FLAME University


Stories from the FLAME community
Empowering Minds Transforming Futures
12 /Jan 2024
VOF Faculty Picure
Author: Kriti Bhargava,
Second-year Undergraduate Student

Empowering Minds, Transforming Futures: Kriti Bhargava’s Internship Journey with the Gyanoday, NGO as part of the Developmental Activity Program

Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." The role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to the cause of education cannot be exaggerated in a world where education is vital in transforming people's lives and society. As an intern at one of my city's prestigious nonprofits, I embarked on a transformative journey that extended beyond the walls of academia as a part of the Developmental Activity Program at FLAME University.

Workplace Insight

First and foremost, I would like to shed light on the organization I worked for. Gyanoday (Gyan ka Uday), meaning enlightenment through education, was founded by Mr. Avinash Singh Alag on September 26th, 2001, to empower underprivileged children and families in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Delhi (Gyanoday, 2023). The organization's main goal is to give students from the impoverished segment of society a mesmerizing learning experience using fun teaching methods for essential subjects including reading and writing, math, sports, music, and theatre (Gyanoday, 2023).

Vatikas (वाटिका), the heart of Gyanoday, is where the team teaches children basic life skills, arranges recreational events, and offers post-school tuition programs (Gyanoday, 2023). The organization operates Vatikas in 16 different locations across Meerut, Delhi, and Dehradun. During my internship at Gyanoday, I had the privilege of working at Blossom's Vatika, which is one of their locations in my hometown of Meerut. I spent about 160 hours with approximately 20 students in the Blossoms Vatika.

Student Engagement and Impact: My Contributions at the NGO During the Internship

Each day, my journey at the organization would commence with a brief update from my supervisor. During the first week, I dedicated my time to interacting with all the children and assessing their comprehension levels in various subjects. Over the next three weeks, my plan of action involved dedicating 1.5 hours each day to assist the students with their schoolwork and prepare them for upcoming tests. Additionally, for another 1.5 hours, I worked alongside another teacher, who was responsible for teaching the Vatika curriculum set by the organization each year. During these sessions, the teacher would cover the main topics, and I would supplement her teachings with additional information based on my knowledge.

Furthermore, after spending a total of 3 hours with the kids helping them with their school homework and Vatika Curriculum, I used to spend the next one hour teaching them spoken English. My approach was to ensure a strong foundation by covering essential grammar rules, vocabulary building, and sentence formation. The first topic I taught was greetings. Witnessing their progress as they transitioned from saying "प्रणाम" to confidently greeting others with "Good Morning/Afternoon" was truly rewarding and motivated me to do more for them.

For a dynamic learning experience, I began each topic by sharing my knowledge and combining informative YouTube videos. Students engaged in reinforcing worksheets and entertaining topic-based games following video sessions to ensure active involvement. The following day included brief examinations via lively presentations to consolidate their comprehension. I incorporated interactive games, such as "Simon Says," that promote language acquisition and listening skills to increase engagement and enjoyment.

The day at the Vatika ended with 30 minutes set aside for leisure activities, creating a harmonious blend of instruction and relaxation.

Beyond Education: Enriching Experiences through Fun Initiatives

Our organization arranged a two-week summer camp, "Gyanoday Great Grand Masti 2023," after three weeks of academic focus. Divided into four hours each day, the summer camp included arts and crafts, yoga, Zumba, dance, and team games. Art sessions focused on creative recycling and turning waste materials into crafts. Yoga sessions aimed at physical and mental well-being, while Zumba brought energetic fun. Team games and themed days added a competitive spirit and laughter. The camp culminated in a spectacular closing ceremony, where I served as the Master of Ceremonies. The event showcased student performances, poetry recitals, and artwork displays, celebrating the success and talents of each Vatika.


Empowering Growth: The Lessons Learned and Skills Gained

Overall, I had an incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling time working at the organization. The pursuit of knowledge has been my guiding star, which has illuminated my way and ignited my intellectual curiosity. I had a deep-seated urge to return the favor and serve as a guiding light for those who had a thirst for knowledge. The quote from Albert Einstein always comes to mind as I consider this voyage: "The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he can receive." I consequently decided to be a source of illumination for others looking for the brilliance of education, much like a candle that wilfully burns itself out to light the way. Through this selfless act of illumination, I came to realize that the candle does not diminish as it shares its light. On the contrary, it only grows brighter.

In this endeavor, I discovered comfort and meaning. As I stood before a classroom filled with eager young minds, I witnessed the transformative power of knowledge unfold before my eyes. The reciprocal nature of teaching and learning caused my own ‘flame’ to blaze more furiously as I ignited the flames of knowledge in others. I underwent a significant metamorphosis during my internship, especially in developing my patience and perseverance. Being able to see the sincere happiness and satisfaction on these young students' faces was a strong motivator. Every little accomplishment they accomplished and every tiny step forward they took became a testament to the influence I could have on their lives.

The tremendous perseverance and contentment demonstrated by the students I worked with was one of the most important lessons I learned during my internship. In a world dominated by materialistic pursuits, the students showed me how to find happiness in unexpected places. Their ability to maximize even the most limited resources was absolutely impressive.

I learned that setbacks are not hurdles but rather opportunities for growth and innovation by observing the organization's relentless determination to achieve its goals. The environment of acceptance and non-judgment that children foster is one of the most amazing elements of being around them. They saw each other and me impartially because of their innocence and purity. I was able to lose my self-consciousness in this freeing environment, which helped me become more outgoing and free-spirited.

Furthermore, the internship experience instilled in me a sense of professionalism. I learned the value of professionalism in the workplace by observing the organization's high standards of conduct and accountability. I improved my communication skills, learned how to adapt to different work contexts, and realized the need to display honesty, respect, integrity, and commitment in all professional relationships. I learned to prioritize activities, properly distribute resources, and make the most of my time. This ability was not only useful during the internship, but it will have a long-term impact on my future endeavors.

In conclusion, I can say that my internship in the NGO as part of the Developmental Activities Program (DAP) has been a tremendously rewarding experience that has been beyond all expectations. The lessons I've learned, the personal growth I've experienced, and the impact I've been able to have on the lives of the children have all left an everlasting stamp on my journey. It is a part of my life that I will treasure forever since it molded my perspective, rekindled my passion for education, and reaffirmed my dedication to making a difference in the world.

FLAME University: A Catalyst for the Success of the Internship

FLAME has played a pivotal role in arming me with the necessary skills for a meaningful internship experience. Under the guidance of a dedicated faculty mentor, I found a reliable source of support to navigate any challenges encountered during my journey. FLAME's well-structured courses, including public speaking, and applied ethics, along with its interdisciplinary curriculum, have been invaluable in preparing me to tackle real-world scenarios. The emphasis on multitasking, fostered through active participation in various centers, clubs, and festivals, has significantly enhanced my organizational abilities. The Developmental Activity Program, indeed an integral aspect of FLAME's experiential learning initiatives, served as a crucial link between theoretical knowledge and practical application. It exposed students to on-ground realities and fostered a connection with the world's challenges, effectively preparing us for future endeavors.

(Author: Kriti Bhargava, Second-year Undergraduate Student)