Those Six Weeks…

One bitten twice shy was an empirical idiom we learnt in our schooling days. Somewhat same was the approach when i agreed to accept the Kandivli Programme on behalf of a NGO which was then closer to my heart. The tie up was between my Office & the NGO. We had conducted one day programme around six months before, which could only be described as “disastrous”. So risking involvement of my Office in such a slippery place was one of the greatest gamble i might have taken in my recent years of cautiousness.

As it happened, on 10th July 2010, we, the NGO & My Office organised One day Camp for Women. The local volunteers to that NGO assured participation of 50 + women. Woefully short of target, the poor people could not manage even twenty heads. The programme was to begin at 02.30 pm, and to my distraught not a single should turned up, my office boss was present and i was just red faced. The volunteers ran helter skelter and prodded, requested and somehow assembled the crowd of around 25 women. The programme concluded somehow.

Now the big challenge was whether to begin the six weeks training programme from 12th July. Looking back at the experience, a couple of days before, one might not have risked it, but i stayed put.

The word spread on 10th July through the present participants however did the trick and around 30 participants came, the required seats for the course was 25 and hence i had the cushion, however, I accepted the admissions of 36 candidates and the course began.

From their education and profile it looked as all were simple housewives, moderately educated, a major chunk were 12th pass, some graduates. As we witness everywhere, I found that this group was also very low on confidence, they had not set their eye on what they were supposed to do, and some of them just came because she had heard that some course was underway. The general scene was that the ladies, a major chunk of them were oblivious, were diffident and required someone who could be their friend, philosopher and guide. Thankfully, they were in right hands, at MSME.

The first four days were of just plain brainwashing, the first lecture that i gave, i asked them to stop and turn back and look where they stood and what was their purpose of life. The candidates rightly found that they were lagging behind, they had missed the bus and needed to do something urgently. One the realization was brought in, the next step becomes easy. They were given simple tips on self development. Thankfully, the entire group was receptive and obedient and did what we asked for their self good. They did not question anything and followed the directions given by us.

As the self realization phase ended, they realized that urgent corrective steps needed to be taken. We then inspired them to go for self employment. Variety of Success Stories of common people making it big were told to them. Some inspirational videos were played for them and that did the trick. The women started feeling that yes, they too could do it, they too can board the bus, that they thought they had missed !!

After the initial molding, began technical sessions where we taught them variety topics, right from setting up of enterprise, to finance management, project evaluation, market survey, project report preparation, accounting basics etc. The topics taught to these simple ladies could have made a MBA feel envier on any given day. The ladies grabbed whatever was taught to them.

On 26th July, the practicals and demonstrations of preparation of various chemical products began. The faculty was equally competent in Shri Prakash Mohite. The ladies soon learnt all the practicals and felt confident that they could do something of their own, sustain in life and atleast dream to make it big.

Normally, i do not make so many visits to our programmes, but somehow, this group created an emotional bond and I visited the group more than often, it was kind of a feeling that this was my group and i had to see to it that it succeeded. Yes there were minor issues there, but those were resolved.

Finally, came the day, when the certificates were to be distributed, I was expecting that no one from the coordinating ngo would turn up, i was mentally prepared for the challenge, and exactly as my expectations were, no responsible office bearer turned up. Lack of sense of responsibility, or utter waywardness, one can call. Not to be bowed down by challenges, I faced it. I eventually, managed to make the programme one of the best programmes that my office had conducted, my boss gave me the testimony of it, the participants in their feedback testified it. One of my participant later sent me an email which is as below.
Adarniya Joshi Sir,
kalcha sendoff cha programme khoopach chan zala,.tumchya margdarshanamule mala khoopach navin upayukata mahiti milali, important mhanje maza atmavishvas vadhla,me kahitari karu shakte yachi janiv zali, tumcha margdarshan aseech veloveli milat rahil ashich apeksha thevate,

aapli aajchi vidyuarthini v udyachi udyojika

The day of send off, the certificate distribution programme, usually is not such a big day, for we conduct so many programmes. But 21st Aug 2010, was somehow, special for me, for i knew it would be my last day. In this training group, and elsewhere too…

The day began with the no-cooperation of the people which provided venue. The temple forced me to turn atheist a bit more that day. The chairs were removed, we had to hire the chair last moment. One gentleman lectured us on how proper management needs to be done. Poor soul himself !!! We do get many such characters everywhere, and what we do to such people is.. simply ignore them !! This course helped me evolve a bit more, I saw many faces and as many masks !!

All and all the programme ended up very nice, everybody was happy and bit sad at heart that they will not be part of this course any further. I specially felt that my efforts paid me dividend, when one of my participant, whom i caught off dozing in the last row on the first day, climbed the stage, and spoke for 15 minutes, admitting that this was her first entry on a stage. She spoke glowingly and got continuous applause. Out of 36 women 10 women came on the stage and deliberated their experiences. All impromptu, no dress rehearsals, nothing. The transition of this lady from a goalless lady to a lady full of confidence was to be seen everywhere when she declared that she would show her husband that she too can do something. Her tone, the firmness in her utterances and body language told me that yes, i had succeeded.

I am not so good in arithmetics but i surely know that here i had a very profitable deal. Not in monetary terms, but in terms of qualitative success. The success of my efforts were visible when 13 ladies formed one Self Help Group and got their banner inaugurated that very day. Even my boss was surprised !!!

I had a dream carved out deep in my heart, that I wanted to see definitive changes in people, and i could do it, i no more require the crutches of anybody to realize my dreams. I am posted at a very right place to cherish my inborn wish.

Obviously, i will be with Sangita and see her transform from ‘vidyarthini’ to ‘udyojika’ !!!

Pics of the Event


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2 thoughts on “Those Six Weeks…”

  1. Dear Vijay,

    Nice article..bit harsh but true to the sense. I did tried to appear as many as possible, but unfortunate enough that when given chance could not deliver. Hope so same kind of enthusiasm & confidence we can enthuse in our group to make the way of life simplier… I thanks everyone for making myself part of this program.

  2. You persevered (had dedication to your cause). We congratulate you on that, and the recognizing at the end that “i had a very profitable deal. Not in monetary terms, but in terms of qualitative success.”

    The profit was not in money; rather, it was in saving souls and giving hope to them and helping them to grab their own lives in their own hands. We congratulate you on that; for we know: such benefits to others reap rewards to one’s soul. Thank you for saying that.

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