Etasha joins Airtel Halfmarathon 2014

Banner Newsletter_Marathon_26.09_final2

The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is back! And we’re running again.

Our campaign “Twenty15in2015” aims at raising Rs. 20.15 lakh to provide career guidance to 2,015 young people from underprivileged backgrounds in the year 2015.

The need for proper career guidance is acutely felt by both the youth and their parents. Increasing competition for admission to educational/vocational training institutions as well as for employment creates extreme stress for students and their parents.

At the lower socio-economic strata the consequences of the lack of career guidance are even more acute. The lack of proper and timely career guidance works to dissuade many youth, for whom the need to start earning a living is urgent, from continuing to study beyond middle school. They drop out of school and join the vast and increasing armies of unskilled people, continuing to remain caught in the vicious cycle of poverty. Those who manage to study till 10th and 12th classes have an even bigger problem – after all the effort and years of not contributing to the family income, they are ill-equipped for any employment or self-employment. The lack of awareness and respect for vocational training options is a general issue which compounds the problems.

ETASHA’s career guidance process is a significant step in pursuance of our vision for every young Indian to be employable, have self-worth and lead a dignified and productive life. Our work is based upon the belief that each individual is unique and has the potential to excel and succeed in some sphere.

Help us to achieve our goal. 

button-orange-donate

Alone Doesn’t Mean Lonely

Monika

Monika Lust

 

Namaste!

My name is Monika and I come from Estonia.

Is this the first time you’re meeting an Estonian, or the first time you’re even hearing about Estonia? Do not worry. I hear that every day here in India :)

Estonia is a small country in northeast Europe. It’s about the size of the Indian state of Punjab, but there are only 1.3 million people living in the country. So we Estonians are used to having a lot of empty space around us. But being alone does not necessarily mean being lonely.

Estonia

The Beautiful Country of Estonia

I first visited India in February 2013 after I finished my bachelor studies in Psychology. A lot of people I met here were surprised that I traveled alone. But I didn’t fear traveling alone. Instead, I was afraid that I will not always be able to manage having so many people around me. There are at least 11 million people living in Delhi alone! I can’t even imagine so many people.

I can’t say that I always felt comfortable back then when I was travelling alone and interacting with people here. India challenged me. But I think that getting out of our comfort zone is the thing that teaches us the most.

I ended up falling in love with India — its colors, its culture, its food, its nature, and its people. Of course there are things in India that I like and things that I cannot stand. But as you know, people in love tend to remember only the nice things :)

PicMonkey Collage4

The Flavours of India

When I went back home I heard about a global education program – Global Education Network for Young Europeans (GLEN) — that offered an internship possibility in India for 3 months.

GLEN is a training and internship program with a focus on global education. The objective of global education is to inform people on global issues, so they could be more conscious in their choices and actions. It also aims to increase solidarity and promote social activism.The project consists of three parts: preparatory seminars on global education, internship in a foreign country, and global education activities after returning home (eg: running a blog, visiting schools and youth centers, photo exhibitions, seminars on global problems, etc.)

Currently, I am on a 3-month internship along with two other interns – Tjaša and Silviu – at ETASHA Society in New Delhi. Our work assignments are connected to communication and promotion.

I applied for the program because I wanted to return to India and also because I think the work ETASHA does is very important and inspiring not only in the Indian context, but also globally.

I have been studying for most of my life. I spent the last six years studying at a university (I did a bachelors in Cultural Studies as well as in Psychology). I loved my studies and I am grateful that in Estonia we have a chance to get a free university degree, but I still feel that the educational system in Europe doesn’t always prepare people well for their work life.

Many people in Estonia have a university degree because it is prestigious. But at the same time, many university graduates are unemployed or work at jobs that fall below their qualification levels. I think this is an indication that education is not fulfilling its purpose. In other countries specific issues may be different, but the core problem is the same: education does not meet the needs of the labour market. Dr. Mona Mourshed, a global education leader, has an interesting and inspiring talk on this topic.

I think that one of the solutions to the problem could be career guidance, improvement of vocational training, and cooperation between educational programs and employers. Something that ETASHA has been working towards. So I hope that during these 3 months here I will be able to help this cause in my own small way.

