KERx: Bringing KER to the communities!
This blog post was written by Rashi Agarwal, a 2018 Teach for India fellow from Delhi. The KERx Seelampur event mentioned in this post was executed by Team Khwahish: Anshu Arora, Aparna Rai, Barasha Mahanta, Chelsea Dean, Prashant Sarbhai, Rashi Agarwal, Urvashi Dhaundiyal and Urvashi Sharma.
Circa March this year, in the coveted Teach For India City Conference, we were introduced to the idea of community KER spaces in Delhi which aimed at taking KER to the innumerable high potential gullies of our communities to revive/enhance investment in the students’ growth. Experiencing almost an ‘Aha!’ moment, like any other passionate fellow willing to make an impact in the society, I was completely hooked to it to such an extent that I had already started buzzing about it before it even came into action.
Hola! At this moment, I take the liberty to introduce myself to you. I am Rashi Agarwal, a 2018 fellow working in the Community of Seelampur in Delhi.
“Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much.” – These words from Helen Keller always have kept my side during the various challenging moments in my experience at Teach for India and moreover in the community. With the responsibility of 105 children it was imperative for me to raise my own working standards by integrating everyone together and devoting myself to the lives of these children; be it taking up conversations about changing mindsets or addressing the loopholes that needed to be bridged in the education system.
KERx was an opportunity that I simply could not have let go off – the chance to bring together all these stakeholders of the society on one common platform to redefine education by taking it beyond the four walls of a school. Addressing the message of social change to bring out the impact that I had been working for had almost anchored me to such an extent that it exposed me to various uncomfortable situations and got me soaked physically, financially, and mentally on more than often days. It was with this passion that we planned for and organized ‘Khwahish: Ek Shuruaat’ the KERx event at Seelampur.
It was highly satisfying to witness all the stakeholders, be it teachers, students, parents, fellows, and HMs put in their honest efforts towards the idea, thus validating the above lines. If their support hadn’t been there, I only could have done a little by myself. Skipping all the phases of numerous phone calls, WhatsApp messages and meetings to convince my team members to chafe a collective vision, here we were on the event day taking pride in the tears of a mother who recited a ghazal in front of a crowd, surrounded by children, neighbours and the other educated strata of the society. It was a confident moment for me as well as my team who had put in endless hours of effort. We initially did not have the objective of a mother speaking up at the event but when it happened, we all felt a deep sense of satisfaction towards our work.
The dance and song performances, play, nukkad natak, competitions, poem recitation, panel discussion and gallery walk by students, teachers, and parents, all just pushed our thinking towards one singularity – all we had to provide was the platform to these unheard latent voices who were simply waiting for a ray of hope, an audience to hear their story and someone who believed in them.
Khwahish brought with itself a plethora of learnings ranging from tangible to all the various intangible aspects for all of us. From technicalities like inserting a link on the Facebook and Instagram icons to creating a fundraising page and procuring permissions, it was a totally different experience. The 45 days of preparation gave us more than 45 opportunities to learn. Not only this, even the constant reflections that were happening day and night made us explore ourselves more. None of this would have been possible without the people I worked with, from all the ideating, planning and execution to ultimately bringing the event to a conclusion.
With this, I would like to close my story with high hopes in my heart for more such opportunities for the collective powerful impact. As Vincent Van Gogh has rightly said: “Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together.”