I joined SwaTaleem through my Experiential Learning Module at the Young India Fellowship. I chose this project as I did feel we have gaps in the education sector that we need to address and the idea of working with girls to build their socio emotional skills really excited me. These past few months of working at KGBV Jalmana have taught me a lot. I have definitely learnt a lot more about how the education space in India is specially seeing it at the grassroots level. What I have also learnt is how to create lesson plans and independently conduct sessions for the same that are related to concepts of critical thinking, creativity and gender. A lot of this has been possible due to the support extended by SwaTaleem, through interactions with Vaibhav, Ananya and Bharat. Before we went on field, Bharat helped us to understand the intricacies of working in a school where there is no level playing field of access to education. Further we had an expert training session by Kavya, on gender sensitization which helped us to understand the context we would be working in as well as helped us understand the importance of reflections specially as a facilitator.
What I enjoy most about this process is that the girls are very enthusiastic to learn and are filled with energy.We conducted a baseline assessment and all of them have great aspirations to be IPS officers or join the police or be teachers and their love for learning helps me to do my best as a facilitator. It has helped me to design better and creative lesson plans so as to engage with them a little more and have a more focused impact every time I conduct a session.
Something that stood out for me is their creativity specially when we asked them to design their own flags and country for Republic Day. They came up with their country name, the rights people would have and spoke about the best part about their country. When I received answers such as “there is no untouchability in my country”, or “trees are everyone’s best friend”, it really humbled me to know that some of the girls are trying to talk about social issues that they see around their lives, in the classroom. Another session where I learned a lot as a facilitator was when we tried to address gender biases. I realized that the popular of genders associated with ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ color are not something I could use in their context since it is a very urban concept. Instances like these help me realize I have as much to learn from them as I try to teach.
About the Author: Nayonika Jotsinghani
Nayonika, is currently pursuing the Young India Fellowship 2020, from Ashoka University. She is working with SwaTaleem as part of the ELM project and is a facilitator at KGBV Jalmana. She really enjoys working with children and is passionate about the education sector. She hopes to continue her work in education post the fellowship and one day aspires to create sustainable solutions for addressing some of the gaps that are prevalent in the education sector in India.