A shining star

We had an interview with Mr. Deepak, a volunteer working with Youth Empowerment Foundation who has been driven for this cause since a young age and feels strongly for the betterment of the under-privileged sections of our society. The discussion started with the reason behind the higher dropouts’ rates in under-privileged areas and why education is not being prioritized for children over here. Sharing his viewpoint, Mr. Deepak quotes “People do know the importance of education but they have meagre income and lack basic facilities, hence they cannot afford their child's education.
They too want their children to be learned adults but lack of resources pulls them behind."
Further he said that young children are more ecstatic and eager for learning than older ones. As in poor households they have meagre income and older children after the age of 12-13 have responsibilities to earn for their family and education takes a backseat for them.
On being asked about difficulties faced by these children, he says that they do face difficulties for the first time but they are very enthusiastic about learning which motivates us to do better and make things easier for them.
Moving ahead I asked about if the Foreign education system is better than us, to which he feels that
"Foreign education policy is better as they provide basic education free of cost, which is not the case in India resulting in the higher dropout rates.
Indian education system requires costly education to land up for a job, as the competition is very tough."

Sharing his views on improvement, he said that we can improve this system if we make basic education free for all and eliminate the hierarchical discrimation one has to face, if they don't belong to the creamy layer of the society.
Adding to his point he says that the Government plays a major role in the development of the education sector.
They should make admission policies easier and more affordable for us. Also, there must not be any age- criteria for courses as it is a hindrance for many people coming from under-privileged backgrounds.
Skill- based education should be prioritized.

On being asked about things to keep in mind before starting a NGO, he shares that one must set a particular goal towards welfare and be driven for it.
Also, a definite Will power is necessary as there are lots of problems such as funding and lack of support in the way.

Talking of whether funding is challenging, he said that funding has been challenging but they try to connect with important people and make them understand the cause and need for sponsorships, as the government doesn't provide any kind of financial help to NGOs.

Sharing the Idea behind the success of YEF, he quotes
"I think YEF is successful today as we are ready to serve with utmost sincerity. Youths from all over India can join our team and can do their bit for the society.
As an organisation, we don't have any communication gap and have long term strategies to go ahead.
We have shown faith in ourselves and in our noble cause, which is reflecting in our success today."
Speaking of long-term goals for YEF, Mr. Deepak says they are planning to reach and offer their services to even more under-privileged sections of the society. Also, Vocational training will be promoted for self-sustenance of the women and the children.

On a personal note about the children he teaches, he says that ' I just expect them to achieve greater heights, be a self-sustained adult and be compassionate and responsible towards others.

Talking about his journey as a social worker he said that from a young age he has been driven to provide his service to the needy. He said that his communication skills help him to convince people and he possesses the needed Will power to bring a change around.

On being asked about the appreciation he receives as a social worker he said that appreciation is not a necessity for him and very few people around him are aware of his work. He feels satisfaction and serving with utmost sincerity as more valuable than any appreciation.

On a personal note, he shared about his dilemma and ethical conflicts he faces when he sees the difference between the children he teaches and us.
"I sometimes feel agonized about how much opportunity and resource difference is there between me and the children I teach.
Yet, I move ahead assuring myself that if I give my best in whatever way possible it will turn out fruitful one day."

We need more driven and selfless hearts like Mr. Deepak to make small yet significant changes around us.
These small changes are the foundation for a bigger difference and for bridging the gap between the haves and the have nots.

We have the potential to bring a change and by even dedicating 2-3 hours a day, if we can contribute towards it, then why not!

Let's start taking smaller steps for a bigger change and make our lives better.

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