Highly anticipating, I had gotten ready for my first day of office. All the way from my college I had this nervousness tingling in me because this was the first internship I would be doing. I was looking forward to how the workspace was going to be and I was expecting a very strict routine that I would’ve to follow.
And then I reached the office. My nervousness settled, because I was greeted by Samyak at the entrance, with an assuring smile which to me conveyed that “Oh, don’t worry, and trust me, this is going to be one life-changing experience you will have”
I had two of my other friends working with me, and they were already there waiting upstairs. It was our first day. I had entered the office and we all sat in silence. The working sphere there was entirely different. They had different charts and fun things posted on the walls; an environment where you find yourself enjoying the art of such things. And then to break the monotony of silence, Samyak had a hands-on session for us where the other interns had introduced themselves.
Moving on through the day, we had an ice-breaker organised for us by Harinie, who was also a part of the team. It was so much fun, we played a Human-Bingo where I had to admit a lot of embarrassing fun facts about me. We had talked over lunch and only then I’d come to know about their personalities.
Starting off, I was inspired by the work that they’d all done before Involve.
Harinie had worked for Teach for India, which is a Non-Profit Organisation. She had worked as a teacher in the rural, reaching out to hundreds of kids. Her passion for teaching and social service had left me mind-blown. She as a person is so sweet and yes, she offered all of us, sweets, too. Harinie also had a passion to read books; I sort of ended up boring her with my usual chatter about books.
Kadambari, she had just finished her college six months ago. Straight out of college she’d joined Involve. She has an interesting degree in her hand to hold. She’d finished her undergraduate studies in the field of Social Work. She holds the BSW degree, which is also known as Bachelor of Social Work. She had told me about her experience about so many social ventures she had. I was amazed at by the experiences she’d shared with me. Oh and yes, she draws and paints too. We had too many things in common.
Ashwini, I thought was a very quiet and calm person. She had majored in Chemical Engineering from Anna University. But she had a different story to tell too. She had volunteered for Involve during her weekends while during the week she’d worked for the corporates. She’d told me how out of love for the job at involve she’d quit her corporate life and started working in Involve.Lunching was fun and good. We shared our lunch over conversations where we got to know more and more about each other.Afternoon we had school trips scheduled. That’s when I had gained deeper and surprising insights.I had visited Shringeri Mutt school, and that’s when I had a whole new perspective. The kids swarmed through the corridors. Some of them smiled and some of them walked by. I felt overwhelmed and that’s when realisations hit hard.
One kid, she came out to me. With her wide smile and glowing eyes, she asked me – “Akka, who are you.” I told I’m from Involve and I’ll be visiting the, regularly. I asked her what did she want to become? Beaming, she told me “I want to become an Astronaut”. That’s when that moment of realisation hit me hard.
The education that these kids get and the current education system in India has so many loopholes in them. That’s when I was in fact of proud of myself for working with Involve.
So many other kids had told me what they’d want to become in the near future. And if I ever get the chance to be a part of it, I’d take it blindly. These kids deserve a better future. But how do we answer the problems that exist? How do we answer the current educational crisis that our country?
Due to the lack of teachers, multiple grades are combined into one classroom. All the students, be it a grade one or grade five, they are taught by the same teacher in the same classroom. Another thing which left me spellbound was most of the higher school kids didn’t know the basics of mathematics and by basics, I mean addition and subtraction. They don’t know how to read or spell out four-letter words. The quality of education that they are currently receiving is very poor.
Here, Involve, a section 8 startup, or profoundly called an NGO encourages peer to peer teaching, where students teach students. This answers the teacher dearth we have. Also just not that, the students develop the utmost required 21st-century skills, and they attain an interpersonal development.