foreigner as well as Indian personality.I enjoyed more game with friendly atmosphere. I not only enjoyed game but also learned more things such as leadership quality, quick decision making etc. Trees can’t stand without timber, just like that ‘YEP’ was a big challenge for me. I had to face lot of challenges to be like a competitive pupil, not a comparative pupil. I always encountered my hurdle smoothly and happily. I have changed in my professional life. Just like bird flies in the sky singing a song, twittering – same as it is also for me.
My aspiration is like ‘well begun is half done’ – I would like to do innovative work for Reality Gives always. Reality Gives means to me to achieve real knowledge with the help of a creative mind. According to me Reality Gives an ‘Ocean of Knowledge’ and we are a drop! The beginnings of all things are small. I always follow ‘KISS’ – Keep It Short and Simple.