The Naraina Freedom English Academy (FEA) was started in November, 2013.

I was appointed as the evening facilitator of this brand new center and entrusted with the responsibility of getting it to take off successfully. While new is exciting, it is also a  tad bit overwhelming. For first few weeks, I had a hard time connecting with my students. Students found it difficult to understand my accent and the fact that I did not speak any Hindi, a language that came naturally to them, made matters worse. Sometimes when I corrected their pronunciation, they ridiculed it and that made me feel uneasy. But as they say, “No pain, no gain.”

During the oral communication activities, they showcased their individual talents and zeal for learning new things. Although there were a few students who came just for fun and interrupted the class.

During these trying times, I was very grateful for my our seniors – their patience and guidance. Every day brought me one step closer to understanding my students and their learning needs. Aw we began to bond, I started enjoying the classes.

One of the most memorable day in my FEA journey was December 31, when Mr Avishek came to my center to conduct music-based language learning activity in my students. The key highlight for me was the part where students were asked to make a New Year card for me. I cherish it till today and one look at them makes me smile when I am feeling low or lost.


As my Hindi is poor penny’s worth, I struggled initially with my students. But adversity is our greatest ally. My poor Hindi is the reason for my students comfort in English. In each of the 4 sessions, I chose 5 or 6 students as my interpreters and I solicit their services when a student is unable to understand the lesson; when a prospective students or his parents visit the center and need info. This has forced my students to be better listeners as they need to them translate it for me in English. I find this technique as an advantage for the students as they are forced to speak to me in English.

Last month, I conducted the first Parent Teacher Interaction (PTI). For the first time, I got to meet the parents of each and every student. My Compliance Supervisor also visited the center and led the first two sessions. Both the students and the parents had a good time with her. For the third session, when I took the floor, there was an uneasy silence as I started speaking in English. But I was unfazed. My students were my interpreters. I let my students translate what I said into Hindi for the comfort of their parents. All I could see was faces with pride written large across them -  I am not sure how well they listened, even though it was in Hindi.

They seemed too busy feeling proud of their son/daughter translating English into Hindi.


Shimreiyo Soro

Evening Facilitator

Naraina Center

I used to pen my thoughts regularly, but for unmentionable and uncountable reasons, I stopped. Or rather, my penmanship became dormant. But now I have reason to resume writing, so this blog.

When I joined Freedom English Academy (FEA) as a Compliance Supervisor, my twelve-year experience prevented me from learning, unlearning and relearning. In my earlier avatar with FEA, I was a successful facilitator, but as a Compliance Supervisor, I struggled. Until Dec 26, 2013.

On Dec. 26, 2013 I got a chance to interact with Ashish Trivedi and that changed my professional outlook. I learnt that the secret to learning new things willingness to unlearn–even if your behaviors previously brought success. The key takeaway from Ashish’s session was learning, unlearning and relearning is a journey and destination in itself.

Now I practice the following to stay focused:

 Begin at the beginning

I try to start every work every day with a fresh approach. For instance, when I had to address the issue of inactive students in the centers under my supervision, I failed. Next day, I tried different strategy and was successful. The third day I applied same strategy at a different center but results were frustrating. I realized just because one solution worked for one problem in one center, it might not work at the same center the next day or at another center. Instead of treating my solutions as magic bullets, I need to have a rich repertoire of solutions keeping in mind the nature of problem and people involved.

 Stay open-minded

Many times we work with a fixed mindset and are hostage of our own perceptions/prejudices, blinding us to reality.  That does not help.

In one case, I made up my mind about one facilitator, giving up on her abilities but she surprised me with her hard work. While I do not overlook my facilitators’ ranking and their past performance, I am becoming increasingly open to accept and learn again based upon daily observation and data. I am stay objective – a facilitator is as good or as bad as they perform on a given day based on empirical evidence.

