Author Archives: Avishek Singh

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

Doubts stop countless beings from transforming their powerful thoughts into significant actions. For those who banish their doubts and fears, a treasure trove of wonderful experiences is in store for them.

It is rightly said that life will be much better if we stop stressing out the things that are beyond our control and start doing something about the things that are.

The students of Ganesh Nagar exemplified this showing how our life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.

The objective

We always talk about that we should throw garbage into dustbin not on the roads. But the problem is people don’t have dustbins on the roads. So my students and I decided to do something regarding this issue.

Change-makers at Ganesh Nagar

Change-makers at Ganesh Nagar

Day 1

We prepared posters and a funding box to collect some funds from nearby residents and shop keepers. Each one of them contributed happily, because they all needed dustbins on roads. I assigned the task of looking out for some places where we can put the dustbins. We identified few open areas where garbage was disposed off and spoke to the  residents who can take the responsibility of dustbins so that dustbins don’t get stolen.

Day 2

There after, we purchased 10 dustbins from market at reduced prices. We painted them green, wrote some quotes on them and FEA on them, so that all dustbins look uniform. By the end of Day 2, our dustbins were ready for installations.

Day 3

It was a most important day. We finalized some places after brief discussion with students who had already surveyed the area and identified spots where these bins could be installed. We spoke with shopkeepers and residents in the vicinity to take care of the bins.  They were very happy by this move and assured us that they will take responsibility and keep dustbin inside a shop at night and bring it out in the morning.

Everyday my students check on the dustbins, educate all to use it and the community around appreciates their effort.

Martin Luther King Jr. rightly said, “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”

This was one such moment in my life.

 

Anjum Shakir   (Facilitator of  Ganesh Nagar center)                                                                                                                                                                 

&

Avishek Singh  (Curriculum Manager)

 

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” ~ Henry Miller

Day in and day out, since the first rays of sun until the birds return to their nest, our united efforts to bring in self reliance in students by learning communication and thinking skills, go on ceaselessly.

Here’s a story of a student from FEA Samaspur : 110091A.

Back in March 2013, when I was a facilitator at this center, a girl (lets’ call her K) joined the FEA. On most days, she waited outside the class ahead of her scheduled session. When I asked her why she wanted to learn English, she replied, “Sir when the time comes, I’ll tell you.” I was intrigued.

One fine evening, just before the class she asked me, “Sir, is it true that a student from a government school can never speak English as well as a student from a private school.” I answered, “That’s not true.” She probed further, “So please why do my friends , their parents laugh at me when I try to communicate with them in English.”  Without waiting for my response and with tears in the eyes she touched my feet and requested, “Sir, I will put on my heart and soul into learning. Please continue showering your blessings.”

Rainy day, festival, celebrations, exam – she was always there, waiting outside the class ahead of her scheduled session.

Life moved on and I joined as the Coach (Music-based Learning). Aabout 8 months later, when I met her, she jumped with joy, with beaming smile that spread ear to ear, she said, “Sir, I have graduated.”

The best was yet to come. She insisted that I accompany her as she had something to show me. She took me to a very nearby market to meet a vegetable vendor and proudly introduced,   “Sir he is my father Mr. Hari Prakash and father he is my teacher from the English class.” She was as fluent and well punctuated as the best student from a private school.

It was my turn to shed some tears – tears of joy. I was moved by her words and touched by her zeal.

With grit and determination, there is no adversity that cannot be overcome. NO adversity at all.

K has taught me that for she is the living example of Vince Lombardi’s belief, “…..any man’s finest hour is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the fields of battle – victorious.”

 

Avishek Singh

Coach (Music-based Learning)

 What’s a miracle?

Seeing a child who was quiet and shy,

not speaking English as his vocabulary was dry,

afraid of the world and ready to cry,

 but not willing to give up with a regular practice and a daily try,

and with an each passing day learn the language and get ready to fly,

touch the sky bidding good bye to the shy.

 The joy comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy, no sweeter fruit than to see our endless united efforts bearing fruits in form of students turning into lyricist.

I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Today, was one of those experiences. I went to the Sundernagri Center (PIN 110093A). There I sang A Few of My Favorite Things (from the movie, Sound of Music) with the students. After the music activity, students were asked to compose their own lyrics titled, My Favorite Things.

The magic they wove with their pens was awe-inspiring. I share here two compositions from the students:

Composition  1  

Everybody likes to sing a song,Everybody likes to be a king,

Every girl likes to wear a ring,

These are a few of my favorite things.

I like to drink cold drink in spring,

I like to play with wings.

I like gifts tied up with strings,

These are a few of my favorite things.

Composition 2

When the child smiles

When the birds fly

when the rain comes,

I love to sing in the month of spring.

These are a few of my favorite things.

When I fall down

When my friends fight

When you cut my kite

I simply remember my favorite things 

  and then I don’t  feel so bad. 

The innocence and delight that I experienced was truly magical and enchanting. I was puffed with pride that these students who a short while ago could not even speak a word in English are turning lyricists.

Move over, Bob Dylan!

 

Avishek Singh

Coach (Music-based Learning)

Sometimes, smiles on students’ faces make us feel like millionaires. Sometimes, success of others makes us feel happier than our own success. Sometimes, a small efforts on our part can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Accumulation of such small moments makes for a beautiful life.

I would like to share one such moment. There is a student, let us call him R, who always pronounced “SH’’ as ‘’S”. For example “English “as “Englis, “Sharma” as “Sarma” and so on. No matter what the facilitator or I did, R. just could not overcome the MTI (mother-tongue influence) to pronounce it correctly.

When I went for music session to this center, I made everyone sing any 2 stanza of the given song.  R. raised his hand and asked me permission to sing. His peers started sneering and his sister tried to hold him back. He did not mind being mocked at. With no fear and confidence in his heart he got up to sing. The moment he sang the second line the class went silent. The line was “I SEE YOUR TRUE COLORS SHINING THROUGH”. The word ‘shining’ was pronounced correctly for the first time. The class broke out in applause. He looked at me and said, “ Sir, I will sing this song to my English teacher at school.” I noticed, with a smile in my heart, that he had pronounced even ‘English’ correctly.

At the end of the session as students were about to leave, R. asked me, “Sir, can I hug you?” I was overwhelmed as he hugged and thanked me.

That moment made me realize that things I do for myself will be gone when I die, but things I do for others will live on as my legacy.

 

Avishek Singh

Coach (Music-based Learning)