YCS volunteer Tripti Poddar explains how YCS gave to each participant much beyond what their initial expectations.
23 of us, young motivated people joined the pilot programme of Youth Citizens Services (YCS) 2015 hoping to get some direction to our professional aspirations or to be inspired or to effect some change however small or big. But what YCS gave to each one of us was much beyond what we had envisaged on that first day we met for our orientation programme.
After a week of understanding the development sector, volunteering and discovering ourselves, we were assigned community development projects to work on, in two locations of Delhi and Rajasthan.
My counterpart Swarna and I were assigned a project to teach spoken English to two groups of about 25 girls each in our journey of six weeks. We worked together as a team and set our goals, discussed methodologies, developed curriculum and expressed happiness about teaching English and building confidence in girls.
Over the span of six weeks, we had the time of our lives. We met some of the most amazing kids and they inspired us in ways even the most influential people of the world haven’t. These 50 girls, who by the way from being aged nine years to 25 years changed thinking of not just the two of us but other community people around them along with people holding authoritative positions.
They made us believe in our human ability to bring and effect change and sparked a hope that good things are possible. The most significant incident was where they shared their learning with the VSO team members who visited our teaching centre. The girls had a different level of energy that day. They spoke in fluent English sharing what they had learnt in last three weeks. Their confidence level was extremely contagious. They even asked one of the visitors to attend and participate in their class.
Why this was so inspiring was because we had asked them specifically to talk in English like they did in class. They complied and surprised everyone. These girls talk in English in class but otherwise too and encourage other staff at the centre to talk in English and to learn the language.
The next day, we noticed a complete transformation in them. They were happy, positive and full of life. They were interacting and learning from each other. I remember their first day in class, where all of them raised their hands on being asked how many of them thought they don’t know English.
As part of this YCS experience, our biggest learning is that if pushed in the right direction and given the right environment, these girls can amaze anyone and everyone with their talent, potential and positivity. They have the power to inspire people in the dullest of times. We hope that with YCS, we have been able to move their world in the right direction.