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CONQUERING THE BARRIERS

I have been of the opinion that the content of the study material should be such that could be challenging for the students. I was assigned a task to train students on English.  These students were going through a six-month program on Life Transformation skills. I thought it best to apply the training regimes that were applied by my teachers back in the day when I was in school. I was of the opinion that a constant practice schedule and a few tips and tricks can help these students enhance their knowledge about English speaking. However, it took me sometime to realize that I was not considering a very important factor!

Our team leader had been handling one of the batches of students hailing from a small tehsil in Maharashtra. He asked me to review a number of videos that the students had sent. This was a task given to them, wherein they had to introduce themselves in English. I was expecting a bunch of mistakes from the students, but somewhere I was sure that I will receive a considerably good performance from all of the students. When I went through the videos, I was quite delighted to see that they had all recorded themselves and were speaking in English – which is not a normal case for any rural youth in India.  However, I noticed that all the students were speaking as per a particular script. All of them were following the very same pattern, needless to mention the frequent grammatical errors. At the very first instance I knew that this procedure will never help them speak English fluently.

My team leader and I were convinced that we needed to employ a more targeted method, defined by RSA, for a fundamental enhancement in their skills. It was quite clear by their performance that in their attempt to use correct grammar, the flow of thoughts was being hampered. We addressed this point in the conference calls with the batch and apprised the students about a few ways that can help them enhance the flow of thoughts. One of the advices that we extended to the students was to think in English, and make it a habit.  The rationale that RSA has for this approach is that most people face trouble with speaking English because they first translate a statement in English in their mind and then try to speak the same. This is one of the biggest reasons that hamper the fluency in spoken English. We knew we had to get this in their minds, so we did the best we could to make them understand.

Instilling a new procedure in the minds of the students was no walk in the park. We assigned them a simple task to do. We asked the students to look around the room they are in and see if they could name all the articles in English. In addition to this we asked them to make a list of the things they couldn’t name. Once they we ab le to name all the articles in their room, we extended the scope of the exercise, now we asked them to try to name everything that they see in their daily lives in English. We instructed them to make it a habit to refer to those articles in English only. This was the kind of exercise which would take a lot of time to adapt for anyone who is not well versed with speaking in English, therefore we were at peace with the fact that we won’t see big changes anytime soon.

However, the students welcomed the idea and proceeded as per our instructions. The initial steps of this procedure were definitely tough for the students. The students never gave up and persevered through it all. What really boosted our enthusiasm was the fact that in a short span of two weeks we could notice that the students were now more confident with their sentence formation and pronunciation. The efforts of the students were clearly visible in their performance yet we insisted on giving them more time to let this habit sink in.   

Time flew and we kept on nurturing this habit in their minds to think in English. After a span of one month, once again we assigned them the task of recording a video about any topic of their choice. We received a prompt response from the students, which in itself suggested that they were more confident and keen on sharing what they had to say. The videos that were sent to us were way better than the previous ones. This time the students were more creative in their videos. All of the students chose a variety of topics to speak about. These topics ranged from explaining about their future plans to current affairs. Although all the students performed exceptionally well, a few out of them stood out from the crowd as they exhibited extraordinary growth in the confidence level. Not only their confidence but also their imagination, decorated their efforts to produce a beautiful result. The improvement is now clearly visible in all the students of the batch. Most have found their confidence while some are yet to find it, nevertheless there is definitely a positive growth in their personality.

Every batch of students that we deal with strengthens our understanding about human potential and human behavior. This batch of students strengthened our belief that all hindrances that we face in doing anything are mostly mental barriers. These blockades can be dealt with in multiple ways and the way we deal with them greatly affects the outcome.

Guiding, Educating, training and supporting such individuals brings about a positive change in the lives of the students and prepares them for any possible challenge that life may throw at them. Once they make it through this process, they begin seeking excellence over success, knowledge over money and happiness over fame. Getting in touch with his inner self enables them enough to value the basic essence of life and strengthens them to face all adversities and make their dreams a reality…          

The Change in Thinking

Ruralshores Skills Academy (RSA) has been working for the betterment of youth in rural areas since 2012. I started working with them from September 2019. During the last six months, I have visited various centres and trained more than 300 youth.  During my first visit to Sausar (Madhya Pradesh) I met 19 young people who had opted for the training program known as Life Transformation Program (LTP). Before working with RSA I used to give classroom trainings but now I had to give the same training with different methods. At First, I was not sure that this kind of training will have any future but my thinking changed after a few break-throughs.

