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When I received Richa’s Diary this time, it had an intriguing heading, “The Other Half”. It set me imagining as to what she wanted to portray as the essence of her experience this time.
Richa’s writing has the quality of Zen Haiku (poems), capturing experience with a terseness and precise economy of words albeit with a subtle lyricism.
I have found it fascinating, how she is able to distil almost every facet of her experience, capturing all nuances of her emotions in barely a page.
As an intern, I have a glow of satisfaction, that she has been able to get an altogether realm of experiences at NEEV which not only makes her ask questions of outer realities, but also, and more importantly, nudges her to probe her inner self. For internship at NEEV is as much about reflective dialogues as about work.
But no learning is possible if there is not a penchant for it. In the two weeks that we have spent with Richa, I have seen her as a soft spoken girl accompanied by a curious and learning mind. Always streaming with questions, it’s Richa, who has crafted her internship into a gem of a memory, both for NEEV and for herself.
Please read on !
THE OTHER HALF
A new week, a new beginning. Suddenly, on Monday, Anurag Sir took me on a visit to the Neev Herbal Handmade Soaps facility. Located in Hurlung Gaon, where NEEV Soaps is situated, had a taste of rural India. For the first time, I realized how the other half of India lives. Innumerable trees, huts and muddy roads, everything was rejuvenating. It was hard to imagine that this ‘no-pollution zone’ was located in our degraded city. I definitely had a lot to explore in this new place.
As expected, last week turned out to be full of surprises. I was fascinated to see that at Neev, from production to packaging everything is done by bare-handed women. How can one handle the intricacies of soap making without machines!! Impressive!!
With so many herbs involved in it, making soaps is really difficult. But from my point of view, if making soaps is difficult then counting them is disastrous. The physical inventory which I performed was complicated and grilling.
Nowadays the most interesting hour of the day is when we are surrounded by kids all around us. One poem after the other, they follow Shikha mam in their melodious voices. Some are very diligent while some are mischievous. But above all, they are kids, eager to learn.
Every afternoon nowadays brings a new set of dishes. We all – Sangita di, Sushma di , Jashomati di, Shikha mam and I mix-match our tiffins and the result turns out to be an awesome lunch. ‘Jokes-cracked’ and ‘stories-shared’ make our lunch time more wonderful.
These days, calculations accompany me all the time & I have realized passion is essential for completion of a task else things start turning boring. Passion can lead to miracles.
By spending time here, away from the hustle-bustle of my city, I discovered, while we live in a machine dominated world, the other half of India is independent. They lead a simple life & are very close to nature. While we live for ourselves, our profit, the other half lives for our planet!
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Richa is a student from NIT Jamshedpur, 1st Year in Electrical Engineering. Through NSEF (National Social Entrepreneurship Forum) she decided to do a summer internship with NEEV. She has spent the first week with NEEV School and I asked her to pen down her experiences.
She chose to title her experiences as “Behind the Scenes” as it elicits the processes that go behind our effort to build the school
I am reproducing her diary here. I have purposefully left the extract unedited to retain the original flavour and authenticity so please overlook any language errors. What matters ultimately, I guess, is the flavour of the experience.
BEHIND THE SCENES
“Reluctant and unsure”- this was my state of mind when one of our seniors informed us about the NSEF internship program. Knowing that distance would be a barrier, I applied for ‘NEEV’- a social enterprise located in my hometown, Jamshedpur. Surprising but encouraging, I got selected and landed in NEEV PUBLIC SCHOOL to have my first “behind the scenes” experience of an organization, fortunately, a school-an integral part of every student’s life.
Presently, while working for the rural-kids sponsorship program, I found out that majority of students in Neev belonged to the rural areas. This , somehow ,took me back to my first day at Neev, the demo English class taken by Anurag sir. During the class, I never felt that the students were deprived of anything. Instead, their enthusiasm and hunger to learn equalled any other student reading in any other city school. ‘The environment, the interaction and the effort’ together, were providing quality education to these unfortunate yet fortunate children..
Every-day at Neev is new. For the first time I saw people, more importantly teachers, discussing their dislikes openly. Thus, beating the negativity which would have adorned the atmosphere , had the discussion not taken place. What took me by surprise was the discussion on policies which happened just after the serious discussion mentioned above. Everybody was putting in their best. Even if there were differences, the differences were unable to beat the passion for teaching.
Next came the parent’s-teacher meeting. Besides educating the children, Neev was educating their families as well, thus, uplifting our society. One of the best things that happened during this period was the workshop on ‘effective communication skills’. It turned out to be an eye-opening session & made me realize that I was a passive listener rather than an active one. Last but not the least, the most thrilling experience was the training of the kindergarten teachers. The motive behind teaching children using such playful methods had been a mystery for me which was unveiled during this session. When it comes to kids, from your expressions to your skills, everything had to be perfect
Somehow, I feel , Neev is different. The enthusiasm, the energy & the positivity in the atmosphere here lead to an optimistic bend of mind. I have learnt a lot here and look forward to learning more in upcoming days of my internship.
I am a tad late on this but I was waiting for the framing to be done. I just wanted to share with all of you a beautiful gift to me as a speaker in the 6th Indian Marketing Summit organized by BIMTECH especially for Social Entrepreneurs. The reason I am sharing this with all of you is two-fold. One because of the sheer beauty of the gift and secondly, but more importantly, because BIMTECH decided to present all the speakers with a handicraft item.