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Bharat Ki Shaan: 9 Students Who Learned English To Build A Brighter Future!

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For many of us, it was a regular last few days. But not for these 9 young aspirational students who spent their time learning English and getting ahead in life.

The youth today is aspirational, inspired and hardworking. Following are stories of 9 students that are making India proud.

On the Josh Skills app, you get points for working hard and learning new skills. These 9 students have crossed the threshold of earning more than 5000 points on the Josh Skills app. They are the top students in the English course among 18000 students. 

These points show that these students want to go out there and change their circumstances. These 5000 points are a sign of the resilience and persistence that these students have shown.They are the flag bearers of our bright future. They are the reason India believes in a bright future!

1.Deepak Kumar, 24, Bihar 

Deepak has a flawless AIR 1 on the English Course. He has over 20,500 points! In conversation with him, Deepak said a few remarkable things. “Mujhe Josh Skills se mohabaat hai. Main Bihar ke ek chhote se gaaon se hoon, par main Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, aur na jaana kahan kahan se kareeb 600 logon se baat kar paya hoon. Samay tha jab main 1 se bhi English mein nahi bol paata that.”

(I love Josh. I’m from a small village in Bihar but I’ve been able to almost 600 varied people across different parts of the country from Delhi, Chennai to Kolkata. There was a time when I couldn’t converse in English with even one person.)

He found freedom in talking to people and dissolving his fear of speaking in English. He has maintained a stellar score and his commitment to make his State proud is beyond compare. Deepak wants to build Bihar as a self-sustainable state and be an Entrepreneur. He says, “The idea of getting connected to a practice partner is revolutionary. I have spoken to almost 600 people till now!’

We are madly rooting for Deepak to follow his dreams!

 

 

 

2.Dharmendra Kumar, 23, Ghongarariya village, Bihar 

6 years ago, Dharmendra started to learn English, because the promise was that at the end of it, his salary would see an increment of 3x. He couldn’t overcome this challenge because of the unbelievably high cost of the offline learning centres(INR16,000) so inadvertently his learning came to a halt.

Fast forward 6 years with Josh Skills, in just Rs. 499 Dharmendra Kumar hasn’t gotten tired of answering the question “How have you been at the top of the Josh Leaderboard for weeks?”

Dharmendra right now has a flawless score of 16,200 points and is a favourite of all learners.

He mentioned to us “Pehle toh jab english wali madam hasti thi toh hum bhi haste the kyunki samajh toh aata nahi tha, ab toh dinn mein 4 ghante English bol lete hain.”

(Initially, our English madam would laugh and we would join in because we wouldn’t understand a word of English, but now things have changed. I can talk in English for about 4 hours!)

Dharmendra, son of Sh Sant Lal Byas, is really proud of himself, just as much as we are.

 

 

3. Shivam Gujjar, 19, Haridwar

Shivam has a stoking 13,616 points and AIR 2. During his interview, we tried speaking to him in Hindi, for ease of conversation but not-so-surprisingly Shivam answered all our questions in English!

He is 19, and a BSc Student and has an excessive interest in Stocks and Computer Sciences. But he has always been shy and under-confident until this change happened in his life.

Shivam said that his friends noticed the incremental changes in him with respect to speaking, understanding and fearlessly talking in English.

His friends said and we quote”Shivam bhai, humein bhi karna hai jo bhi tu kar raha hai. Please!”  Shivam lives with his father who is a policeman in Haridwar, and he is very proud of Shivam!

(Brother, even we want to do what you’re doing, Please!)

 

 

4.Rajat Kumar, 22, Rajori District, Jammu and Kashmir

In this remarkable conversation, Rajat spoke to us for 15 minutes in English. Not surprised? We weren’t either until he told us that it was the effort of just 30 days!

In this short span of time, he was able to comprehend, register and respond in what we call “faratedar angrezi” with our team member for the interview!

Rajat comes from a middle-class family, from J&K, and even though he has 3 older siblings, he never had any guidance for his future.

He is a first-generation graduate and has a whopping 9,408 points in the course!

What really left a mark on us, was his passion to continue working on his dream to be an IAS officer and the gratitude he holds for Josh Skills in his life-helping him discover more of himself!  

 

 

 

 

5.Anmol Jain, 22, Madhya Pradesh

Anmol is an engineering student who struggled with his coursebooks because of their medium being English. He shared how significantly difficult it was for him to talk to his teachers in English. He is one of the firsts in the family to speak in English.

He recalls how mischievous he was when he was in class 5 and still is! His mother, Smt Rekha Jain, he mentioned had him transferred to live in a stricter environment because of his habits! His father runs a grocery shop, and both of them would be extremely proud of his work today- 9402 points. 

6.Yogeshwar Paswan, 18, Madhya Pradesh

Yogesh, by far, is the youngest top-scorer.

He is 18, with over 7,369 points and is a class 12 commerce student hailing from Panna, Madhya Pradesh. He wants to make it big as a CA and started living a very simple life from the age of 10.

He lives in an Ashram, wakes up at 4, and is very sincere in his efforts. He considers his “bade papa” to be his inspiration.

We asked him a simple question about his dream- and his young and innocent self said “Ma’am, main apne aas paas ke logon ki madad karna chahta hoon, jaise bhi- chahe padhai ya fir rozgaar se.”

(Ma’am, I just want to help people around me, either through education or employment) 

Yogeshwar maybe someone who speaks less, but executes with sincerity twice as much!

 

 

7.Jaynath Maurya, 32, Sirkina Gaon, Jaunpur

 Jaynath has been working and leading teams here in New Delhi for the last 10 years. But let’s go back to when he was in class 10.

“I would’ve dropped English as a subject in 10th if it were an option!

I was scared, and just did not want it”  Imagine living with that fear as a student.

Jaynath was equally intimidated when he found out his Bsc medium was entirely English. One language became a big barrier in him moving forward.

But when we spoke to him in 2021, he took his entire interview in English.

He has a mad score of 8,012 points with a full-time job! He is so proud of being able to let go of his “fear”- that he is after his younger brother Amarnath Maurya’s life to start his journey with Josh!

 

 

 

 

8.Subhashree Sahoo, 21, Odisha

Subhashree is a Nursing student from the district of Koraput, Odisha. She is one of the top women on the All India Leaderboard of Josh Skills course with a brilliant score of 7,648 points.

When we asked Subhashree about her dream job in life, she said: “I want to help people and help them become better, that is why I am in a profession of healing people.”

 Her village has seen a lot of diseases that come in and take away lives with a lack of resources and healthcare. Her challenge was that her profession requires them to interact a lot in English.

She decided she wasn’t going to let English become a barrier in achieving her dream, and we are taking a bet on her being able to madly follow them!

 

 

 

9.Tabarej Alam, 22, Bihar, 

Tabarej’s story moved us.

He has already completed the course and scored a perfect 98% in all the exams of the Spoken English course! Tabarej studied all of his student life in a Hindi-medium environment but wanted to learn English because it is a global language.

He mentioned that in his village, people do not want to spend on education at all. Despite these social situations, his father, Mr Syed Mazhar Alam, a 55-year-old farmer, always defied the odds and supported his son’s dream.

Tabarej said and we quote “agar main aapse aaj baat kar paa raha hoon, it is because of my father.”

(If today I’m able to talk to you, it because of my father)

Tabarej is a UPSC aspirant. 

We salute the parents, teachers and mentors of these students. We are proud of you, India is proud of you. 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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