During my first visit to Sausar I met the participants. After meeting all of the participants I understood that they needed a lot of improvement. I was still confused that how this kind of training can help them out. All my confusions faded away after I saw their responses in the first month. I could see exceptional changes in the participants. Their confidence level had increased and they had started replying in English.

Few examples that I think are worth mentioning are, specifically, Mona and Suraj. These two were just like any of the other students. They both started doing the program in June 2019 but by September 2019 their English communication had improved a lot. A huge change was evident in their work also. Suraj got promotion and Mona was the star performer for three consecutive months. The other participants of that batch had also improved performance exponentially.

The biggest reason for the success of this program is that during the program people were actively involved in self-learning and they were not judged by their mistakes. The curriculum is such that a mere 15 minute class every day is enough to complete this program. This program is showing commendable results in all of the other centres as well.

The entire LTP program is divided into six months. After six months most of the participants saw a huge change in their thinking and their way of handling situations. The first part of the program focuses totally on spoken English while the second part is more about soft skills and life skills. Most of the students lack these basic skills that are covered in this program. In my most humble opinion more youngsters and working professionals should join this program to enhance their skill set so that they could prepare themselves for the challenges that lay ahead in their lives and progress towards a better future and career.

Guiding the Youth in the Right Direction

 OPEN THE CURTAINS

I am Salma Ansari. I belong to a typical conservative Muslim family. Traditionally, it is not allowed for women to go outside and look for a job in my family. Beside my parents, I have five sisters and one younger brother.

I came to know about RuralShores Skills Academy (RSA) through a friend. Initially my father was opposed to the idea of letting me go outside the home and join RSA. Also, he did not believe that one-month training was going to get me a worthy job. But after visiting the RSA center and meeting the trainers, he was convinced that learning a skill will help his daughter recognize her capabilities and develop her talent. He changed his mind and allowed me to take admission in RSA and get trained in a job-oriented skill.

Earlier I had low confidence and couldn’t speak well. I was shy, scared and used to the family tradition of laying low and staying behind the curtains. But at RSA training center, I practiced and was able to vastly improve my confidence and groom my personality. While giving answers and explanations, I practiced talking in English in front of the entire class. My friends at RSA and the trainers were very encouraging. Slowly, my hesitation at speaking in English and in public vanished. Now, I am proud that I can confidently present myself in front of people and put forth my viewpoints with assertiveness. I don’t get scared very easily now.
The positive learning environment in RSA has given me optimism, energy and encouragement. I got a lot of support and motivation from the trainers. The trainers guided me through the fog of my insecurities and misgivings and helped me find the right direction in my career.

While sitting for placement interviews, I got selected in RuralShores Business Services (RSBS) as a Customer Care Executive in my first attempt. Now I am adept at attending customer calls and get many accolades and appreciation from my customers, subordinates and managers. Recently, I received an award for my good performance. It was a high point of my life. With my aspirations and success, I think I have established myself as a role model for the other female members of my community. I feel I have closed the curtains behind me. 

-Salma Ansari

Finding the Purpose of Life

RuralShores Skills Academy – Mermaid in the Sea of Sorrow

 My name is Mina Rafique Shaikh. I have completed B.Sc. (Industrial Science). I am from Shingnapur village which is situated approximately 6 Km from Kopargaon. I belong to a middle class family. My family includes my parents and two sisters.

About a year ago, I was facing some personal issues and was depressed and suicidal. My family was going through a financial crisis and I was struggling to find a reason to live. One day, I was sitting at my home feeling dejected and low-spirited. Maybe the God sensed my misery or maybe it was a pleasant coincidence in my life that my neighbor uncle who was aware of my situation came to meet me. He asked me to join RuralShores Skills Academy (RSA) – if only for refreshing my brain and changing my mindset.

 It was my first day at RSA, when the trainer sir at RSA asked me to introduce myself in the class. This forced me to focus on myself, my strengths and my abilities. Who am I?

 The casual first self-introduction just didn’t introduce me in the front of the class but also reminded me of my identity. After a counselling session at RSA, I realized my life need not be ended just yet. I happily realized that I have the caliber to prove myself with my skills and knowledge. I decided to develop my identity. I am going to be someone!

