When everyone relaxes, a few choose not to. When everyone has excuses for postponing work, a few find a reason for doing it. When someone chooses to work despite all odds, chooses to get up and try one more time after every fall, there emerges a winner.

This is an inspirational true story of one such FEA student, Heena Khatun. When I joined as a facilitator, just like any other classroom, I too had a mixed set of students. Some were really bright, some were very talkative, some fun loving students and a lot of shy and reserved ones. I also had a surprisingly shy, yet welcoming, student who clearly stood out from the crowd, not because of her appearance but because of her inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn more. Everything in the FEA classroom, from laptops to chart papers, amazed her. There was perceptible and inexplicable joy on her face when she was asked to speak in public.

One fine day, I was astounded to learn that, Heena never had the opportunity to go to a school. Due to lack of family support and finances, she could never attend a school. All she had learned was out of her curiosity from a local tuition class and her friends who were privileged to go to school. I felt miserable thinking that after so many years of independence, education in India is still denied to many children.

James Stephens must have Heena in mind when he said, “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will”. I have been a witness to this quote. With each passing day, her curiosity led her to question and acquire knowledge, making her get better in English. She went on to clear level after level, sometimes in the very first attempt and at times after re-evaluation. Never deterred by a failure, she marched right on. When she was in her final level, she could not clear all the strands in the first go.

Few days later, she came to me and said, “Before the final evaluation, I was really nervous. I had heard that it’s very difficult to score B2 in all strands. I thought, I could not clear the evaluation this time but I have learnt in Book 5 how to beat the odds, how important our attitude is, how powerful our thoughts can be and so many inspirational stories that we had discussed in class. Thinking about all that gave me goose bumps and motivation to be ready for yet another challenge – re-evaluation of FTS -5.”

Every time I look at Heena, I remember what Pele said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

Heena is working hard, persevering, learning, sacrificing and loves to learn, so I am confident that her success in FTS 5 is just a matter of time.

Aarti Bhoria

Facilitator – Naraina


While I was walking down the road to catch a bus, someone came up running behind me and stopped me in my track.
He looked familiar but I could not place him, and the boy introduced himself as Rahul Kumar, a student of Samaspur branch of FEA. Rahul reminded me that he had attended a Book Discussion that I had conducted at his branch. It was a pleasant surprise to see him speaking confidently.

Rahul is the first member from his family to go to college and his grandparents would like to see him perform in English on stage during the college event. When we met the other day, he greeted me and requested me to recommend an English song that he can perform on stage in his college.

With the humdrum of a public bus stop around me, it was a treat listening to him share about his life in college. He explained how it was a contrast to his days in the government school where he neither had the opportunity nor the confidence to speak in English. A little more than a year of practice at FEA has resulted in a huge difference in his life. He is the go-to person for his peers in college who need assistance during the English lecture. I noticed that he was using phrases liberally and appropriately, as he spoke. I laughed out loud when he asked, pointing at the plastic bag in my hand, “What are you carrying in this plastic bag? Plastics are non-biodegradable.” Never before had I loved being corrected for my behaviour! Never before did I have such an enriching conversation at a bus stop!

Just before my bus arrived, he said sagaciously, “Sir, there are many such Rahuls for whom FEA has been a life changing platform. To speak a global language is a source of tremendous joy.”

Students like Rahul make all the young leaders at FEA believe more firmly that destiny changes when we work hard.

Avishek Singh

Curriculum Manager

“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” (Sharon Draper)


One such perfectly happy moment was when it was announced ‘…And the first prize goes to…. Ankit Nagar’ during the prize distribution of the FEA Facilitators Quiz Contest. This was my unforgettable moment.

Rewind to December 2016, I read the mail about “FEA QUIZ CONTEST” and I could hear myself say, “I can win this!!” Being an engineer by training, I was confident of sailing through in logical and reasoning categories with ease. I was buzzing with excitement.