~Monika

 

Where the Magic Happens…

 

Growing to love Delhi: Tjasa

Growing to love Delhi: Tjasa

I sat on the plane in Slovenia and landed in this big, hot, colourful, sometimes hectic, but always interesting city, which each day grows closer to my heart – Delhi.
But let me start at the very beginning of my story. I applied for volunteering work in ETASHA through GLEN – Global Education Network of young Europeans, to work on the field of communication for three months, and luckily got the opportunity to join an amazing team in ETASHA.

In this blog I want to share with you my experience of the work environment at ETASHA, because I think that the most important thing is to have a positive one. In the end we spend at least 8 hours working on all our working days, which is a great amount of time in our lives.
So what makes Etasha so unique that I want to write about it? Working here is different from most of other organizations or companies, especially from capitalistically oriented companies in Europe, and I dare to say, also from lots of other Asian companies.

Here it`s all about people. Being a part of ETASHA means being a part of a family. Colleagues here don`t share only mutual enthusiasm for their work, but have also lots of favour and kindness for each other. What I find especially positive for a working environment are team lunches. Every day we sit down together, share the most delicious food and have the nicest lunches that you can have with your colleagues. Yes I know that it sounds a bit cheesy, but believe me, that`s really how it is.
The whole organisational spirit is based on mutual satisfaction and appreciation for one another. Every month there is a team meeting and I had the opportunity to be a part of one, which was held at Meenakshi` s (President of ETASHA) house and let me tell you, that was certainly not an “ordinary” one. There were lots of new information, sharing opinions, success stories which motivated all of us, feedback, constructive criticism, but most importantly you could smell the team spirit, positivity and aspirations for being even better in the future. And there was also laughter, lots of it, and also tears. What an emotional meeting, I loved it!
Four of team members had their birthday in the past month so we celebrated together with a delicious chocolate cake and Bengali dessert – Ras Gulla, after having a lunch which was Meenakshi`s treat. Emotions got even more intense when Meenakshi announced that two members, Ian and Vindhya are leaving ETASHA. You could see on their faces that is really hard for them to leave this “family” and I can say, especially for Ian, because I work with him every day, that he`s one hell of a guy and I will definitely miss him and his sense of humour. And both of them will be for sure missed from the rest of the team.
I shared this story with you because ETASHA is a good example of a successful organization and its leadership. It always begins with leadership. But there is a big difference between a good leader and a bad one. A good one always listens to his employees and makes them feel safe in their work environment, put them before profit and doesn`t forget the importance of team buildings. All this reflects in employee’s sense of belonging which is the most important thing for any sustainable company. And this is missing in today’s world.

Nowadays still too many leaders think there has to be hierarchy and that they should reward employees who are best in stabbing others, for getting their way. Unfortunately I had experienced it in my past and must say that it was just horribly when you could see how people are afraid for their jobs because they think they can`t do better and they don`t feel appreciated because they are treated as exchangeable goods.
Collaboration is where the magic happens. And it stays there!

Tjasa

 

Reflections One Year on

Montage of a Year: Vindhya and ETASHA friends

Montage of a Year: Vindhya and ETASHA friends

It seems like it was only yesterday…

I still remember that blank expression on Meenakshi and Ian’s face when I introduced myself as a biologist during the first round of my interview. They were clueless as to why a biologist would want to work for them…..but I had answers to all their why’s!

I told them a long story of my love for teaching. I had worked as an intern at All India Institute of Medical Sciences before joining ETASHA and I knew that I was taking a big leap by doing something completely different from my profile. It was worth it! It was an hour long interview followed by a visit to both our centres and I got the job!!
1st August 2013, oh I can never forget this date; my first day at ETASHA – first job, new people, new environment and new responsibilities. I still remember Meenakshi asking me on my third day, “Is everything alright? Why are you so quiet?” I didn’t really have any answer to her question but I think I was still adjusting to the environment.
After observing a number of English and interpersonal classes for around twenty days as part of my training I finally got my first English class. It was “Future continuous”; I had already done that class several times in my mind before actually doing it with the trainees. The batch was familiar with me because I used to observe other facilitators taking their classes so making a connection with them became a lot easier.

