Internship Experience @ Aarohan NGO, New Delhi: Educating the underprivileged children

NAME

Leepakshi Rajpal, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, 1st year.

EXACT DURATION OF THE INTERNSHIP

19th November 2015- 19th Decemeber 2015.

As I take down the trip on my memory lane, I recall there was a notice from the Placement cell about the commencement of Winter Internship. We were intended to apply for the Internship from the placement cell itself.

I was being exposed to such environment for the very first time. As per the Instructions of the Placement Cell, I was intended to go to Aarohan NGO, which has created stature for itself with a lot of dedication and perseverance.

It works for educating the underprivileged children of the society and emancipation of women. I was ambiguous as far as selection procedure was concerned but later realized that I just had to volunteer for it and no interview process was acted upon.

If anyone wishes to volunteer can directly visit their website and register themselves. Click HERE.

FIRST STEP TO EXPERIENCE

I was in the first year and had just appeared for my First Semester external examination. I was very zealous to work in an NGO as it has served as an endeavour to me.

Serving the society has been an heirloom for me and by noticing the despair, dingy and gloomy lives of other people, there’s a natural call for humane actions.  Living in the bourgeois, I was never aware of the life in slums and all the impasses the people there, had to face.

The essence of law lies in understanding the deep rooted fragments of the society and as a budding Law student, I could not afford to lose such a sterling opportunity.

I am a resident of  Delhi, so I had no issues as far as accommodation was concerned and was looking forward for a month filled with unearthed mysteries, bliss and stark realizations coupled with ecstatic professional and personal experiences.

As I reached home, I bagged myself up for the upcoming day and was very enthusiastic about working with them. I travelled by Delhi Metro and reached the destination in about an hour.

My heart was beating fast and I knew it was going to be a novel experience and would elevate my career to a new level. As I reached the NGO, I was shunned to a great level. I felt like I arrived at a wrong address.

It was an underground 2 BHK apartment with the whole lot of slum children, staring at me with utter amazement. That’s when a gentleman cordially invited me and interrogated my purpose of being there.

I warmly appreciated his efforts and gave to his knowledge that I volunteered for working with them. He gently smiled and asked me to patiently wait for the owner of the NGO to arrive.

In the meanwhile, he fetched me a glass of water and I eventually got comfortable with all the children around me, hoping for someone to enlighten them.

The chairperson of the NGO arrived and gave me a hearty welcome. She exclaimed how blithe full she felt to have someone from my institution. She introduced me to my mentor and asked me to carry out my responsibilities diligently.

My mentor was named as Fenaz Saifi and was a pretty young woman aiming to achieve realistically high standards for Aarohan. She introduced me with the several tasks I had to perform during my internship, labelling case studies, slum visit, newsletter designing, campaigning and teaching.

FUN @ WORK

The first few days, as guided by my mentor, I had to teach the students of primary and secondary classes. These children had an amazing fervour for their work but could not reach the same level of education as other students in a private school or institution would do.

Gradually, as I commenced with the teaching sessions and realized that for them Shakespeare was wicked and map a bad example. Their world was confined within the gloomy walls of the slum. The students were not able to concentrate on whatever was being taught merely because of the fear they were forced to indulge in.

On my part, I gave them an opportunity to dwell out of the fear and explore their wonderful imagination by introducing drawing sessions, playing riddles and solving sudoku with them.

These children opened up with me in no time and shared their personal grievances. Some of the students addressed their inability to study because of dearth of notebooks.

In order to cope up with the paucity of notebooks, a  campaign named – “Donate a notebook” was organized by Aarohan aiming to gather notebooks that can be used by these children.

EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE @ WORK

The next week went into establishing secure connection with the people of the slum and addressing their grievances personally.

There was a slum nearby, namely Jagdamba Camp and is filled with filth and dirt. We had to visit there and introduce the E-Rickshaw campaign meant for women and also had to write case studies.

