Monthly Archives: September 2013

You are browsing the site archives by month.

When you sit to write about how you feel, you often always end up complaining. I found myself in a similar frame of mind as I sat to pen down these words. The only difference was that I heard a voice louder than my own. The incoherent noise was deafening. Can someone else be more miserable than I am?

“I am not miserable!”

That’s about all I heard as I looked up to see where the voice came from. There was absolute silence in the training room. All the students were busy reading their classics, their faces deep in thought, their eyes displaying a mixture of confusion and amazement. I looked around to see where the voice could have come from and found nothing out of place. The fans buzzed as they had always done ever since I got here a month ago. Sunny’s sweating brow confirmed their futile spinning. The bathroom doors were shut, the food trays were in the racks waiting, almost, to please more palates. Everything was where it was supposed to be. I put my head back to what I was doing and started to wonder where the voice could have come from.

As minutes ticked away slowly, I stopped thinking about my complaints. The voice became louder, except this time I was saying it out loud in my head.

“I am not miserable!”

Could this be someone trying to tell me something? I wondered as Sanjeev walked up to my desk and asked, “How do you pronounce this word?” He pointed at a word in the book he was reading.

“Often.”

“Thank you sir.”

As he waddled back to his seat it struck me. I had spent too much time outside the real world in air conditioned, safe and secure environments. I had formed perceptions about people outside that world. The reality was clearly different. The difference was stunning. I saw, almost stared at, Sanjeev as he walked back repeating the word I gave to him. He seemed to hold it between his lips like a gold biscuit, scared that it would slip if he stopped saying it out loud. His eyes were focused and his will seemed strong. As he sat on his chair he seemed relaxed. It was like he had made a successful deposit.  As pleased with this successful transaction as a seasoned banker would be, I returned to my reverie.

I have been with Freedom English Academy (FEA) for over a month now. I help young facilitators improve their spoken English, body language, facilitation skills and personalities. They later facilitate free English classes for the underprivileged. The responsibility is immense and I seem to realize that a little every day. The facilitators I work with, work their socks off as they empower and enable themselves.

My trainees teach me humility everyday; in return, I hope they have been able to learn something from me.

 

Ashish Martin Chauhan

Language Coach

 

 

It has been about three months since I’ve been associated with Freedom English Academy (FEA) and in this very short period of time I’ve had some bittersweet experiences. I have realized that education is indeed a very serious problem for the people living in slums and other remote areas of India. What they lack is not a will to learn, but a good teacher to teach, a role model they can imbibe. When I interact with the unprivileged and underserved,  I am reminded of my uncle, for whom I have much admiration – he used to say, “If India needs to grow then the vast majority of India that is poor and underprivileged must be given an equal chance to walk with alongside the rich and privileged. Working with the underprivileged youth and adults, I realize how sagacious he was. If the roots of tree are not given enough nourishment then how can the tree bear fruits. But as a nation, instead of looking after our teaming millions who are languishing, we choose to splurge on few.

At FEA, we are trying to provide some nutrition to those “roots” that were deprived of their rights and discriminated at almost every step of their arduous journey. It is not because we want to help them but because we want to return to them what we owe to them-equity, smile, rain, opportunity- so that they can learn, grow and walk along. It is indeed truly satisfying to be entrusted with the responsibility of strengthening the foundation of our nation.

On a personal note, being associated with FEA has been an astounding learning curve for me. I have been able to meet and know many beautiful people and learn from them. Thus far, I’ve met a writer, a future fashion designer, a veteran teacher and an Evangelist, all under one roof. Moreover, FEA has inculcated in me a crucial personality trait that I lacked earlier- responsibility- and I like it. I have realized that the world does not revolve around me. I understand myself better now. In the past few months, I have learnt to take responsibility of my past actions and that of my future.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust.

Working for FEA gives me new set of eyes, everyday.

Amit Matchell

Morning Facilitator, Aman Vihar FEC Center