Volunteer Speaks

My learning at UPAY so far

by Siddharth Shah

This is what our volunteer Siddharth Shah has to say about his learning in the first few months with UPAY! What has been your experience in trying to bring about change? We can all learn from one another in this journey! 

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Sidharth teaching the children at Sohna Road center

My learning at UPAY so far – by Siddharth Shah

1. Being regular is key
a. The most important thing is to show up. Half the battle is won right there. Just being regular will improve the quality of education at the center
b. This will also help the center head plan activities, allot children to you to focus on
c. The children make you a part of their support system the moment they see that you are regular

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2. The problem at hand is big, but the change is hard and slow
a. The educational structure is weak, the educational foundation of a lot of kids is poor, the infrastructure is not up to the mark. So, there’s a lot to be done
b. Rome was not built in a day and these changes wouldn’t happen in a sustainable manner in a day, week or a month. Let’s be at it and we will make it work
c. Don’t give up or get disheartened. Your patience and persistence are key

3. Sustainability of initiatives is important
a. It’s easy to throw money at the problem, it works sometimes and in the short run but sustainability of initiatives is important
b. As you work on the initiative, think about how to scale the initiative beyond one center, how to make it programmatic. It is important that the initiative works after you are gone
c. A small sustainable change is far far more impactful than a burst of large unsustainable change

4. Listen before act
a. The social structure is different, the motivation of public-school teachers may be different. The kids have not have had the same upbringing as yours, they may not have the same means (technology, food, shelter, access) as you do.
b. It is important to understand what their motivations are, what works and what does not work and it is important to find solutions within those constraints

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