We are delighted to share a blog written by Vedika Mandapati, a student at Pathways World School, Aravali who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2019-20 Global Goals Competition.
Their project is among over 957 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community.
Moksha is a Sanskrit word which refers to various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberation, release and freedom from a cycle of repression. This project aims to combat employability issues in rural Haryana- the region of India that surrounds our school. Most students studying in the Senior Secondary Government Schools near us do not pursue higher education, and many end up in jobs- not careers.
On a school-led service trip to the thirteen schools near our own, Team Moksha saw firsthand the lack of confidence these students had when it came to speaking publicly. Their body language and tone were dead giveaways that they were reciting quotes from memory rather than attempting to have a meaningful exchange with us.
After researching the issue further, we decided to create a workshop-based service module that would work on these issues at a micro-level. Our workshops focus on soft-skills such as communication and teamwork- skills that are left out entirely from the national curriculum. In an environment where success is determined only by grades, and grades determined only by memorization, it is our mission to guide these students to alternate forms of success.
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of this process thus far has been convincing the government school leadership to put their faith in us. Our methods of ‘teaching’ come across as extremely unconventional to them- we play team building games, joke with the students, and hand out prizes for team achievements. This is part of our attempt to integrate ourselves with the students as their peers, not their teachers. So far, it is the already established relationship between the government schools and our own that has allowed us to continue leading sessions.
This experience has been fulfilling in ways we never could have imagined- not only opening our eyes to the challenges of people around us, but to our own privilege. We’ve also each uncovered our own truths, gaining insight into our own persistence, passions and hopes.
By taking feedback on our workshop ‘curriculum’ from teachers certified in the teaching of the UNSDGs and consulting with experts in the professional world, we’ve understood how to lead workshops, develop personalities and bring people out of their own shells.
The Next Chapter
So far, we’ve run workshops on Confidence & Communication, and will run our first workshop on Digital Communication next weekend. We are building up our workshops to a job interview with an HR professional. To better prepare them for this, we are also planning a ‘Career Day’ where they can meet with professionals from the 4 most sought-after careers. Before we began our program, we asked the students to fill in a survey about their ideal careers. Professions such as law and medicine may seem elusive, but to let them go without even trying is unacceptable.
Such is our call to action for every young change maker out there. Don’t let your dreams of a better world slip away without even trying to make an impact.
The 2019-20 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2020. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.