A Desire To Help The Less Fortunate
Verve|August 2015
A Desire To Help The Less Fortunate
Three Gen-Next A-listers, Mallika Noor Mehta, Ashika Mehta and Namrata Goyal, nurture a desire to help the less fortunate, Zaral Shah discovers how they are making a difference.
Zaral Shah

 

MALIKA NOOR MEHTA, 26

Teaching For A Cause

Brought up listening to family discussions on current affairs, it is no wonder that she is inclined towards public service which includes her work with Teach For India (TFI). Daughter of Tasneem Zakaria Mehta — director and curator of Mumbai’s Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum — and Vikram Mehta — executive chairman of Brookings India in New Delhi — Malika Noor Mehta has fond childhood memories from family gatherings in their open-air courtyard in Udaipur every year.

THE NEED FOR CHANGE

“Without grassroots experience, I do not believe one can craft sustainable policy. You need experience in the former to be an effective leader in the latter. After teaching for two years, I can now name specific education policies that I would want to alter. For instance, schools in Maharashtra must promote students to the next standard (until class 8) even if students have failed their exams or missed school (I was made to do so despite my protests). Students and teachers become complacent about their work. I would not have realised how serious this issue is if I had not witnessed its repercussions first-hand.”

LESSONS LEARNT

“There are so many! Mainly, I learnt the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. I realised that no matter how many times you fail at something, you have to pick yourself up and try again. If my students did not understand a certain concept, I would try to figure out a different way to explain it to them. I knew that their lives, their education, their future rested in my hands. That was a huge responsibility and no matter how many times I faltered, I was determined to push through. I don’t think I had that sort of grit before I joined TFI.”

CAREER MOVES

“For the last two years, I have taught 35 children in a municipal school in Mumbai as a TFI Fellow. I clearly recall my first day of work. I was extremely nervous and wondered how my students would react to me. One of my students (who would later become one of my dearest student) told me that he would not listen to a ‘female teacher’ and that I should not even try to teach him. It was this point that I knew I had my work cut out for me! I had to work towards changing such attitudes.”

DAILY TIMETABLE

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August 2015