I entered the class and I was really nervous (I was sweating… literally!) I wasn’t scared of seventeen trainees waiting for me to start the class but I was damn scared of Tridib, then a facilitator with ETASHA. He played a crucial role in my training, moreover he helped me in coming out of my shell. I learnt to dance; cry, scream, jump, laugh and what not in front of twenty some trainees sitting in front of me to learn something new every day.
Once the silent prayer was over I started with my first English class; I demonstrated, elicited and weaved, some of the core ingredients of all our classes. Class went exactly the way I ha d planned. At the end of the class like a small kid I looked at Tridib asking, “Was it good?” It was (at least he said so). Yay!! I did it!! was the feeling and I never looked back….classes, back to back classes-English, computers, interpersonal, world of work, social confidence …I can’t think of my day without facilitating a class.

The best part about classes at ETASHA is that every day is new and different; new learning, new topics and new challenges. You have to deal with the different moods of a trainee…one might just have had a tiff with one’s best friend, or is coming from a funeral, or one’s parents’ fight every day and night, or one could be under pressure of getting a job so that he can support his family as soon as possible. And I had to make sure that I make them forget all their worries and let them learn freely and not with any burden.
Besides classes I completely admire people of ETASHA how they help you to grow with each passing day. I understood the importance of taking and giving feedback in the right manner only after joining ETASHA. Not to forget I also enjoy the variety of food we get on our tables during our lunch breaks!
Soon I’ll have completed a year with ETASHA but it seems like it was only yesterday…
-Vindhya Vatsyayan

Volunteering – find your own way to make a difference

 

Finding Her Own Way: Anna in Old Delhi

Finding Her Own Way: Anna in Old Delhi

Do you remember the much mocked story ‘6-Day Visit To Rural African Village Completely Changes Woman’s Facebook Profile Picture’ that went viral on social media a few months ago?

The story is a satire on international ‘voluntourism’, whereby privileged Westerners go to developing countries on short albeit expensive trips, spend a few days in an orphanage or some other ‘development project’, and go back home smug, their cameras full of pictures of themselves as good Samaritans surrounded by smiling children.
I’ve always wanted to volunteer abroad. I didn’t do it in my twenties and now, with a family, a full-time job and a mortgaged house I certainly can’t afford to spend several months volunteering overseas. I thought perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.

But somehow this spring my desire to get out there and experience ‘development’ up close rather than from an office in London grew even stronger. I started exploring what I could do with a few weeks of free time and 10+ years of professional experience in communications. I found a multitude of NGO projects that for a few hundred (sometimes a few thousand) pounds were willing to take me on for two weeks, with room and board, airport pickup and a full programme of activities.

 

That looked too much like ‘voluntourism’ though and I really didn’t want to be that woman whose Facebook profile gets transformed after six days in an African village. In summary, I had: skills, money to pay for travel and accommodation, a bit of free time and an urge to make a ‘real’ impact. What I didn’t have is a length of time to commit. And most importantly, I didn’t want to pay through the nose in programme fees and effectively be a tourist on a ‘poverty trip’. So – dilemma.

After weeks of futile Internet searching, I decided to draw on my network of contacts in international development to find a project directly, without paying steep fees to questionable middlemen. And I decided that since I couldn’t donate time, I would try to donate my skills.
Fast forward a few months. Here I am – in New Delhi, India, working for ETASHA Society, an NGO providing disadvantaged Indian youth with employability training and work placements. I’m spending four weeks over the summer as a pro bono communications consultant helping ETASHA with strategic aspects of branding, its Annual Report, web design and social media.

I started while still in London and after arriving in Delhi I met the team and other volunteers, and visited ETASHA’s training centres to observe classes and chat to the students.

I found ETASHA through a friend based in Delhi who is actively involved in charitable work around educating young people from underprivileged backgrounds. I emailed her one day and the response came immediately: Come to India!

So what does my day look like? I get up early to the honking of cars and auto rickshaws in the busy streets of Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi where my friend lives. I pop out for a swim or a morning yoga class, then we have breakfast together – usually fragrant rice with vegetables, fresh mangoes and home-made curd. Then I hail a rickshaw and brave the rush hour traffic to catch the metro – in a women only carriage for extra comfort and safety.

Another short rickshaw ride later I arrive at ETASHA, ready to start the day only after a few minutes needed to wash the dust of Delhi roads off my face. I attend meetings, share lunch with the team, visit training centres, work on ETASHA’s communications materials, feeling part of the inspiring work that the organisation is doing.

My afternoons and weekends are spent visiting the city or travelling to see nearby sites, like Jaipur or Agra. Living with a family and working

Going Local...

