Q&A with our Facilitator
Ms. Manaali Manoharan was a facilitator of the Udhyam Shiksha Program in the year 2018 and had worked intensively in promoting the goals and efforts of the foundation. Currently she is working as a mental health counselor while pursuing higher studies in Australia. In this small Q&A session we’ve tried to capture her experience and insights about the program and its goals:
Q) What drove you towards Udhyam?
A) Udhyam’s core values of developing self-awareness, instilling confidence and empowering the youth with relevant skills drew me towards it. The periodic assessments, feedback collection system and group discussions to recognize the points of change are some of the factors that further strengthened my bond with the foundation. I find the working plan very dynamic and the team very friendly.
Q) What is your opinion on the current education system and job sector?
A) There is more focus on theoretical knowledge based on hypothetical science or mathematical problems. Simple and basic life skills such as filing one’s taxes are taking a backseat. Humanities and social skills are not given adequate importance. I often find people qualified to work but don’t have the capacity to handle work stress or maintain motivation in a work that they don’t like.
Q) Can you briefly explain your experience as a facilitator?
A) My work was very exciting. I was in the classroom working one on one with two batches of 24 to 28 students each. We took them through Udhyam’s curriculum on development of entrepreneurial mindsets. Students were encouraged to ideate, innovate and take their ideas forward into the community. We encouraged them in every step and made sure they didn’t give up.
Q) What potential did you realize in your students as a mentor?
A) A lot of the talents of the students came out in their teams, be it their ideas or pitch plans. There was a very conducive environment generated to encourage questions regarding budgeting and how to move forward with an idea. Certain talents of the students especially their skill in arts and crafts got a very good platform in the program. In art I would even include their ‘bargaining skills’ with wholesale vendors! Their work was very encouraging to me as a facilitator.
Q) How has the Udhyam experience benefited you or changed your perspective regarding the issues that Udhyam addresses?
A) I am more empathetic towards the students, be it regarding their academic problems or personal problems. My firsthand experience has made me better equipped with the knowledge of their potential which has instilled a lot of hope in me. Having seen them successfully juggle between classes and Udhyam, I have all the more respect towards them.
Q) What are the opportunities that Udhyam is providing to ‘Change Agents’ according to you?
A) Udhyam is providing a great opportunity through its Internships of both long and short term duration which are more feasible and have a flexible time table. This is especially encouraging to beginners who’ve just set out to explore the world of entrepreneurship or socio-economic change.