“Sometimes what appears to be the end
may really be a new beginning.”
I experienced this, when I returned back to India after living in USA for more than a decade & working full time. Before moving I had decided to quit my IT-job to spend time with my two young kids 2+ & 7yrs. But to my surprise, I found my 24/7 Mom job even more challenging and tiring than my full-time IT-job. Even though I knew any transition starts with making certain promises-decisions but I realized how difficult it was to fulfill those promises and live through the decisions.
Unfamiliar with the city, with no friends and family to talk to, adjusting to the new environment with kids was anything but easy. So to keep my daughter engaged and more importantly to make new friends, I decided to enroll her in after school activities or classes.
Number of different classes were available like sports, arts, science etc but other than these regular classes, I was looking for a class – a platform where I could educate my kids about Life skills-values-character building along with Indian culture in a modern and kid’s friendly way.
As a child I myself enjoyed such classes and had learned many valuable things. We all know no-one is born with a set of Values & Life skills rather we acquire them from our parents/caregivers/society who are the primary influence on us during our formative years.I knew such class would be a good foundation for my kid’s character development and successful life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any such class per my expectations. Hence after much thought and consideration, I decided to start one such class by myself. Indeed, sometimes what appears to be the end may really be a new beginning…
- Being a student & an instructor for similar classes before marriage,which my Mom has been conducting over two decades, I thought, I could do it too.
- I came up with a plan of action & I continued the legacy by making it a Non-Profit Class, available for all the children. I wanted to leverage that experience to serve our community by incorporating modern techniques and style, keeping the original meaning intact.
- I believe that Children are the future of a nation and the development & success of any nation depends on how we nurture our upcoming generation-children. That’s why Life skills – Values and Character building education must be available to all the children.
I got an overwhelming response from parents, twenty-two students, indeed, very encouraging. Engaging myself in this constructive activity helped me adjust in the new environment and to become more social, active & happy. Within couple of months I realized teaching kids and listening to their innocent questions-reactions was giving me immense happiness. I felt satisfied to be at home and become part of my kids growing years, at the same time making a subtle positive difference in someone’s life with these classes.Until…
One day my maid (house helper) curiously asked me about the classes, when I gave her detailed information, she innocently said, “This is very important for children Didi (sister). I wish my children could get to learn something like this, but there is no one to teach them in the Government school.”
Her response acted as a catalyst in the formation of Tejomay Charitable Trust. She surely had a point, if I couldn’t find such class for my own kids then what about other (less privileged) children? They might not even get introduced to this information at all. Finally,my husband and I seriously thought about it and we felt that this was a great opportunity to educate children on something important and “Make A Difference”. We together came to the conclusion that we should start similar classes for the underprivileged children too.
Within months I got introduced to different NGOs and Government schools and started sharing my expertise with them by conducting classes or workshops for students and teachers. Other than that I also started supporting NGO’s in whatever ways I could like teaching different subjects in schools, raising funds, conducting book drives etc.
While teaching or conducting Life skills-Values workshops for the Government schools and for underprivileged children, I realized that their parents especially mothers, as fathers are mostly away for jobs, are unable to help-guide their children as they themselves never attended the school or are school dropouts. I found that they need help in everything filling the school forms, finding medical help, understand banking, or simple things like reading-writing SMS etc. Some of them have big dreams but are stuck with the same old petty jobs because they don’t have needed knowledge and skills to change the job or fulfil their dreams.
Other than this experience, my cook played an important role to initiate Adult literacy classes, she left her school when she was in 4th grade. I often used to help her fill school-bank forms andevery time I would encourage her to learn reading-writing, finally she showed interest in learning. That’s how in 2011, I started a Basic English Reading-Writing class for my cook and five similar women from the low income communities.Simultaneously I started educating them about banking, building confidence, different available opportunities etc.
While conducting Children’s and
Women’s classes I truly followed this
Slowly friends who were passionate about social development and believed my work started helping me. With their help and support we finished number of teaching projects for different NGOs, summer camps, workshops, started new batches for Adult literacy programs for English and Computers etc.
- After working in this field for seven years.
- Support and encouragement from family.
- My experience with Children and Women.
- Helping hands from trusted friends.
- drove me to work towards the vision like Tejomay.
In May 2015, Tejomay was born with a vision. To equip all the children with Life skills & values needed to deal with every day challenges. To empower women and adults from the low income communities by providing them knowledge, skills & resources to lead a dignified life.