Going Local…

for a local NGO is offering me insights into India that no package tour or beach holiday would ever allow. And on top of that I’m helping someone, even if it is only in a small way and for a limited time.

So – volunteer! There are so many ways to make an impact that you will certainly find one that works for you.
You have professional experience under your belt but little time? Consider donating skills like I have done.

You have limited or no experience but a lot of free time, for instance during a gap year? Why not apply for a long-term volunteering project through an organisation like GLEN or EVS that will cover your travel and a small stipend towards living costs?

You have both experience and time, for instance after retiring? Fabulous, you can really make a difference!

No skills and no time? Do not despair – consider volunteering locally, pick up those skills and then go abroad!
Whatever you end up doing, volunteering abroad is a unique opportunity to get to know yourself better, test your limits, learn something new, make friends and have a positive impact on someone’s life.

Anna Kuznicka-Marry, September 2014

 

 

Settling In and Setting down

“Moments. All gathering towards this one.” – Jenny Downham

 

Katja In Kaguli: Making friends with locals

Katja In Kaguli: Making friends with locals

Most of  the people at my home would not believe it, but even here life starts to be normal. You can, of course, forever remain as a traveller or on the other hand become a copy of something you’re not. But I find something truly important in every ordinary minute. Firstly I thought about this when I was riding on a motorcycle and there was a slight pleasant breeze in my hair.

When I exceeded the most basic adaptations to the new environment it was time to put life together and make it sensibly. I was sitting across from a blank Word document and wondering what could I give to these young Indians with whom I work. The paper soon began filling up after a while and there also appeared a strong wish to really do something. I prepared the lessons for the conversational classes in which I am trying to involve  the topic of global education during English practice. It starts to become easy for me because I could/can express myself in many topics.
It’s hard to describe the joy of the first day. Despite some problems, I could not  experience anything nicer; the feeling that I could actually run a class and also see that is is all going in the right direction is  priceless. The trainees were not used to my way of working but I think we found a common language to speak. My smile became even bigger when we finished the day with a rain dance and with singing  traditional Indian songs. As usual you learn that there is a connection between input and outcome and that is the most important thing – I got the motivation to work harder in the future.
Even small moments made my day – in the evening at home courtyard I was greeted by a monkey.

 

Moments: All gathering to this one....

Moments: All gathering to this one….

Everything is not ordinary. Do you know the moments when the world moves so slowly that you can feel your bones shifting and your mind tumbling? When you think that no matter what happens to you for the rest of your life, you will remember every last detail of that one minute? And these moments usually seems to be small. There I was, in the middle of  a community having just borrowed a bicycle with two flat tyres. It was hot, I felt lost and there was a man who wanted to help. Firstly I wasn’t totally sure but then I just trusted him. In 30 seconds the street near his tent house was full of people. We didn’t need words to communicate. Children were playing games; women were dancing and after repairing the bike we were all just clapping and smiling to each other. It was a great moment for me, yes.

I love cycling. The places are nearer now and every ride is a kind of adventure. I always get stuck somewhere and I can never get a grip of what is going on. Especially the time when Delhi police officers let the air out of the tyres because I had chained my bike in the wrong place.  But I am not lying to myself – it is hardly possible that I will ever know the crazy streets even around my place.

Happily, Indian people know them well and they are really open to help you.
One of the first things I learned from Indian people is a calmness. I didn’t need the time to figure out that problems in India are even harder to solve and you are the one who has to deal with them. In Slovenia I would probably be totally nervous and  stress but here the ‘carefreeness’ (!) is so contagious.
I have started to love the noise and crowd of the city, but it was still so nice to escape to the mountains where you can sit with farmers, talk with donkeys and eat apples on the high of 2500 meters. Each fresh peak ascended teaches something. Manali, actually a collection of three adjacent hills which each has a village, was one of my first breaks in the North of India, Himachal Pradesh state.
I also spent one weekend in a small village, Kiguli in Punjab state. People here are known for their fearlessness, strength and

Punjab is Pretty!

Punjab is Pretty!

combat skills. This could probably be linked to geographical and political landscape. Through different NGOs and also certain religious and social groups, the awareness of the importance of education is increasing. You feel here a simple peace and tranquility.
After a month I moved to a new home. I was not initially excited about the empty room without furniture and with all the work to move things around. But then I start to think – man, what freedom! My first thought was – do I need a bed? Do I need all these ornaments? No. Less is more. And I love this freedom of choice. I found my own small independent space in this huge city, with a home and with  work that has a sense and I like it. I couldn’t ask for more.

