Aspire for her is a national foundation which works towards various social causes like women empowerment and education. This is why it collaborated with the Project Balika around November 2020 inviting volunteers from across the nations to participate and teach basic English to the underprivileged girls in India. I was keen on participating as soon as I heard about it from a friend who was associated with the foundation. As a requirement, I was supposed to follow a 15-week course syllabus provided by the team itself and follow through with it along with a 12- year old girl from southern India settled currently in Mumbai named Nehal Parmar.
LO 2: Demonstrate that they have undertaken challenges, developing new skills in the process.
Teaching is always a task that requires a multitude of skills and qualities, especially when you are a student yourself. That is why tutoring a kid on my own for almost 4 months was a big challenge I undertook. I was aware of the hard work and dedication and openness to adapt that was required to complete the volunteer program. It was also more difficult given the online nature of interaction especially when she faced issues like connectivity and font size due to using a phone for the classes on a regular basis. Still I managed to keep in touch via whatsapp to give her home assignments for more clarity and practice. I also had to make sure the classes were fun and in a light environment so she felt I was approachable whenever she had any questions.
LO 4: Show commitment and perseverance in their CAS experience.
As I said, constant communication was key to enduring that she was actually learning something fruitful form the lessons. For almost 4 months, we were in constant communication, texting weekly about doubts and homework tasks and setting time for the classes as per both our conveniences. I had to be fully invested in the program because a time gap would result in lagging in the curriculum and moreover a learning space out for her which I did not want her to have so with complete dedication, I made sure to schedule weekly classes and on the days I could npt, I made sure to keep her occupied with some work or other activities. I also incorporated fun non academic activities like getting to know each other by playing 20 questions or jamming to her favourite songs during the classes to lighten the mood.
LO 6: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
The entire motive behind the volunteer program was to encourage female education and ensure its quality which directly related to the sustainable development goals – quality education associated with gender equality. It becomes difficult for underprivileged kids to get access to quality education especially when it comes to females and the social restrictions imposed on them. I recognized this and ensured that I contributed my best to aid the cause even if it was one kid at a time.
LO 7: Recognise and consider the ethics of choices and actions.
The implications of my actions did not skip my mind as I was aware with every class I conducted, I was helping a cause bigger than just me or her. Using my privilege of receiving quality level higher education, I attempted to use that to contribute to a cause of global significance and this realization also made me more mindful of my actions and lesson with Nehal and encourages me to participate in more such initiatives which helped not only those around me but lead to me growing as a global citizen as well.
I developed on my learner profile attribute of being an effective communicator as even though online, I had to be in constant contact with Nehal be it via zoom calls for the lessons or texting as an alternate mode of contact. Also, the balance of academic and extracurricular activities throughout high school. Initiatives taken in group projects and club activities. And the pursuing of non-academic projects like internships, fellowships, out-of school competitions, etc done out of self-taken initiatives taught me the LP of balanced and other imperative skills like organization, communication, prioritizing and delegating.