The quiz stretched over 3-4 months with one round completed every month. The very first round had all 300+ facilitators of FEA participate and with each  round, some of them were eliminated from the quiz. The first round was to include reasoning, general knowledge, literature and current affairs. While preparing for this round, I managed to read recommended library books. In that round, as in all others, facilitators from all across Delhi and UP participated and I bagged the second position, feeling fortunate and blessed. The appreciation and honor I received was more precious than any material gift. With every round my self-esteem and the confidence grew. And I continued to win all the rounds. Victory in these rounds also brought popularity and I  made many friends in each of these rounds.

All of us started eagerly to look forward to the Reconnects when these rounds were held.

For the Finale on  27th April, 2017, 31 finalists from all over Delhi and UP were called to the Head Office. It was heartening to see other finalists their supporters, along with some FEA graduates. Each one of us felt like a winner.




This was more diverse and exciting contest than the previous rounds. It was well prepared and planned. There were 6 different categories and each one of them was tougher than other. I decided not be nervous but to enjoy every bit of it as it was designed to be enjoyed. I attempted every round with enthusiasm.

During this journey of participation, I learned that winning is not everything. The joyful experience that we savored over these few months and the memories which I carry from all these rounds will be cherished throughout my life.

And the moment when my name was announced as the winner of FEA QUIZ CONTEST-2017 was splendid one. It has motivated me to work harder as an individual and as a facilitator.

Hoping, for more such contests in the near future.


Ankit Nagar

Tehkhand (PM Facilitator)

In September 2016, FEA started its spoken English course for about 20 young cyclists, who had come from all around India to coach and prepare for 2020 Olympics. At FEA, we call them, ‘Future Olympians’.

Every Saturday and Sunday one of FEA staff members goes to the Indira Gandhi International Stadium and teaches them English using the FEA program. These are 14 -18 year old students who have been identified and selected from Andaman & Nicobar, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Manipur and other parts of India to be groomed and trained to compete in 2020 Olympics to be held in Japan. These students reside in the hostel of the stadium, train for 4 hours in the morning, then go to a regular school and train again for two hours after school. Having studied in rural schools, none of the students could speak English and were finding it difficult to cope with schooling and life in Delhi. So FEA got involved. For Future Olympians, the FEA classes are held between 10:00 am- 1:00 pm on the weekends given their gruelling school and practice schedule. They are super naughty, a bit stubborn, hyper active and eager to learn something new. Their early morning practice leaves them tired, still when they enter the class their faces light up at the thought of mischief and tricking the teacher.

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In November it was my birthday. Usually, birthdays are mere annual events – they come and go. However, sometimes the people around us make it so special that its etched in our souls for years to come.

On my birthday last year, I was showered with blessings, calls, messages, Facebook posts and so on. Still I was missing home and had to hold back my tears time and again. When I went to teach the Future Olympians, things struck me as odd. All of them were already in conference room where the classes are held (usually they  trickle in slowly after the class begins). All were grinning from ear to ear with mischief in their eyes. As I opened the door, I was greeted with a chorus of “Happy Birthday ….”by the 23 Future Olympians, their Senior Coach Amar Singh (international cycling coach, an Arjuna awardee) and other coaches of the Cycling Federation of India. There were ribbons and balloons, bouquet, tea, biscuits, juice and, in the middle of the room, on the table a big birthday cake.  I was overwhelmed with emotions, stunned to do or say anything.

I consider it my good fortune to get respect and love from these students, who practice from 5:30 in the morning irrespective of weather, fatigue and sickness and go to bed only after midnight.  They go to a regular school, where many of them are struggling due to their inability to communicate in English. After the celebration, I went to thank Coach Amar Singh and modestly said, “Sir, there was really no need for this. Your blessings were more than enough….”  He responded with, “I have seen these kids evolve from in-disciplined teenagers to dedicated youngsters, in a short span of few months. They have learnt team work and a common language to communicate. It makes them less home sick and bond better with each other. All credit goes to FEA.” I felt pride and humility simultaneously.

These same students all under the age of 17 have set 3 new national records in their cycling meet in December 2016. As I celebrate their accomplishment, I realize what we do for our students, is so little compared to what they give us in return.