 Be the change

Many times we carry two mirrors – one for others and other for ourselves.  We tell others to do something we do not display in our own behavior and conduct. If we expect students to imbibe the appropriate body language and intonation, we must also expect the facilitators to demonstrate that. If we want the facilitators to imbibe that, we must as Compliance Supervisors demonstrate that.

How I interact with the facilitators, can modify the behaviour of the facilitators and can set my expectations for how facilitators interact with students.

Examine beliefs

While human values are common to all, our socio-cultural beliefs vary. Beliefs can transform into prejudices if they are not revisited and reaffirmed regularly.

The facilitators under my supervision belong to varied backgrounds and experiences. I fail if I use the same socio-cultural lenses to look at all of them. I am learning to look at them as individuals from a specific context and not a homogeneous group. This helps me focus better on individual strengths and weaknesses.

Everyday, I continue to enjoy this challenging yet satisfying journey of learning, unlearning and relearning.


Praveen Kumar Sharma

Compliance Supervisor

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)

CLEVELAND, Ohio aIf you got boys and girls available on mid university, chances are you may already know an estimated musical. Ly, the very video ethnic networking, and its refreshing spinoff, live. Ly. But are currently any of these applications protect to get boys and girls?

Here’s the very rundown. What’s musical. Ly?

Musical. Ly, the very Shanghai-based social-media networking, is also super popular with young people after which preteens. Reviews available on app’s range of associates change from 60 million to 120 million. Regardless, millions of boys and girls are employing that it which is called 15-second videos of themselves singing, lip-syncing after which dancing. The very app, which was printed available on 2014, is also completely free to get Apple after which Android health supplements. Associates, or “Musers” simply because lovers of those app come into contact with themselves, will probably follow fund to keep up tabs up the favorite artists. Mega-popular superstars, concerning Ariana Grande after which Selena Gomez, utilize the app. Musers will probably want to have posts, comment, ask questions and invite visitors to discharge duets. They can flat talk about his / her musical. Ly article available on some other ethnic drive platforms, after which like the majority of of those platforms, musical. Ly is also hashtag centric. Last year, the very #DontJudgeChallenge proceeded to go viral attributable to musical. Ly’s musers. The very ethnic drive marketing campaign was apt to get over study shaming, according to MTV, but flat do the opposite as of reinforcing aesthetic “ideals. “

Musical. Ly associates shared videos of themselves shopping for “ugly” and at eyeglasses, pimples, gap dental, thick eyebrows after which are exposed to hair. View the very video in excess of to ascertain a number of the #DontJudgeChallenge, after which realize that video will bring nearly 120 million destinations available on YouTube. Essentially, musical. Ly lets its own associates to go to town available on an exceptionally creative trick. But lots of the app’s associates are currently young. In fact, 1 whether or not its own most efficient stars, Jacob Sartorius, is also 13. He will bring in excess of 10 million lovers up the app. To download after which sign up for the very app, associates have to be at the minimum 13. But why don’t turn into real, it is not rough to sleep an estimated how old you are available on the world wide web. What’s live. Ly?

Live. Ly, the very live-streaming video app, is also pretty refreshing. It had been printed in may after which racked up in excess of 2 million downloads available on 4 weeks. Simply because we have all followed, there is a traveling taking a stand to get live-streaming ethnic drive and at Twitter’s Periscope after which Facebook Live. Simply because musical. Ly focuses on songs, live. Ly will bring musers completely free reign on how they would like to show lovers after which lets musers to talk to lovers suddenly. Musers can pick away from several different categories, concerning make-up, life time, sing, dance, and so forth. , to mark in their live videos. So are any of these applications protect for your mid schoolers?

