The work done by ETASHA can be best judged by the results that they have to offer. One of their results has been Ekta. When one looks at business reports, they are concerned only with the bottom line of profits and why should an NGO be any different. Exploring the results of ETASHA, here is brief interview with one of the former trainees who now works at ETASHA’s head office. Everyone in the office knows who Ekta is and her presence in the organization’s office has become paramount.
She introduces herself as Ekta Singhal but she is known only as Ekta, even in her official documents. She is 23 years old. She has also done her graduation from Delhi University. Ekta comes from a colony called Khanpur in Delhi. Her family has been residing in this area for about 25 years now. She lives in a joint family with 2 brothers and 2 sisters, her mother, father, grandparents and her maternal uncle and their children.
I ask her more about her family. Ekta then tells me a little about the kind of ideology followed by her brothers. She says that they don’t believe in the concept of a job. In a job, they would be answerable to others; which they didn’t like. They believed in having their own setup and work environment where they could dictate their terms and conditions. Due to this, her brothers didn’t allow her sisters or even her (to a certain extent) to do a job. Her sisters have gotten various job opportunities but have never been able to pursue them and now are married and settled down.
Ekta’s relationship with ETASHA started when she joined their CODE Program in CDC2 back in September 2013. She got to know about ETASHA and their programs from her sister who in turn got to know by Nitish Pathak who was their community head.
I asked her why she wanted to join ETASHA’s CODE program to begin with. Ekta recites in a confident manner about how she had already done a job before this opportunity presented itself, but her confidence was always lacking. Also, her English was weak and so were her communications skills. She was very timid and shy and even had problems communicating her feelings with her family members. She wanted to improve on herself as an individual and she always had the desire that she wanted to do something with her life.
She was glad she joined, as she instantly got an amazing friend circle. Adding to that she was impressed by the work they did; it was learning by doing and not simply learning without understanding the basis of it. She grasped the concepts better this way. She learnt about her strengths, weaknesses and how to interact with others as well. Ekta also learnt how to use the computer, the Internet facilities, and interpersonal skills and gained a lot of social confidence.
She had joined ETASHA in September 2013 as a trainee in the CODE program. The course was supposed to get over in January. However, even before the course was over she got a placement within the ETASHA organization itself in the capacity of administrative staff. It’s now been nine months that she’s been working with ETASHA. Now her aspirations from gaining confidence have changed to progress in her workplace. She, now has the confidence to apply to other jobs.
Ekta helps in maintaining contacts with various other companies, NGOs, trainees and facilitators with ETASHA. She also does administrative work of data entry and helps the facilitators with their lesson plans, trainees with their assignments and various other nit bits.
I ask her to tell me more about herself. Ekta dwells into telling me that she can’t have a spare minute free. She always likes being busy. Since she lives in a joint family, she has certain responsibilities towards her family. Her parents have always been supportive of this job. She also helps at the shop with her mother after her office hours. Even after reaching home well after 9, she works and helps her family members with various things around the house.
While at work, Ekta’s aim has become about progress. She says she wants to learn as much as she can. She also wants advancement in the level that she has been working in. She admits to me that if it hadn’t been for ETASHA, she probably wouldn’t have gotten a job anywhere else due to family pressure. Now, with her experience and confidence level, she can very well get her point across and apply to other jobs for advancement.
I asked Ekta about the problems she had to face during her training as well as her life at ETASHA. She admits that she feels tired and exhausted both mentally and physically. With her work life as well as the obligations she has towards her family. However her mother is a pillar of support and encourages her to work as long as she can.
ETASHA gave her support and if she had been anywhere else, she would get work directly. But, here at ETASHA she has always has someone to teach her the steps involved as well as her guide her to the right path, especially Mukesh Sir. Everyone in the organization has helped her with various things. Meenakshi ma’am helped her with formatting. Her facilitators, Shelly Ma’am and Anindita Ma’am have always been very helpful and she can now even talk to them about anything.
She admits that, how people perceive her has changed as well as how she used to look at herself has changed with a lot of positive thinking.
I asked her what her long term plans are. Ekta has always been interested in arts and crafts. Earlier, she didn’t even think of the office line because of the family pressure. But it’s clear in her mind, that in any way possible, she would like to ensure that she does work or education relating to fine arts.
Raushan Tara Jaswal
ETASHA Volunteer August 2014