As I went deep into the slums, I had an appalling experience. I saw streets as narrow as a corridor, houses with no doors, women covering their faces with a veil and children with utter disinterest in education. I was moved. I had never seen such an odious environment.

I enquired about their interests and their means of livelihood. Some people confide in me where as some were sceptical about me being so interrogative.

Those who confided in me explained their pain with a heavy heart by saying that many people went to that place and interrogated them about their condition but none of them did anything to elevate their status and to drag them out of the vicious circle of poverty.

I further explained my purpose of being there and methods to bring them out of the dark grey skies. I explained to them about the campaign which aimed at empowering women by providing them with an e-rickshaw. With this e-rickshaw they would drive and earn a reasonable livelihood and help in securing the safety of other women on road.

Few of them expressed their consent while others preferred to work in the nearby elite area as household workers. The initiative taken by Aarohan was commendable. The dignitaries who were assigned the task of its implementation, were not aware of the language used by them and were not in proper terms with them.

CHIT – CHAT @ DESK JOB

In the next week I was assigned the task of designing a newsletter for Aarohan’s website and magazine. I was directed to write newsletters for all the initiative they took for the uplifting the status of underprivileged children and women.

I got acquainted with a sincere, dedicated and adorable person who worked with all enthusiasm and pay no heed to all the other absurd comments. Her name is Aarti ma’am and she is magnanimous.

She aims at having high level of professionalism and this is the reason why everyone loathed her. While designing the newsletter, I got to learn ample of new stuff from her and she held me humbly wherever I stumbled.

PRESENTATION REPORT

In the last week I was asked to submit a presentation on whatever I gained from the organization. I gave a detailed presentation of about 4-5 pages and Thanked them for their support.

BYE BYE AAROHAN !

The day arrived when I had to bid a painful adieu to this organization. It was my last working day “19th December 2015” and everyone was preparing for Christmas party. I helped them in doing all the decorations.

I knew it before hand that I would have to leave this workplace but getting emotionally attached to these children was inevitable.

WHAT I REALIZED

People from various social backgrounds and political stances call these children to be underprivileged. Even the people with whom I worked, continued to designate these children as underprivileged. I feel when all of us were born naked, then why this discrimination.

Just because someone belongs to a less economic status, we cannot disgrace their dignity by naming them. It certainly is not justified to name them, not only because it is defamatory but because they are much more better than what we “privileged” people are .

For us the world survives around all the luxuries and the materialistic pleasures that add to the gala lifestyle we live in. Nobody of us would even care if we forget to eat our lunch just to have junk food.

In the wake of materialism, we the “privileged people” have forgotten to find happiness in the minute things of life.

Instead we try to find our happiness in the accomplishment of materialistic pleasures. These children have successfully found the art of searching happiness in these minute pleasures which hardly even matter to us.

As an intern in Aarohan , I have worked, played and ate with these children. In a short span of time, these children taught me those gravities off life which I failed to understand myself.

Some stark realities helped me realize how privileged I am to get those basic amenities which hundreds and thousands of children are striving hard for! These children are trapped in the vicious circle of poverty and starvation that they are forced to live a life of penury.

The world of these people is entirely different and afflicted. The way they perceive the world and interpret it is totally vague for them. Their world lies in the foggy slums and filthy dust corners and they are forced to think in a way  that their imagination powers are trapped behind a grey sky.

These children express that how they have lost the childhood spring in the wake of earning some money to fulfil the needs of their stomach and that of their family members.

In the early years of childhood these children are left not to play and enjoy but to fade away their childhood in the shacks of slums.

WHAT DID I LEARN
  • Some basic courtesy
  • Respecting others
  • Listening to other’s verdict
  • Some stark realizations
  • Writing Skills
  • Professionalism
  • Personal growth

I am still ambiguous about calling this internship an extraordinary one or not as on one hand I gained alot as a human being while on the other hand I was not exposed to anything Legal.

This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.

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