Bringing about a change in the education is no mean task, but every little step counts. And Neha Swain, who was recently awarded Queen’s Young Leaders Award in Buckingham Palace by the British monarch, has already taken several in this direction. She talks about her NGO Rubaroo in Hyderabad, which aims to make education accessible to one and all, regardless of their socio-economic background…
Tell us all about NGO Rubaroo.
Rubaroo was known as Pravah Pahal in 2013. It became Rubaroo in 2014. We work along with education institutions, schools as well as colleges. We organise experiential leadership workshops, aimed at motivating the youngsters explore their leadership potential that can usher a social change. The workshops are weaved around the needs of the younger population, keeping in mind their social backgrounds. We intend to reach out to as many youngsters as possible who do not have equal access to opportunity. We raise funds so those from weak socio-economic and diverse backgrounds can also have an access to leadership training programs. We have also roped in teachers to participate in this movement. We provide training to them on how to make classrooms more creative at a low cost. The training entails coaching them about creating creative classrooms at low cost or without any cost. We also guide them on creating classrooms sans discrimination. We motivate them to become teachers who empathise with all their students.
What is the vision of Rubaroo?
It strives to ‘Create an inclusive, just, and equitable world where individuals transcend boundaries through a genuine engagement with the self and society’. In the next three years, we intend to reach out to as many as 5000 youth. We also want to expand our network by building a dynamic team of 15 and spreading out to other states.
Tell us about the challenges involved in having an education system built around the principle of social inclusion.
Although education is accessible in India, making it actually available to all is a challenge, given their social realities. In a Developing Nation like ours, quality education is truly a privilege. Inclusion does not include just those from weaker socio-economic backgrounds, but engaging diverse learners, irrepstive of gener, disabilities or interests or mindset. genders,disabilities, view points and interests in classrooms.
There are reservations aimed at inclusion, but we are yet to work on making each other feel included. Children who seek admission through reserved quota still face discrimination at various levels or are not treated at par with other students. Inclusion is therefore, also an emotion. At Rubaroo, we are devoted to building this emotion; the emotion of respect and tolerance, regardless of identity.
Neha Swain goes on to make several invaluable suggestions that can uplift the face of Indian education system like never before. An insight into some of these inputs…
- Classrooms should be about exploring and discovering the potential of each student. Besides, they should be free of all forms of discrimination.
- Life skills should be imparted in classrooms as well. These skills are important to face the real world. It is these skills that also make us better human beings.
- It is important to understand that every individual has his or her own capabilities and interests. It is important to bring out this potential and exploit it optimally. Education should not raise individuals who are clones of one another, devoid of their unique aspects.
- Last but not the least, Rubaroo could achieve its goals because it believes in challenging the norms. I feel it is important to do that.
Speaking Tree congratulates Neha Swain on her noble achievement and fully supports her views on universalizing education.