Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Shilpa The Fighter : Priyanka Kaushik

Meet our edu-leader Shilpa, The Fighter

After completing her studies till class 12th, Shilpa wanted to study further, but her family’s financial condition was not stable and she had to wait for the right time. She joined the i-Saksham fellowship when she took admission in B.A. Shilpa is an edu-leader from Daulatpur village of Jamui district, Bihar. She has been associated with i-Saksham since 2015. Right now she is pursuing her B.A. and her fellowship is about to be complete. 

Shilpa teaches at the Naveen Prathmik Vidyalaya, Ravidastola. She still remembers her struggle in conducting a Parent-Teacher Meeting (PTM) for the first time. It was around Diwali in 2019 and it helped her bridge the gap between the community and the school. One of the teachers, Mr. Kishori, and the headmaster of the school, Mr. Akshay, did not want to organize the PTM – they believed that not a single parent would turn up, though the students had said that they would bring their parents to the PTM. Proximity to important festivals like Diwali and Chhath Pooja was another point of concern for Shilpa, as the parents might not come; however, parents of 10 students turned up and the meeting was successful. Due to Covid-19, the schools have not opened and physical meetings are yet to begin.  

Shilpa (extreme right) doing door-to-door visits in the community to aware parents of PTM

Shilpa guiding a student within the small group 

Students sharing results of word-mapping activity

The Bihar government had launched the Nasha Mukt Campaign in 2017. 

Shilpa realized there were a lot of addicts among her students’ parents. Her student Sonakshi’s father would drink a lot and many in the community were drug addicts. Shilpa faced the drug addiction problem in the school premises as well, which was being regularly used for substance abuse by some people from the community. The classroom would be dirty every morning. Shilpa is still trying to resolve this problem.

Edu-leader Shilpa wanted to tackle this problem as well as accelerate the progress of the Nasha Mukt Campaign. She decided to conduct a Republic Day program for the first time in the school. She and Mr. Kishori prepared the students to perform in a natak (skit) on Nasha Mukti. 

Students presenting song in the event

In the natak, the children presented a day in the life of a family with an alcoholic father – Sonakshi played the main character. These were some of her lines:

 “जीना है तो पापा शराब मत पीना

इसने कईयों  घर की खुशियों को है छीना 

जीना है तो पापा शराब मत पीना

Later, Sonakshi shared that her father cried a lot after watching the skit. Fortunately, the addiction problem in the community lessened after the program. This is a great example of how drama can affect the audience deeply and change many people’s way of thinking. It can encourage them to review their experiences and principles and help them change for their loved ones. Even in this community, the problem of substance abuse reduced because of these reflections, which started after the skit. Her efforts to spread the Campaign proved fruitful. 

Sonakshi (right), her sister, and her mother standing outside their home

Sonakshi’s family’s life changed after this event – as per Sonakshi’s mother, their personal and social life improved. Her father confessed in public that he will abstain from substance abuse thereafter and he kept his promise. It has been 18 months since that event and Sonakshi’s father hasn’t touched alcohol!

Edu-leader Shilpa is still in touch with Sonakshi and other students and members of the school. 

At the end of the fellowship, she joined the i-Saksham team. Along with this, she is also preparing for the Bihar Police examination.

Priyanka Kaushik is handling communications at i-Saksham.

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