Likely. But the rough side is also your choice. You will want to ensure that your young man disables gap service provider for the app available on his / her mobile phone controls. After that during the app, you will want to discharge three tabs during the app settings:

On its own friends will probably immediate. Ly me

Cover up gap guide

Confidential was feeling

In the first place available on live. Ly, associates sign available on off their musicl. Ly was feeling, therefore the planning tastes will probably are still the same for the live-streaming app. To get live. Ly, stress and anxiety the very need for attaining intelligent while using the app. Live streaming is also precisely what that it sounds like; your own body’s young man will be go on the world wide web, devoid of the capability to edit the very video just before other companies see it. Gap of those live-stream is also functional as it can serve off information regarding exactly where your own body’s young man lives after which spends time. Here’s one more step to keep in mind. Musical. Ly is also certainly a young music-based app, however, not all of the songs are currently young man friendly. You might get tens of thousands of song categories to select from after which what seems want how to get more likes to have millions of songs, so your young man likely has not been apt to turn into singing Disney songs.

The young members of the Freedom English Academy (FEA) supervisory team have the unenviable job of getting ground staff to adhere to policies/programs; troubleshoot; nurture and enable them; execute innovations and be the eyes, ears and limbs of the organization – a tall order even for Hercules! This can be physically, emotionally and spiritually strenuous at the best of times.

They work extensively and implicitly on personal and professional development of those in their charge. That can chip their edges and deplete their reservoir of stamina, perseverance and strategies. Therefore, replenishment and rejuvenation needs to be a regular feature to keep this team motivated and focused. Limiting as it can be, we had been doing this in-house. Till last week.

On December 26, Ashish Trivedi very magnanimously spent a whole day interacting with our team of young facilitators, mentors, nurturers and supervisors. Although he did not know about our program and people except for what is posted on website, the learning curve of FEA team was steep- something that was anticipated given Ashish’s credentials and persona. And they seem to have been rejuvenated beyond belief.

Ashish shared some of the precious and forthright thoughts on what excites our young Turks about their work:

….meet very good people and learn new things from them.”
….students’ interaction and results excites me to work hard.”
….continuous learning.”
….teaching and learning simultaneously.”
….uncertainty of what kind of students might come in.”
….respect of my students.”
….seeing people try to speak English for the first time.”
….learning during trainings.”
….a good relationship with my students.”

If excitement is one side of the ‘work’ coin, anxiety is the other. Some of the things that makes our staff anxious are:

… vocabulary.”
….support from my team.”
….traveling to difficult areas.”
….being emotional about students.”
….lack of cooperation from some parents.”
….managing students.”
….effective role-modeling.”
….help students overcome shyness to talk.”
….be impartial to my students.”

Based on these undiluted thoughts of our foot soldiers, I reconstruct the prism of my work for 2014.


Payal Mahajan

Head of Training & Curriculum

As the Coach (Music-based Learning), I visit different Freedom English Academy centers and use the medium of music to engage students to communicate and articulate in English. Implicitly, I endeavor to instill positive attitude and habits of mind.

One day, when I was at the Basti Vikas Kendra center while discussing the word ‘inspire’ with students, I chanced to lay my gaze on the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the wall. I asked the students, “Does he inspire you?”. Some responded in affirmative while others were non-responsive. Then I named a few more prominent persons. Even then, I could not get a universal response. Then I asked, “Does your facilitator inspire you?” Boom! Instantaneously and unanimously, at the top of their voices, the students said, “Yes!”

It’s not the case with only this center, but at almost all the centers the students love their facilitator. Our facilitators do not just teach but counsel, guide and help the students mould their personality and life. Our facilitators make their students realize and actualize their own uniqueness.

The bonding between the facilitator and the students is so strong and sweet that most of the facilitators, even when they are unwell and are advised rest, report to their centers because of the love and affection of their students. Their student’s love energizes them. Some of the facilitators even take up extra sessions and organize parent-teacher meet even on holidays. They do not perceive it as duty but as responsibility.

At a few centers, the facilitator wears the additional hat of parent and counselor.

So, here is a video showing that unique bond – their smiles are eloquent.

Soumya Appalabathula
Coach (Music-based Learning)

We have something, which is inevitable.

We have something, which is unbelievable.

Respect and love, we receive is unforgettable.

Our will to succeed is indomitable.

We have something, we just need to visualize.

