A Volunteer Speaks

by Aishwarya Javalgekar on March 15, 2017

Gyanada only works the way we do because of the contribution of volunteers such as Rahul Jain. Rahul helps us teach Scratch to our kids, curates content with our full time staff, and also helps us with writing about our activities.

1. Briefly describe your experience at The Gyanada Foundation.

Being associated with a social cause has been on top of my bucket list since quite some time. It was December 2016 when I successfully checked it off, and how! Creating a difference within the community, and a conscious effort of becoming a red-caped messiah was what drove me towards Gyanada, and in retrospection I would call it one of the best decisions I’ve made for my personal growth and development.

I was closely associated with the coding program, and being passionate about programming I invested a significant portion of my time and effort towards teaching codes to street children (Read: Mini Zuckerbergs), and vetting the course curriculum. Every weekend was special. The girls came with renewed passion to learn a new skill and explore their creative sides, and they weren’t disappointed. To their own disbelief they could brainstorm myriad applications and programs through a set of basic applications and tools taught to them. This display of newly-found self-confidence will be pleasing to any bystander and greatly shapes the crux of my experience at The Gyanada Foundation.

2. Do you think the girls are able to cope up with the curriculum? In what way will Scratch be beneficial to them?

Scratch is an MIT developed program, meant specifically for school children to inculcate the skill of programming at a young age. It aims to make coding both, simple and fun. Girls at Gyanada don’t belong to an affluent background and are primarily street children with no formal education or background in Math or English. Hence, learning how to code is a steep slope. That being said, tremendous efforts have gone in by the kids and the mentors to alter the status quo, and 4 weeks later they’ve become pretty familiar with the idea of coding and the art of developing applications just via a mere input of certain commands and tools.

Scratch is a runway for these young coders to gradually hop on to complex coding languages like Python, Java and C. It will make sure that the foundation on which they start coding is strong, and stable enough for them to track an upward and forward growth trajectory in future, if they ever wish to make a career as a software engineer or programmer.

3. Are you bullish about coding being the intellectual way forward?

Rahul Jain

Meet Rahul, a Gyanada volunteer

The potential is tremendous. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple, are all outcomes of programming prodigies in the backdrop. Widely regarded as the 8th wonder of the world, coding is definitely the way forward.

4. According to you, what should we do differently to create a significant impact in their lives, professionally?

The girls we cater to represent a fringe group that is under-served and under privileged. They possess the skills and the intellect to take it far, but lack the required self-confidence and motivation to make the most of it. It’s imperative for us to be bullish about their potential and make them believe the same. This will not only propel them to think big, but also help them regain their lost confidence.

5. Anything you would like to highlight in particular (class, student interaction, way ahead, etc.) ?

The potential is huge, kudos to the entire team to think of initiating this noble cause and scaling it big. Needless to say, none of this would’ve been possible without Rinsa and her undying commitment to make things work.

To sum it up, let’s be that superhero in a red cape, someone is banking on you!