Aditi Bisht

Coach (Music-based Learning)

There is a very simple formula if you are not able to do something. Start to pretend that you can and that you are doing well. Soon it will become real and you will enjoy it. If you have fear of speaking in public, just pretend that you have no such fears and that you enjoy public speaking. After some time it will be real. If you feel hesitant, just behave as if you are confident and, believe me, very soon you will not be hesitant. Once you have the initial confidence that is necessary to believe that you can do it, you work to get better at whatever it is that you are faking.

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Photo Courtesy - http://coolthingsworld.com

Let me give you a real life example -

There was a boy who was very shy and could not talk in presence of other people. He liked to stay alone and whenever he had to hold conversation with others, he shivered and stammered. Then, he joined Freedom English Academy (FEA) in March 2015 as a student. F.E.A was a life changing platform for him. He was learning not only English but also how to behave for success. He was taught to become a self-motivated person. He soon began to fight with his fears. In the beginning, he spoke in front of others shaking and shivering, but pretending that he was doing fine. With regular participation and practice his fears began to fade away.

The boy who could not speak in presence of another person, now speaks confidently in front of many people, everyday.

I thank my facilitator,

Who boarded me in elevator.

The elevator of success,

Where I had all the access

To all that was not weak.

So I started to speak.

I am still in the elevator.

And now I am also a facilitator.

And yes, that boy is me.

Remember faking is the first step that gets you in. It must built upon it, with effort and introspection, for fake to become and stay real.

Deepak Verma


FEA Kheriya Mor (Agra)


Life. Life has its way to twist and turn things. It also has its way of making sense. Every unexpected turn that we have to take is almost like a leap of faith, we take it with fear and hope. There are 99 reasons to not do something and yet sometimes just 1 reason is enough to overpower the rest. That is how my journey with FEA began. It began with the thought, “maybe not.” But I gave it a shot, and it changed me. It made me better and it still continues to do so.

When I joined the induction training, I did not know what I would come across or what I would learn. I was blank. When it started, what I experienced was completely unexpected, everything was a realization or a revelation. I had never learnt with a smile or laughter before!!

The little things in life that we take for granted are the ones which can make a huge difference. In our training. Observation of these invisible entities can bring great change, and every day I try to look for these ‘little’ things in my centre, students, and surroundings.

During my first centre visit, it was all good but I was unsure if I wanted to do the job. I thought I would decide after the training. On my second centre visit things had changed, I was not questioning the job or the work anymore. I was questioning myself – was I good enough for the job? It was something I had not seen in my entire life, or experienced – learning that is beautiful, fun and progressive. It was all at once and could seem nothing at first, because it was not about teaching others or developing others…it was about nurturing everyone. It was not just about the students, it was about me too…..my students are not the only ones growing and learning but I am growing too, I am learning too.

Photo Credit: http://whartonmagazine.com/

Photo Credit: http://whartonmagazine.com/

As a facilitator, there is a lot to learn – processed, methodologies from my seniors. There are things that I learn during my sessions, with the students sitting in front of me, some eager to ask questions and others who are shy. When I read their expressions and mould my ways according to their understanding, I learn about people, about their understanding and about their problems. I feel happy when they smile and nostalgic about my school days when they are enthusiastic and mischievous. And every time I see them progressing, it feels like it’s my progress. It is my progress.

The mission of Freedom English Academy has really touched my heart. The goal to create a thought process that is independent; that thinks for building a better future; that is not a blind follower but an active thinker, is a very noble objective and I’m pleased to be a part of it.

My journey with FEA, as a trainee and as a facilitator, has been highly unexpected. It has been wonderful and every tiny experience took me by surprise. It has proved that unexpected events are not always bad, in fact they can change your life for the better. I was able to do things which I I never dreamed myself capable of. The journey continues.

If we are not improving, then we are not really going anywhere. We are standing at the same place, hoping for the destination to come to us, which is quite a far-fetched idea. FEA brings out the best in people – students or staff. It is trying to break the old system of teaching – students are just blank papers that teachers have to fill with knowledge. AT FEA, we believe that students have thinking brains, they just need to be motivated to think, to unleash their power of knowledge.

FEA has been that source of learning for me.


