Making Their Own Way

Rajesh and Madhu, both bright and hardworking, have struggled their way up to receive higher education. They both are the first generation learners in their households to reach this platform. Rajesh being a top ranker is dissatisfied by the fact that his school is unable to provide him with opportunities to reveal his true potential. His school has leaky roofs, broken desks and incompetent teachers.  Madhu was close to achieving her family’s dream and her own when she got admission in Delhi University; however, she was unable to cope up with her classmates from privileged backgrounds and found herself struggling in the first semester.

Both Rajesh and Madhu are YIELD (Youth Initiative for Empowering Leadership and Development Volunteers) volunteers today and have been able to overcome many challenges.

“Like my brothers, I used to be very dominant towards my sister. I used to consider that it’s okay to divide work according to gender but now I have a broader and open understanding. I have developed a special bond with my sister and it makes me feel happy”, says Rajesh. He further adds, ” IGSSS has given me a lot of opportunities for growth such as; theatre workshops, participating in the climate strike, speaking with the UN Deputy General Secretary and getting involved in the Youth Convention on the National Youth Policy”.

On the other hand, Madhu says, “IGSSS provided me with a non-judgmental space where I could speak my mind and heart. I gained confidence and started communicating well which I didn’t do before. I was even able to facilitate a session on gender equality at an internship”. She further adds, “I have thought of working for providing free education for kids in slum areas because I understand the value of the experiences I have had here and how difficult it is to afford education today”.

These days Rajesh is leading a campaign that promotes youth participation in policy-making and is co-leading a theatre group called Aarambh. Madhu through SMILE (Student Mobilization Initiative for Learning through Exposure) internship has gained confidence and started communicating with her classmates.