It takes courage to be a shining beacon for others. Especially for young and influential minds. However, it is a responsibility few take on, so that there is some kind of guidance available for children to make those tough career choices at the crucial time in life. Meet Kshitij Mehra, one such shining beacon, spreading awareness in the hills of Himachal at present.
Sometimes every effort goes in vain and sometimes a little push is all that you need to change people’s lives. And when it comes to being a guide for children, the more you indulge with them, the healthier the relation gets. As is often said, children are like clay, the way you mould them, that is the shape they take. Hence it is important to note how the children are being taught in school and how well their mentors and pedagogues are guiding them. There was a time when there were very few career prospects that children were aware of. But nowadays, many new professions have come up which were earlier thought of as hobbies only.
Rural India is still unaware of these prospects. All they know is a typical list of 4-5 career options and that’s it. But there are people like Kshitij Mehra who want to leave no stone unturned in making children aware of better future prospects for them. And why not? These children are the future of India.
Kshitij is the founder of ‘Yuvshaala‘, an organization that solely works in spreading awareness about career prospects for children, guiding and counseling them for a better future. Seeing that villages are the ones most deprived of such knowledge, their prime focus became villages initially. So it was very important to reach such places and let children and parents know the different opportunities available to them, and how they could use their skills in a professional way. When he first started this venture, he just had one motto in his mind, “If I am able to change the life of at least one child, it would be the biggest achievement for me!”
Kshitij was travelling to Himachal to conduct a session for an organization he was working for at that time. It was here that he realized the fact that people in such areas are not aware of things that the city people are exposed to. He determined at that time that, sooner or later, he will reach these people with a motive of giving them an insight of how the world is full of unseen opportunities for them. Thus Yuvshaala was formed.
At the beginning of any venture, it is important to find a proper way for funds to come in. Kshitij and his team were against the idea of getting funds in charity. So they did things differently. Since Kshitij himself had some knowledge about finance and knew about the budget and capital, he and his team calculated that if they collect even Rs.10 from each student who attended the session, it was easy for them to proceed with their idea of guiding the children. The fee is never forced upon them, he said. It’s their free will to pay or not.
The first year was totally dedicated to Himachal Pradesh Government schools, in the second year they focused on private schools as well. The current scenario is such that they have established their roots amongst the colleges as well.
What is so different that they do?
Kshitij and his team follow a four-step process called MARG:
– Aptitude Training
– Personality development
– Behavior understanding and Development
– Personality and Ethic Development
They first introduce the team to the class – tell them about who they are and what the organization does. It’s an interactive session, wherein the team and the children get to mingle with each other and open up their minds to each other. They believe it’s very important to know the mind of the child, what learning capabilities the child possesses, his/her linguistic skills, interpersonal skills, etc. After these things are known they conduct a psychometric test.
Once the result of the test is out, the children are divided into groups of the same genre. This is just to make them feel comfortable, but they are not forced to. It’s a 3-4 hour workshop, wherein interaction is the key and focus is on interpersonal communication.
In the coming 5 years, Kshitij sees Yuvshaala reaching the depths Punjab, Himachal and Haryana. They are presently working on the schools of Kullu, as he thinks that the children there are open to new ideas and new professions.
Becoming a support line for students is the vision of Yuvshaala, that too in such a manner that they are employable by the time they complete their education. Kshitij’s contribution in making India a better country is to focus on the education sector. He feels that putting in tons of money in education sector is not the solution for improving quality in education, but the implementation of plans and schemes is what should be focused upon. Better training of the teachers is a must.
Being young and so energetic, a sparkle can be seen in his eyes when he talks about children, education and spreading awareness among them. Yuvshaala was formed in 2010, and the kind of efforts he has put in the past 3 years is worth applauding. His success is a result of pure determination and a fire within him to do something for the children and the society. Yuvshaala has a bright future and a lot is yet to be seen from this young enthusiast.