We have something, we just need to realize.

We didn’t know we could be inspirations.

We didn’t know we could be aspirations.

Sometimes we are counselors, sometimes motivators.

Actually, we are just facilitators.


We have something we need to protect.

We can break the silence; we just need to connect.

We raise the bar, beyond expectation

We are FEA.

We are doing something, it’s unique for this world.

We are doing something, it’s going to change this world.


Amit Matchell

Morning Facilitator
Aman Vihar

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My training at the head office of Freedom English Academy (FEA) was over. With the joining letter in my hand, I set out to find my centre in one of the largest urban slum settlements just outside Delhi. As I trudged along, extra careful to avoid splashing into puddles where the road and the drain miraculously became one entity, I had a sinking feeling of losing my way. Just then I received a call from the Student Mobilizer at FEA, to fetch her as she was lost too. I had mixed feelings about my new job.

After sometime, reached the center with the brilliant blue flex poster flashing on an otherwise empty wall ‘FEA CENTRE CODE 201307A’ of the newly commissioned FEA centre. On entering the center, I thought aloud “It’s a big and clean room.” On one hand, I was excited about pioneering the new center, but on the other hand, I was concerned if I had it in me to deliver on the dreams and aspirations that my students would walk in with. All my speculations were put to rest when a bunch of 14-17 year olds made their way to the centre with expectancy in their voices, a gleam of enthusiasm in their eyes, and a big question mark on their faces. Even before they settled in, I rolled out the first lesson, “Next time you enter the class, you must ask for permission.” They happily agreed.

My first day at the centre was quite a humbling one. Most of the students, acknowledged that their desire to learn English had been hampered because of their financial constraints. They asked me, “Sir, will you charge money for these classes?” Not that they didn’t know what FEC stood for, but they wanted to be sure. As I went on with my necessary ranting of “Dos” and “Don’ts” all the students listened with rapt attention.


I have been a ‘teacher’ earlier, but this was different. My training at the head office kept buzzing in my head, “Don’t give direct answers to your students, but eke it out of them in complete sentences.” Clearly, it was not an easy job. My past teaching experiences involved a lot of talking and some amount of discussion. Constantly engaging the students to scaffolding learning through discussion/dialogue/think-alouds is an arduous task. As a facilitator, this was my job. Moreover, this was the first time I was teaching language. Soon I realized that not only cajoling the students to speak in complete sentence works in building comfort with the new language, but also insisting that they listen attentively of immense importance.

In the last 6 months, I have experienced a plethora of situations and challenges with the students. Most of these students came from backgrounds that some of us may not even be able to relate to. They lead stressful lives and for them coming to the centre was not only about learning to speak in English, but finding solace in the company of other students with similar goals. There were times when it became extremely difficult to retain the students due to their domestic or personal issues. No matter how much they wanted to be present everyday at the centre, their personal issues sapped their morale/time. I had to be the motivator, guide and problem-solver for them – a call beyond the role of facilitator.

With the onset of summer vacations, number of students per session started dwindling. I asked students to become mobilizers for the centre. The idea worked wonders and enthusiasm of some of the students fetched me new students. From mere 30 students, today I have almost 70+ students in the morning shift.

Marching along the road of shaping and fulfilling dreams, September 11 was a special day for the centre- the first student evaluation. Thirty-one students were to be evaluated and I was confident of their success. All I had to do was to keep their morale and self-confidence high. Each of the 31 students surpassed all my expectations. And they didn’t fail me. The external evaluator was very pleased with their progress and issued  31 Level-1 certificates. As one of my students pointed out, “Sir, had one of us failed or got a provisional pass, we would have failed you.” Now that was a beautiful red cherry on a perfectly baked cake!

It has been an incredible journey with a few life changing experiences. I had never thought I would get so deeply involved with a certain section of our society that most of us simply choose to ignore in our daily lives.


Anshu Bhowmik

Morning Facilitator @ Khora Colony



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.


“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