Double Feature — Meet Shahvez and Vaishakhee


Michael Jackson Reincarnated???

During interviews, I’m normally the one asking the questions. So suffice to say, I was mildly surprised when, just as I was about to ask my first question, Shahvez quickly got in first asked me, “What’s your height?” In fact, I was so surprised that I was halfway through asking my first question when I realized he’d first asked me. “Er… around 5’10…… I think,” I replied meekly. He nodded, as if impressed, and then said, “You can ask questions in English if you want,” with a smile. And that’s how my interview with Shahvez Rizvi began.

As we progressed though, I got a better idea of who the 19-year-old was. He told me that he recently passed out of 12th class, and came to ETASHA for  employability development skills training after a friend of his (who had already completed the program) told him about it. In his free time, Shahvez likes to dance, swim, sing, and listen to music. In fact, after some prodding from me and his classmates, Shahvez eventually consented to perform a rendition of Michael Jackson’s hit “Billie Jean,” and performed some of Jackson’s most famous dance moves in front of the class, after which he received thunderous applause (and naturally, some laughter). As soon as he finished, though, he asked me if I could sing something by Justin Bieber for him, and the rest of the class enthusiastically supported him. At this point, I knew had no choice, so after a few minutes and several voice cracks, I finished a barely recognizable performance of the song “Baby.”
Shahvez asserted that joining the CSWC course has been supremely conducive to his educational development, saying, “I never thought that I would actually like studying, but the facilitators make it fun.” His favorite classes include English pronunciation and Selling Skills. It was apparent that he practices his pronunciation and spoken English in general, since he spoke slowly and methodically. Although he did make errors, he was never deterred. One day, Shahvez hopes to use his affinity for business-oriented classes and start a small business of his own. “I’d love to see myself owning an apparel showroom in ten years or so,” he confided.
Vaishakhee Karmakar is also 19 years old, and one of Shahvez’s classmates. Her hobbies include singing and dancing, and after much encouragement from her classmates (who all stayed after class to listen and chip in during interviews, even if they weren’t being interviewed), she consented to sing, albeit quietly. Like Shahvez, she had just finished 12th class, and came to ETASHA to expedite the job-finding process. Unlike Shahvez, however, Vaishakhee came to know about ETASHA from the community team directly. “At that time I was in 11th, but they told me that after I graduated 12th, ETASHA could help me find a job. So here I am,” she said with a smile. Since she is currently looking for a job, she finds the “world of work” classes immensely appealing. In fact, at the time this blog entry was written, Vaishakhee had successfully landed a job interview—during a class of Job Club! She explained to me,

Vaishakhee: Fixing her Interview in Job Club

Today, you saw what ETASHA has done for us. Before, I was afraid of talking to anyone I didn’t know, much less a company or employer. And now, with help from the facilitators, we can talk on the phone with them.” Vaishakhee hopes to find a long-term job in the formal sector and one day, aspires to be a singer, utilizing the social confidence she has gained
Stay tuned to hear about how ETASHA is helping youth like Shahvez and Vaishakhee find employment!
–Abhishek Bhargava

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