Sonia Gosain


FEA, Pul Prahladpur

To be an inspiration to others, first, one should be self- inspired. If one cannot inspire oneself it will be hard to inspire others.

Sometimes life takes U-turn to test our patience, test our motivational skills and it also create situations in which we can’t find out ways to rescue ourselves, but it provides us enough opportunities to beat our defeat and start once again, with great power and determination.

Given the relationship we share with our students, FEA facilitators are privileged to have opportunity to touch lives in a very significant way.

In July, 2015, I underwent surgery and so when I reached the centre the next day, I had evident stitches. A fortnight later, my student, Amar Mandal walked in with a bandage around his head. He had met with an accident on his bicycle and came directly from the hospital with 4 stitches on his forehead, to attend the class.  He was inspired by me and we  were all inspired by him.

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Inspiration was flowing deep and swift in my center. In August, 2015, I started the Library Program in my center, my students and I had to read together for an hour every week. On one such day, my student Neeraj Kumar came to the center along with the cover page of a book and said that: “Ma’am, I have started writing a book and this is the cover page of that book. I would like to dedicate this book to FEA, as it is  providing free Library to us and developing habit of reading and our thinking skills.”

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He was inspired and, once again, we were inspired. We are now eagerly awaiting the completion of the book that Neeraj has been writing to be inspired by his effort and grateful heart.



Govindpuri Center)

Reading good books is a difficult but life-transforming habit.

It was my first day in FEA Centre on March 9, 2015 after completing the Induction training. This was before Power Hour was initiated and I was ignorant about the library program. One day I have received an email about my library training. I got trained and was very excited and expectant about the program.  I passed on my excitement to my students as well but there was no sign of library books.

Every day, my students would ask when they would get the books that they were itching to read.  Unconvincingly, I would say, “Very soon”.

On the day of every Consolidation we used to discuss importance of reading, how to take care of books and the books we like/would like to read.

Source - Unknown

Source – Unknown

Finally, we received our library books. On the first day itself, students reserved their books for next 3 weeks. Most of the students read one who book before the week was over. That week we had a real book discussion session.

There were a few students who were reluctant to read. I did not force them. For the following book discussion, I planned a new and interesting strategy. I asked the students to deliver their favorite dialogs or parts from their books, using correct renunciation and intonation.  This engaged both the active and reluctant readers. I encouraged them to read the pictorial and simple Cherry Tree (by Ruskin Bond). They found it very interesting.

After conducting a successful BD, we were on a roll. I asked students for ideas to make it more effective. It was agreed that we will make half an hour for reading every day. When most students were able to make it a habit. Now it was time to engage with the parents as active partners in students’ learning.

On the day of PTI, I discussed the power of reading with the parents seeking their support so that the students can make the time and develop the habit of reading. Parents and students started conducting BD at home with students sharing their reading with their parents before going to bed. Every subsequent PTI parents were encouraged to share their experience. One of my student’s mother shared how earlier the conversation at home was predominantly about the daily soaps and how it had changed to discussion about books and stories.

Every book discussion was planned differently and creatively. By the time they appeared for E5 evaluation, all the students had read 3-4 novels and  cleared their E5 successfully in the first attempt. On February 29, 2016 it was their last PTI of my students – it was a certificate distribution ceremony. Parents were very proud and happy. They took a pledge along with their wards that they would start gifting books to their wards, relatives and friends on their birthdays and will advise others to do so to.

We choose our attitude towards people and situations. Either we can fix the problem or the blame. Introspectively, the delay in arrival of the books to our centre was a blessing in disguise as it gave us time to talk and get enthused about books.


Shaheen Shekh




This is the story of a simple boy from the outskirts of East Delhi. He belonged to a poor family and was a first-generation school student of grade 9.

One day he was in a hospital and a hurried stranger asked him for the way to go out (as he needed to purchase some medication for an ailing wife admitted in the hospital). The boy looked out for “Exit” sign and guided him. Later, in the afternoon, the same man searched for the boy to thank him profusely for his help.

The boy realized the importance of English and decided to learn it.

Back then, he had only one person to turn to – his English teacher in school. When approached with the request, the teacher replied, “Go away! You can never learn English, it’s not your cup of tea. I’m not your father’s servant.”

