Role model inspires community

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18 April 2018

From giving, springs growth, and Shakti’s story is a case in point. Shakti lives in a low-income community in the vicinity of a tribal pocket in Mumbai’s sprawling suburb of Powai. She had limited access to education and exposure to the world in general. Yet, she managed to develop a sense of empowerment and self-confidence. Here’s how.

Shakti began teaching children in the tribal pocket in 2008. In such communities, many families make a living through sustenance-based activities, such as fishing, vegetable cultivation and firewood collection. To encourage the children to go to school, an NGO, Navnirmati, runs an after-school support programme at the balwadis and study centres, which help children to cope with the basic numeracy and language skills. The result is that children here are more inclined to go to school than those living in the same area, ten years ago. A key feature of this programme is that women from within the community are chosen to teach at the balwadis and study centres. Shakti was one of these women.

Shakti enjoyed teaching the children, constantly finding simple and fun ways of engaging their attention. Sensing her potential to become a valued resource person for other women in all tribal communities covered by the program, Navnirmati requested her to expand her role. She was hesitant to assume new responsibilities – citing lack of time, family commitments, and a reluctance to travel distances. However, she overcame her obstacles, assumed her new role, and today is a resource person at the Community Learning Centre, guiding other teachers on content and delivery.

Happy and confident, Shakti evaluates community teachers and shares her learning and inputs constructively with women like herself, helping them grow as teachers despite the odds. She is a true role model.

Shakti started small. But, thanks to the opportunities she discovered, she now stands tall.

L&T CSR supports the educational project of Navnirmiti in a community where Shakti lives.

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