Aparna Talks about her experience in ETASHA

Having joined ETASHA only last week, I was quiet nervous taking my first session today. And all through my school and college life I had thought it is easier for the faculty to just come and give lectures. We are as nervous as the little kids first being left alone in kindergarten. But at the end of the session I realized it was fun.

The tweens who come to attend these classes are after all full of the energy that we expect from the young. They are apprehensive, but they get around to doing things their way, while listening to us. They all learn and know how to adapt. The big questions we ask while facing these youngsters for the first time is “What is different about them?” A question I was asked too after just observing them. I said what I observed then, but I found the real answers today, while interacting with them today. The answer I found was, nothing much. Except that they need their goals to be met for a ‘future’. A kind of future we take for granted. The privilege we have, having parents who have given us good education in good schools,  good food to eat, freedom to discuss our careers with our teachers, parents, friends; these small privileges,amongst others are not available for the trainees who join us. They know they need to do something, but what they want to do, they have no clue about that. They do either what they are told to do, or what they see their friends doing, without a real understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses.

The Govt. of India has “Sarv Siksha Abhiyan(SSA)” which gives the fundamental right to elementary education to all between the age groups of 6-14. But the real question is what after that? The quality of education is not very high, there is a set course and all the teachers just want to get it over with. English language, which is very important in the job sector, is completely ignored and the concepts are not cleared even in the relatively better schools. And confidence is something that most youngsters totally lack. Whether it is public speaking, or actively participating, the smartness we expect from the generation Y is totally lacking in these young men and women, and some mistake aggressiveness for confidence, having no real knowledge of how to deal with a real life crisis.

At ETASHA, we are trying to fight these very roadblocks in the lives of these underprivileged young adults, who are trying to make the most of it, and here they get the direction they have been seeking for so many years. Life is tough, and we try to train them in skills that give them life-long culture of learning and adapting, and facing challenges, with confidence. It is a privilege to be in a team, that is not just ‘teaching and training’, but in the process making a valuable change in the image of the society, and balance it by providing the much needed route to the success of these fresh young minds.
We have a long way to go, but for now we can only hope for the support and strength from everyone who believes in this project.