Katja Polc

DSC_0098

Ekta: Balancing Work with Home

Ekta: A Balancing Act..

Ekta: A Balancing Act..

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

Sometimes I Try

Ishita: She loves the camera!

Ishita: She loves the camera!

Meet Ishita Vasishth, Our Volunteer Photographer!
In a world increasingly reliant on technology, events and ceremonies can be shared with people thousands of miles away. For this to happen, however, there must be a medium of exchange readily available. Since she began volunteering with us in December of 2013, Ishita has been a huge help in photographing, videotaping, and visually documenting various facets of ETASHA’s work.

Whether in the community or in our centers, Ishita always brings an enthusiastic attitude and her trusted Canon camera!
Currently a student pursuing BCOM honors at Delhi University, Ishita finds time in her busy schedule to volunteer with us whenever she can. In addition to taking pictures, she also occasionally conducts interviews and contributes to our blog. For the most part, her pictures are used to keep our Facebook page up to date with our most recent classes and daily happenings at centers. “My favorite part about what I do at ETASHA is that I get to go out into the community and take pictures, which is what I love to do, and I usually see those pictures up on Facebook. It’s an all-around fulfilling experience,” Ishita notes.

Still, her work isn’t all easy. As she explains, “The hardest part, for me, is managing all of the traveling around that is required. I love taking pictures, but I’m not much of a travel person. But the best pictures come in areas which require me to travel, so it’s worth it!
Even though she isn’t a full-time employee, Ishita still feels like part of the family, and the reason can be attributed to our amicable work culture!

I don’t feel like I’m any different from any of the other faculty,” she told me. “Even though I’m only a volunteer and I’m a lot younger than most of the people that work here, nobody looks at me as a lesser employee. I’m treated like an equal by everyone.

Even though she’s not as young as me (a fact she never lets me forget), Ishita is still a kid to most of the faculty, but is treated like an adult. While she may be a volunteer, the pictures she has taken of our classes look professional!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Ishita’s has made innumerable written contributions to ETASHA; we can’t wait to see what she comes up with in the future!

You can see lots of Ishita’s work on her Facebook page Sometimes I Try here .
Abhishek Bhargava

Subhadra: An Eye for Detail

An eye for Detail: Sbhadra

An eye for Detail: Subhadra

Meet Subhadra Tiwari: CDC One’s New Centre Manager! With her youthfully blithe smile and effervescent demeanor, one might easily mistake Subhadra for a trainee or visitor to CDC 1 at Madanpur Khadar. However, after observing her interaction with her colleagues and students for just a few minutes, it’s easy to see why she has become such a successful center manager since joining ETASHA.

 

When I asked her how long she had been associated with the organization, she didn’t respond with the expected “just over a month” or “almost two months now.” Instead, she paused, thought for a moment, and excitedly replied, “Since June 2nd, 2014.” These first ten seconds of the interview revealed an important facet of her personality: the little things (which are inconsequential features to others) matter to her. In fact, it is this scrupulous attention to detail that makes her such an effective administrator: she focuses on every issue that arises, no matter how small, but never allows a challenge to overwhelm her.

 

From 2007 to 2011, Subhadra worked another NGO from which she discovered the job opening at ETASHA; soon after, she applied for a position. As center manager, Subhadra has the responsibility of ensuring every little aspect of the centre is functioning properly—and dealing with it when it’s not.

 

On a typical day, her myriad duties might include (but are certainly not limited to): ensuring class materials are in order and ready to use before classes start, organizing class worksheets, making sure that all facilitators are present for their classes, holding students accountable for multiple absences, find new ways to broadcast ETASHA’s mission in the community, overlook placements, make sure the facilities are operative, and pretty much anything and everything else.

 

When she recited this list, however, Subhadra didn’t seem the least bit daunted. Instead, I got the distinct impression that having this much responsibility excited her, because she knew she could handle it, and still have energy to spare. What does she do with this energy? She facilitates, of course! On top of addressing a mountain of daily administrative responsibilities, Subhadra also steps in as a substitute facilitator whenever a regular staff member is unavailable.