Dawn of resolution suddenly changed to the dusk of disappointment in no time. The debris of his hope were scattered all over the next few days as he mulled over other possibilities. At home he found a nursery rhyme book lying in a corner covered with dust. He understood most of the things. He realized that he can learn from English textbooks of primary grades and scoured his younger siblings books. Now he was learning new words but there was no one to practice or speak with. He would go to the terrace of his house every night and poured out his heart’s content in the form of soliloquy to the moon and stars. For six years, he practiced incessantly but something was amiss. 

Photo Courtesy - https://paradoxicalwisdom.wordpress.com/

Courtesy – paradoxicalwisdom.wordpress.com

One day, he found Free English Academy (FEA) in his area. With a doubtful head, “Why would anyone offer these classes for free?” and a hopeful heart, “Now I will be able to speak in English”, he went in. Simple as it was, he took admission and started going to FEA daily.  He diligently followed the two golden rules – speak only in English and speak in full sentences. This place was the answer to all his prayers – an English-Only environment that  he hankered after. And the Facilitator turned out to be a better listener than the moon and stars.

With regular attendance and participation, hesitation bid goodbye and confidence became his new companion. Meanwhile, in his college, he was selected to deliver a speech in ISC (Indian Science Congress) 100th Annual Conference. The Indian prime minister was to attend this. All the presentations in FEA, gave him “I can do this’ confidence.

With diligent preparation, everything went smoothly on the day of his speech. The audience clapped and gave him a standing ovation. His three-minute speech was hailed as the best speech ever from the college.

It all happened because of FEA.

Now the young protagonist is a Student Evaluator in FEA and very pleased to share his journey through this blog.

Prakash Verma

Student Evaluator


It was July 2013, when I went for an interview to FEA office in Vasant Vihar. I was impressed with easy tone and temper of the recruiter. After the interview, I was very expectant and hopeful. When the anticipated phone call came through,  I was found not ready for the job and recommended to the Training Academy so that I could polish my language before being assigned a position.

The Training Academy threw a series of revelations and realisations. There were some words that I repeatedly mispronounced and the organisation was keen that I correct those sounds before I can be entrusted to lead, guide and teach the students. For instance, I struggled with ‘zoo’ and ‘preposition’. My sounds were clearly all over the place. I was struggling with my facilitation skills as well. Within a few days, I nearly convinced myself that this was not my cup of tea and decided to quit. While I had given up on myself, the organization had not.

My trainer made me understand that FAIL means “first attempt in learning” and it is not the end. In fact END means “efforts never dies” and if I received NO for an answer, it means “next opportunity”. It made me optimistic and hopeful.


 Photo Courtesy- www.funatiq.com

After successful completion of my training, I went for induction. I was rejected and asked to work on my facilitation skills. But I did not give up this time and was called for induction again. Having learnt from my past mistakes, I got selected and was assigned Freedom English Academy at Wazirpur Industrial Area (110052A).

The road to the center was covered in industrial ash. It meandered like a snake across the landscape, dotted with factories on both sides. At the end of this path, stood my center. With the help of gloomy looking factory workers, I was able to locate it. My center was a dim lit room with one window and witnessed regular power cuts. The students were the proverbial silver lining, beaming bright in the dark. That was all that I wanted. My reward for the perseverance and efforts was their smiling faces and confidence while conversing in English.

A few months later, I was given a new responsibility – Field Support Trainer – to guide and support facilitators. Initially, it was a struggle. Earlier I had to take care of only one center and 90 students who were keen to learn from me; now I had 28 centers and 56 facilitators who were reluctant or resistive to my guidance.

I did not give up and realised that because they were distinct individuals, they have different needs and strengths. That made me individualise my attention and focus to make my support more relevant for them. Within a few weeks, I started enjoying my job. This made me more flexible and responsive to the needs of the facilitator and made me polish my tools and enrich my repertoire. I was able to work consciously to fix my grammatical errors and pronunciation.

I am determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I encounter.  For me -“Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to wait for; it is a thing to be achieved.”


Amit Sharan

Field Support Trainer