By Ruchika Dubey
Everything comes to pass, nothing comes to stayMatthew Flickstein
I now understand the above quote from Mathew Flickstein in a real way. I know, this tough time is going to pass soon. Though it is a matter of concern how we make this tough time a productive one?
I am a 40 year old budding writer. Since two years, I am writing articles on hidden talents of people especially women in Qatar for a local magazine. I wrote so many articles on artists, entrepreneurs, and others. Everything was going on well. I was happy to find myself grow in the field of writing. Apart from being a contributor writer for a magazine, I got a job in an online travel portal to publish travel blogs on their social media pages. I always felt showcasing hidden talents especially women who are doing something good for society is my way to contribute something to society. Whenever I wrote any article on any one in Qatar, I felt happy and contended that I am doing something good for expatriates in Qatar. After reading my articles, when others got inspiration to do something productive makes me motivated to explore more talents in Qatar. Readers appreciated me and my work from around the globe. Positivity was there in my behavior.
But everything changed in March 2020. COVID-19 pandemic is an unwanted guest in everyone life which directly or indirectly affected everyone. Whether it is health, economy or mental health, everyone found some or the other reasons to get rid of COVID. After lock down in Qatar, publication for the magazine stopped which lead to block my options to write more. Even the travel company for which I was working as a content writer closed permanently. I was shattered. I was not finding any way to enhance my career. I was simply a mom and wife – not a writer anymore. I was frustrated only doing household work.
I then realized that there are so many problems faced by others such as losing job, getting infected from COVID, even lockdown made everyone locked in their home. Some were far away from their family, feeling of loneliness, depression made people sick. But the main cause of concern I observed was in children who lost their freedom to spread their wings and fly like a bird. Their schools got shut, which made their education affected. Children missed their school, friends and teachers.
Surfing internet and knowing about the COVID situation around the globe was only my concern. On the 10th of July, I got a message from my friend, Kanchan, that she was joining a group of people who want to help children learn and cover their school studies through online learning. I too got curious and gave a thought to join and help the economically poor section of society. I too gave my consent to volunteer for a noble cause. All volunteers were called for a WhatsApp meeting. I got to know about Ayukta which was recently started by Akansha Priyaraj. I was amazed to see Akansha, who looks to be in early twenties.
She is a beautiful girl who has a distinctive personality. She is confident and one who is especially kind and caring to others. She is a woman with a difference. I saw a ray of hope in her eyes. An enthusiasm to help those kids who are facing difficulties in learning from home. I was amazed to see the passion to help others in Akansha. Her brother Aman Priyaraj also supported Akansha. Both brother and sister are trying to make education more accessible.
Ayukta means sunshine which is definitely bringing shine on those kids faces who are getting online learning. It also aims at bringing the kids of the house help under one umbrella and providing them with basic education. Akansha was very clear with her objectives that poor kids should not be deprive of education due to pandemic. She mentions volunteers that like we have an interest to be online and update our Instagram page now and then, so why can’t we manage just half an hour or one hour daily of our
precious time for kids, for whom e-learning could be an expensive affair in India. Personalized and one-on-one access, is a dream come true for kids from low-income households through Ayukta.
Ayukta facilitate student’s online learning and provide social care and interaction during periods of school closure. Good thing is that it is free. While these online tuition do not carry Ayukta’s explicit endorsement, they aim to have a wide reach, a strong user-base and evidence of impact. They are categorized based on distance learning needs, which include kids from preschool till high school.
Mumbai-based Akanksha Priyaraj, founder of Ayukta, gave me an inspiration to sign up as a volunteer with Ayukta, the group of teachers of all ages. How does Ayukta works? In Ayukta, a volunteer will connect with children who are having a zeal to learn and are in need of virtual learning. As some parents lost their jobs or have to immigrate to their home town probably can’t afford school fees or extra burden of tuitions for their children. Within couple of months, a team of more than 50 volunteers from different backgrounds and age groups ranging from school going students, college students and working professionals united from all over the world joined. Volunteers started adding economically poor kids who needs support to study. If the parents have Smartphone and internet connection, Ayukta volunteers take one to one classes to teach them. There are time slots for volunteers to choose from morning till evening. Volunteers can opt for one or more kids as per their availability. Akansha and Aman always motivates their volunteers to support each other and work as a team. If any volunteer is not able to take classes any day, other volunteers coordinate and there is least possibility of kid missing any classes any day. Even Ayukta has happiness program in which every Saturday, kids are encouraged to learn about important personalities, nation events or sometimes music, art or dance as per their interests to students learning in Ayukta. Even we volunteers share our best teaching techniques among our group to help student learn better.
I am teaching kids at Ayukta since couple of months, I feel good to support a child in his education. I am always inspired by my teachers who helped me to grow and become a good person. Teaching selflessly can transform our lives. This has helped me to perceive the world into different ways. I am now positive and a bond develops with our students which sometimes relieves our depression and loneliness too. Their smile is a key to feel proud on ourselves. I realized this tough time will pass with some noble deeds. We know there are so many people affected badly. We can help someone in one or the other way. I like my new lifestyle of opening my WhatsApp for those little children who wait for me to teach them. I get the satisfaction and pleasure to see my student is doing well and even he praises me for that.
We should volunteer for some or the other cause. I wish Ayukta all the best wishes to enlighten the youth for enlighten of everyone future. I feel Akansha has started this pious journey that inspires more and more people and has become source of inspiration for educators to share their knowledge with those kids who really need it.
Ruchika Dubey is an HR by profession, a writer by passion. She dreams to travel to all continents of this world and loves engaging with different cultures. She had the pleasure of working for some of the world’s top organizations like Ranbaxy Laboratories in India and Qatar Airways. She is a freelance writer, who enjoys every part of her writing assignments. She tries to build her followers one by one, post by post, investing a personal level of passion and creativity in her content to achieve higher engagement. She enjoys creating value-added content. She also believes that every woman inspires and empowers her. Every woman is image of selfless love and has the power to create, nurture and transform.