Less than a year ago, I received an email from Internshala regarding the second edition of their flagship campaign, Intern With Icon. Intrigued by the email, I visited the website and read more about the campaign. It was indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I decided to apply for an internship with Shaheen Mistri, a person at the forefront of philanthropic management and social work in India. I had started my own organisation, but I wanted to gain more experience in the management aspects, and working with the CEO of Teach For India, one of the most successful Indian philanthropic institutions, seemed like a great idea.
I assumed that getting the internship would be a long shot and put it out of my mind promptly. Imagine my surprise, when a few days later, I received an email informing me that I was selected for the next round. I had to send my preliminary work in the second round based on which, I was called in for an interview. That interview was the start of my fantastic journey at Teach For India.
On my first day at the office, I arrived early, excited about the work that I would be doing. Of course, I imagined that with a person as busy as the CEO, a meeting with Shaheen might not take place till I’m further along in my internship. However, as soon as I entered the office, I was ushered into a room where Shaheen was conducting one of the first Kids Education Revolution workshops. By the time she came over to meet me, I had been watching her in complete awe and just smiled at her in stunned silence. She very gracefully ignored my starstruck reaction and made me feel comfortable around her within seconds.
Later, I was introduced to the project I was going to work on, which was the Kids Education Revolution. It is a project that believes in the potential of students and that kids have the power to bring about innumerable changes. For this project, I was supposed to help out the team in any capacity needed by them. Though I was supposed to intern for three months, I ended up asking for an extension, which they happily granted. Over the course of nine months, I helped out in knowledge management, website creation, handling social media and communication channels, drafting, and event management. Throughout the project, we aimed to create an experience wherein adults, and kids could mutually learn and benefit from each other. The goal was to prove that turning the traditional structure of learning, i.e. from educators to kids, was possible and beneficial to all parties involved.
Working at Teach For India has been by far the best experience of my life. The work was fulfilling, and I could see the changes that our work brought about in the lives of young students. I was a part of a fantastic team, which not only taught me how to work better but also to improve myself in various aspects. I made friends instead of just colleagues. However, the most memorable part of the internship was working with those 150 kids. I worked with them for months and later lived with them for an entire week. I learnt more from these kids than any workshop or class I have ever attended. I was schooled in humility, perseverance, good manners, social skills, openness to experiences, grace, and confidence, and I loved every minute of it.
My core team, consisting of Shaheen, Aaran, Swetha, Kritika, Varshini, and Devisha, has been the most inspirational set of people I have worked with. I have always been prone to doubting myself, but they taught me new skills and gave me the confidence to utilise them effectively. They helped me better myself, and I am grateful to have found such a great support system.
About the Author: Vidushi Manoraj (the one with spectacles), a student of University of Mumbai Law Academy, interned with Shaheen Mistri, the CEO of Teach For India. She shares how enriching the experience of working with an iconic personality was for her. This article was first published on Internshala.