 

To do this, she observes the first few sessions of every class so she can teach it if need be. Why? To make sure that a day is never wasted for the trainees, even if their regular facilitator is out. In a service-based organization like ETASHA, it’s important to remember that all the machinations—fundraisers, new centers, employee expansion—should have the end goal of benefitting the trainees themselves. Subhadra realizes this, and has learned to put the long term well-being of our trainees over anything else, including short-term gratification.

 

She recalls, “I remember on my first day, we were doing a community visit, and one of the trainees asked me how to get from one location to another. Just as I was about to tell him, another facilitator pulled me aside and told me that our goal as facilitators was not to hold their hands, but to be behind them, pushing them and motivating them. Because in the real world, they have to be able to problem solve on their own. That is why we have to self-motivate them, not necessarily hand the solution to them every time.” Indeed, this type of self-induced personal growth is what Subhadra loves to see in her trainees.

 

Her favorite memory in her 40 days thus far with us is her first metro visit with the trainees from CDC 1. With facilitators and center managers like her, the trainees are in good hands! Stay tuned to hear more about the people that make our organization so special! –Abhishek Bhargava

Words are only a part of the Story…

 

We feel SLOVEinia...: Katja

We feel SLOVEini…: Katja

I came to India because there was no reason not to. The start was as smooth as butter. Firstly I found out that airports are slowly becoming my friends  and I was, like always, impressed by the mixed salad of people. Already I felt the mystique of India with the Frenchman sitting next to me, for I knew what he was searching for in India without really asking him. Like many others he came to find the peace of  the mountains and of the blue elders. The weather did not surprise me. In the atmosphere was the smell of monsoon and I can freely present it like one of the most romantic moments that nature can create. Delhi in the evening, still hot and a haze in the sky.

Anyway, sure we are almost dying because of the heat, but I found out that the biggest mistake that you can make here is to use air conditioning. You are done if you use it, because the body prefers the minimum of temperature amplitudes. I declare the owner of the house for my Indian mother. Maybe getting ahead of myself, but the first impression of the first Indian evening was favorable and especially, surprisingly – it feels like a home.

The reason why i am here is the EVS project We feel Slovenia and India: international volunteering for active global citizenship”.  EVS stands for European voluntary service, which project is a partnership between two or more organizations, in my case between Voluntariat (in Slovenia) and ETASHA society.

 

ETASHA society works extremely well. It helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Delhi and other areas to increase their opportunities in employment. But most important, I see in their work  a vision of how to change the whole society.   The first day was already devoted for visiting  these communities. It flashed through me – my biggest fear of leaving my home was the lack of green space in this huge city but it was unnecessary.

 

I am living in an area that is surrounded with parks  in a size of the Slovenian capital city Ljubljana  and what makes me the most happy was the fact that they are more noticeable than the markets. Unfortunately, this is not true for large slums areas, urban and marginalized, with no privacy, no space for work and play; with no real daylight and no real natural circuit. It might be necessary to write about these places and people who live there but sometimes I feel like it has already been told so many times and never really heard. It is enough the thought of how much space occupies the largest Delhi Road and compare it with these areas.

 

In the first week I mostly observed the classes and I was introduced to the methodology of the Direct Approach, which was adopted by ETASHA (initially as a reaction against the grammar translation approach which students had experience in school and not flourished with) in an attempt to integrate more of  the target language in classroom.

 

The classrooms in which the organization operates are simple but full of energy. There is not a lot of teacher talking; body language is used to help interpret the substance and and at the same time convey the feelings and welfare of participants. Honestly I can not deny that sometimes I myself felt like the student :). But I am learning so much and I hope I can repay all I have already gotten.

I am excited about India’s sustainable life. The way of living, eating, showering and recycling is something  so natural and what actually the rest of the world should learn. Understanding the organization of life in Delhi which is six times the  size of the whole population of Slovenia is not easy. I found out that technology does not like me no matter where I am in the world and in the beginning I felt a little bit lost. But in fact I get nearly lost in the parks  but not on the chaotic Indian roads.

 

Even still transport should be declared the greater danger. The pleasant days are getting longer and longer. Morning yoga is like a high, driving through streets a great way to understand Indian culture and the evenings a great time to learn to cook Indian cuisine. But still, to understand you have to open your eyes and words are only a part of the story…

 

Katja Polc, July 2014

 

1 2 3 17