Sweta Singh is a homemaker who nurtured the dream of teaching kids in Chhapra, her hometown in Bihar, since she was child. But there weren’t many ways for her to do so as she was living 900 km away from Chhapra after her marriage. This is how she finally got a chance to start doing what she always wanted to do.
My father was a professor. He had a PhD in Chemistry from IIT Kanpur. In spite of having multiple career opportunities in Kanpur, he chose to return to his hometown, Chhapra in Bihar. He had this firm desire to help those who needed it the most and his decision to return is the most heroic and selfless act I have witnessed till today – a decision that impacted me very deeply.
I always thought that I would do something similar. I wanted to trace my father’s footprints and help in the development of the society.
To begin with, I emulated his interest in Chemistry and everything seemed to be falling in place. Then I tried really hard to get admission in a good university to pursue my PhD and succeeded. Although my family was like any other conservative family, they always put my dreams first. I got married in 2006 in a family that is quite comfortable with women pursuing higher education. So I set out on my journey of juggling studies and married life, to realize my dreams. My peers at college also appreciated my knowledge and zeal to give back to my society. But sitting 900 kilometres away from my hometown, what could I possibly do for my community?
Throughout the years, my husband has always supported me. Be it the birth of my children, my exams, or thesis completion – he has always been by my side. Even after becoming a mother of two, I never felt any less enthusiastic about my dream to teach the kids of Chhapra. Not that my responsibilities were holding me back; I felt extremely happy that I could give my children the life that every child should get.
But what about those children in rural parts of the country? Children for whom my father sacrificed his career? Do they not deserve a life equally prosperous?
I started teaching some kids at home. Any given opportunity and I would try to rush to my town as well, and spend as much time as possible to teach the kids in my neighbourhood. But I could not be in constant touch with them no matter how many times I visited. The moment I was out of sight, I was out of mind. Also, teaching a handful of kids from the neighbourhood was not the scale at which I had imagined things.
There I was, standing at crossroads with my childhood dream and my everyday life. I have to say that I was not unhappy. But there was this constant disappointment about not being able to do what I always wanted to. And this disappointment had started taking a toll on my health.
And then, like a spot of light suddenly appearing at the end of the tunnel, my brother introduced me to a social learning platform called Eckovation, around December 2015. It is a platform that bridges the gap between home and school and also brings students in touch with teachers, irrespective of their financial background.
It is a mobile app that connects educators and learners all across the country. I downloaded the app and started teaching there.
Now, I wake up at around 6:00 am every day and post the notes that I prepared the previous night for all classes. Throughout the day, I spend about 3-4 hours looking into students’ doubts and catering to their queries on Eckovation. I teach 800 students every day and many of them are from Chhapra. It gives me immense pleasure that I am realizing my childhood dream.
I am sure that my father, wherever he is, is really proud of me. He always said that nobody lives forever and the only way to mark your presence and be remembered in thoughts is by doing something for your people. An act of kindness never remains unreciprocated. It all comes back to you. Only education can take us from darkness to light. You just have to create peepholes for people you care about. They would follow the light and create a bright future for themselves.
– Sweta Singh
Eckovation is inviting all teachers and educators across India to form groups on the app to reach out to students who are interested in taking academic help from them. There are currently more than 700 teachers on the platform and more than 45,000 students. In case of any questions, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eckovation.com