 Thereafter, I got trained in basic computer skills and typing. I started regaining my lost confidence. All thanks to RSA team at Kopargaon. They were like “mermaids in the sea of sorrow” and came to save me from drowning myself. I didn’t even have the money to pay the fees for the training. I was lucky to have Chandrao Sir who trusted me and gave me a chance to complete my training by paying my fees from his own pocket. In the class, I found many other students struggling with one or the other reason and I realized I am not alone. Difficulties are present everywhere. We need to deal with them.

 Thereafter, I was called for an interview at RSBS. I belonged to the batch of 30 students who sat for the interview and I was selected as a Process Associate. I now set a new aim for myself. I decided I will prove that girls can survive without support if they get proper guidance and skill training. It was RSA who gave me a new birth.

 I have previous work-experience. The event of first salary happiness had happened years ago in my life. But this salary at RSBS gave me a heartfelt satisfaction. For some reason, it was beyond the first salary moment.

 Today I am SPA for Quality and Training department in Non-telecom process. I am the first SPA in Kopargaon center to be acknowledged. I am grateful to our DGM who recognized my abilities and gave me a chance to progress and bloom in my career.

Not only my family but all my neighbors are proud of me for achieving this great victory.

 I have learnt, the most important thing is,

“Do what you love, if not

Love what you do”.

 I believe we must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.

Special thanks to RSA and RSBS RuralShores, Kopargaon!

Sincerely,

Mina Shaikh

Foundational Training Batch 2016

Kopargaon, Maharashtra.

Impacting College Girls Purposefully!

Value Creation

RSA tied up with DLF Foundation (DLFF) to deliver quality and value in the case of a large, focused and ‘only girls’ college in Gurugram.  RSA determined to ensure an appropriate set of girls will take out extra time and go through On-line courses from a few entities that provide for a large number of structured and self-study courses online.

Girls can go through these courses without any usage charges which are offered free by Online providers – except for their certification.  So when they need a certification, then DLFF covers the cost for them.  Last year we trained and certified over 300 girls in this manner.

This year the girls reaching out to us for the courses is much higher!  There are about 7,000 girls in the college and we need to select and give opportunities to the girls who are typically in final year of college.  Then we help them choose the courses that align with what they are studying in college and will make them better employable with online training.

The Online training covers videos, assessments, and reading material organized appropriately and in the right manner.

Delivering Government and Foundation’s Vision and Mission through RuralShores Skills Academy efforts

DLFF provides a clear direction and then funds the center for running the show.  Ruralshores Skills Academy provides the trainers and managers for the center to drive the center and manage the right training by girls.  Guiding them on learning English, so that they can learn and pick up from the online courses fast enough.  Government had built the infrastructure and provided the girls college as the main resource center.

Together, the three organizations are making the impact possible!

Here are some statements and comments recorded from students about what they feel and what they study:

Tulsi- did a course in technical voice re-coding as she is doing her graduation in music only.  She finds this course really informative and practical and believes that after completion of this she can get in to the same profession.

Sharmila- she pursued a course in programming from Microsoft.  She is confident in writing codes and wants to go ahead with more courses in coding so that she can move in to software development.

Jyoti- completed a course in English communication and finds is extremely helpful as she feels confident and less hesitant while communicating in English.

These are a few examples how the college girls achieve what were only dreaming of.  RSA has been giving directions and means to the girls so that they can not only move towards achieving their goals and but they must become what they want to in their prospective careers.

The Project was started when DLF Foundation agreed with Government Authority to start supporting and driving it in association with RuralShores Skills Academy Pvt Ltd.  The project has been given the name of “Golden Jubilee eLearning Project”.

Sarita, Trainer from RSA:  This is a joint effort of Haryana Government, DLF Foundation and RuralShores Skills Academy to empower girls coming from rural areas to the college. These girls are, many times, not even aware that such good career options exist. We help them to find the right path for their bright future by consulting and helping them.

Students who are from B.com, we suggest to them courses related to banking, E finance, Economics, and courses in market analysis etc. Students from Arts side can go into teaching administration and choose a course for their hobbies like music and arts as well.  The girls who are not even familiar with the computers we need to help them by training how to use a computer and introducing the modern electronic way of learning.

We hope that it can create a major learning mechanism for all girls across India in the long run!

RSA is willing to work with Foundations that want to really skill the under-served youth.