Babita, who is in the last phase of her fellowship, has impacted
the community to such an extent that new edu-leaders look up to her when they
talk about leadership skills, being courageous, and implementing change at the
Babita’s teaching center was based in the community, while her
peers were teaching in schools. Her experience of teaching in a community
center reminds us that instead of force-fitting learning into the
already-stressed day in a child’s life, why couldn’t school come home? Not only could this help reduce
the burden and stress of both the parents and children, but it will also help
create a learning environment for children in their homes and community.
This opportunity helped Babita break her preconceived notions
about the local community and their daily lifestyle. She would think that
people in villages don’t want to provide education and opportunities to their
girls and women. She is proved right when her mother has to listen to taunts
from other women when Babita comes home late by even half an hour. It would
take a lot of effort and courage from many girls to improve the community’s
Her journey started from looking for a space in the community to
teach students who were out of school for two reasons – one, the schools were
closed due to Covid-19, and second, some students had to do household chores
with their family members.
Manish Goswami (Community Representative)
“Babita (who is an Edu-leader at i-Saksham) is making every effort in the education sector and empowering the community to be cognizant of the ground reality. Pandemic is going to have a lasting impact, especially for communities that are already marginalized. It is therefore imperative that we create solutions that can reach the last mile and Babita is one of our community leaders who is said to be successful in doing this.”
Babita started with a class of 5 children in September 2019 and by
April 2021, her community classroom had 40 students! This was a result of daily
door-to-door meetings with the parents of the children. During the lockdown,
she was able to teach 10 students through mobile phones. The rest of the
students studied with the help of worksheets and TLMs. Currently, there are 20
students in her classroom and some students moved to their ancestral homes –
this indeed is an inspiration for other edu-leaders.
Teaching in the community center was not limited to the center
itself. Babita would visit the community after classes to check on the children
who had missed their classes.
One student, Gauri, would often skip classes to pick wood from the
jungle. Her grandmother told Babita that firewood is essential to cook food, so
Gauri could not come to class every day.
An idea hit Babita’s mind: why couldn’t she help them in enrolling
for the PM Ujjwala Yojana that provides LPG connections to women in this
community? After understanding the procedure of getting LPG connections, she
convinced a few parents of her children to apply for it. Within a month that
family got an LPG connection! Then the whole community started looking for this
government scheme’s benefits. Gauri’s attendance is regular now.
The second-year curriculum of the fellowship gave a push to
Babita, in which the edu-leaders are taught about government schemes. It was a
point in the fellowship that gave her clarity about the proper implementation
of policies on the ground. After conducting surveys around government schemes,
Babita found that there was a lack of awareness among people, primarily due to
She believes that there is a need for better coordination among
private entities, community institutions, civil society, and NGOs to improve
the reach, transparency, quality, and effectiveness of a scheme till the last
Currently, Babita is pursuing her graduation and wants to become a
civil servant. Meeting women in village organizations, helping team members
during sessions, and regularly attending webinars and seminars provided by
i-Saksham pushes her further in the direction of her dream.
Priyanka Kaushik is handling communications at i-Saksham.