This Women’s Day Meet Meera..
Meera is a mom to 18-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. She has been a feature writer who has written for newspapers, done shows for television and all India radio in Bangalore.
Why is she featured as the woman of substance in our Women’s Day Feature?
She probably won’t be here if she hadn’t decided to take her will to do good and do something beyond that. They say changemakers start large movements with small individual steps. While the world laments and bemoans problems, changemakers are resolute in their belief for change.
Meera’s Story….in her words
I’ve always loved teaching and I have been teaching English for more than 15 years.
I had my Institute called ‘Smart English’ where I thought creative writing, spoken English and public speaking.
Along with my kids, I have always taught my maids my domestic help kids and I saw what kind of impact I could have on their life with my bit of teaching.
One of my maid’s daughter became a receptionist and supported her whole family as she was able to do that because of the English I taught her.
This incident really made me realise what difference I could make in a person’s life.
How did Aasha Infinite originate…
Two years back when Modi gives a speech for Teacher’s Day, saying that there are positive speeches in each one of us. Educated and professionals should teach the underprivileged at least once in a week. It set me thinking and
that was how AASHA was born. I gathered a few of my close friends and said let’s start on this mission and let’s devote one hour week to teach our neighbouring slum kids. What started off with 4 Students and two teachers Now has a devoted volunteer base of more than 30 people and 50 students who never miss the class on festivals and even when it rains. Their eagerness to learn drives us to give our best.
One thing, I have realised after starting Asha is there is so much goodness around us and people want to do something. All they need is an opportunity and a channel to do it and that is what AASHA is about…a platform to make a difference!
We also have 45 members in our group who teach, volunteer, donate, prepare teaching aids to facilitate better learning. Each one of us wants to do something for our society and country. But we don’t know what to do and how to go about it. We also have limitations because of our families and responsibilities. So even if the inclination is there, it doesn’t materialise. All I did was bridge this gap. The classes go on in a park next to our society, so there is no investment. All the members are volunteers. Most of them post pictures on Facebook of the work here, and that brings in more volunteers. To volunteer one or two days a month is not really difficult for most people and it also makes them feel good about themselves. It is their giving back to the society.
What makes AASHA INFINITE different from other NGOs present around
AASHA is based on the twin concepts of volunteerism and community ownership. Its success thus far has been based on these principles and in that sense, it is uniquely positioned when compared to other organizations. People in the neighborhood have a stake in the organisation’s growth and this has ensured timely and speedy execution of activities. Our approach is to catch them young and remove the impediments and hurdles faced due to their lack of exposure to the English language and hence improve their overall performance in education.
In the course of teaching English, we realised the children needed to be educated on several other aspects as well. To enable this, we designed several secondary programmes:
Guest lecture from professionals and experts on various topics like Leadership, Positive thinking, Career counselling, Public speaking, Fun with science, Personal Hygiene, Nutrition etc. Many IITians and IIM grads have been on our panel of guest lectures.
Yoga from “Art of Living” team and Bhagavad Gita chanting class.
A circulating library.
‘Tech class with TCS techies’ is a program conceived to impart the much-needed IT skills to the AASHA children. Our tie up with TCS for this program has provided a steady flow of volunteers from TCS who are innovatively and passionately introducing technology.
Future Of AASHA…
We have been working for Aasha for the last 1 1/2 years and have been learning the ropes of handling a small volunteering organisation to a full-fledged NGO. Now that AASHA INFINITE FOUNDATION is registered we have a Mumbai centre head and contributors, we can now start looking out for corporate and individual donations as well. Till now we have funded Aasha from our pockets and contributions from our friends and well-wishers.
We receive calls every day from different parts of the country wishing to contribute to the cause or to replicate the model. The common thread is the will to do good to others and to make a small dent in the society by making individual contributions, whether it is time or money. I am moving to Bangalore soon and with our base and model set in Mumbai, I will ensure to replicate the same in Bangalore. Our vision is to spread the wings of AASHA Infinite to as many parts of the country as possible and we are sure we will receive as much support from people.
Would you like to be a part of AASHA INFINITE FOUNDATION’s endeavours?
From volunteering every day to once a week to a guest lecture once a month or even a 15 min mobile mentorship programme from your home, Aasha has options to suit our busy lifestyles.