We Caught Up With Jasmine Bala- A Former Fellow Of Teach For India From Kolkata As She Got Candid About Her Fellowship

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Teach for India is a non-profit organization that is a part of the Teach For All network. The Fellowship recruits college graduates and working professionals to serve as full-time teachers and leaders for children from low-income communities in some of the nation’s most under-resourced schools for two years, full time.
To learn more about the fellowship, click here. Final Application Deadline: 25th March 2018.

Team Beacon Kolkata caught up with a former fellow from Kolkata- Jasmine Bala who joined Teach For India after her graduation from Brown University in Business Economics and did a lot of different classroom projects and activities during her Fellowship.

Beacon Kolkata: What, according to you, is the best way to describe Teach For India?

Jasmine Bala: Teach For India is a platform to bridge the educational inequality in India. At Teach For India, we believe that at the root of this crisis in education lies a crisis of leadership. There is a severe deficit of people at all levels of the education system who are committed to working together to improve the capacity and quality of our nation’s schools.  Our aim is to fill this deficit of leadership in education.

Beacon Kolkata: Why did you join the fellowship program?

Jasmine Bala: I have always been passionate about education and I was actively looking to make a positive difference in society. I also wanted to work at the grass-root level and TFI was the best option for me since I was able to work with children from low-income families in the slum communities of Bombay.

BK: How is TFI a leadership development program?

JB: Teach For India recruits high performing students who are dedicated to making a positive change in society. The program equips fellows with leadership skills. In the fellowship, one needs to deal with children coming from trying and troubling circumstances and this is where the leadership skills emerge.

BK: What is the role of a TFI fellow?

JB: The basic role of a fellow is to go and fill the gap of teachers in schools, teach classes, increase literacy and inculcate certain skills in children like critical thinking and independent thinking – basically provide a holistic education to the kids.

Teaching these kids often involve working outside the classroom and working with the community that surrounds them. The main aim is to bring an overall positive social change in the child as well as the community.

BK: How has your TFI experience been?

JB: I started working with TFI in 2016 in a slum in North Bombay. The slum was infamous for violence, domestic abuse, drug abuse – you name it! It was very difficult working with the children there- they had no electricity, no paper and it was very hard for me to control the situation at times. Nevertheless, the kids were very motivated to learn, given the high number of drop-outs in the secondary classrooms.

BK: What is your biggest takeaway from the program – has it helped you develop any particular skill?

JB: The program was definitely a challenge for me – I had 80 students under me so there was always a lot to do. I came from an Economics background and whatever I learned from that – I brought it to my classroom. Overall, the fellowship helped me develop my managerial skills.

BK: The TFI fellowship- who is it for and what can someone expect from it?

JB: The fellowship is for anyone who wants to learn and grow. It exposes you to new adventures and challenges and helps you develop your personality and exercise leadership skills.

BK: What projects have you worked on?

JB: I have been working on a project titled ‘Balika’. 65% of girls in India drop out of school, and project Balika is sponsoring these girls to come back to school. We also work to mentor parents, do community visits and run a leadership development program where girls are made aware of the issues related to women in society. We also run a pilot program to ensure the safety of women, tied up with the police.

BK: What are your future plans?

JB: I want to come back to Kolkata and join the Recruitment Team here. Kolkata is thriving on its cultural and intellectual scene and I think it’s time to spread awareness about the work we do and the Fellowship Program in East.

Teach For India is now accepting applications for the fellowship program. Click here to apply. Final Application Deadline: 25th March 2018.

‘It takes a movement of citizens to solve the crisis. You could be a part of the solution. Join the movement for educational equity for all children and for a better, brighter India.’

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