I wish I could mentor more women …..

JP Singh

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Priyanka stood up and shared how she had gained so much confidence in the past six weeks. She is a young girl studying at Delhi’s Women Technical Institute, which she joined after class XII. About 70 girls had gone through a Selling Skills programme under ‘Light Up A Life’ initiative by Brisc Carr Group Inc., of which I am a member. The programme objective is ‘Helping Underprivileged and Underemployed Youth in India Achieve Sustainable Livelihood’.

I was at the WTI, to handover the certificates of completion. As I interacted with them, the girls spoke up one by one ….. what a difference the initiative had made to these young lives !! While they were learning vocational skills at this institute, the six weeks intervention acted like a catalyst that was to transform their personalities and prepare them to lead better personal and professional lives.

“We can face the world with a lot more confidence”. “We learned how to listen to and understand others’ needs”. “We know how to ask open ended probing questions”. “ We will be able to interact with our employers, friends and relatives better”. “We will be able to deal with our family issues more effectively”. They went on enthusiastically.

The display of India’s Women Power in the Republic Day parade showed possibilities of what can be achieved if almost half of India, that is women, is equally empowered !!

While narrating her transformational story, one of the girls forgot the points she had diligently noted earlier. I took out my own scribbles from my coat pocket and showed her that even I had made notes to refer to for my talk to them later on and that she could also refer to her points. An amazing ease and calm dawned on her immediately. She reached out for her sheet of paper and rattled off all her thoughts.

Later on, while casually chatting with the girls, they said that they were nervous before the event, but our informal interaction made them feel at ease. I shared that before that interaction, even I was a bit tense as to how it will all roll out. With a roll of laughter that followed, I asked myself a Justplainandsimple™ question ….. “Who is helping whom here ?”. I was also gaining a sense of calm and confidence through the interaction with them !!

The way these girls had prepared and gone through the entire course was amazing. It reinforced my belief in the strength, grace and meticulous nature (among many other qualities) of the female gender. And there was so much for me to learn from and improve myself. Warren Buffet had once said that he was so successful because he competed with only half the population. Imagine the power that can be unleashed if India’s women are adequately educated and empowered. They will not only uplift their own families, but the entire society and the nation.

Most talks and meetings that I go for, I have my standard blue, grey, black, brown, white combination of colours to choose my clothes from. That day, I took out a combination of a ‘green’ jacket and sweater and a shirt with green stripes. The whole experience, I realized, was giving me a lot more joy, colour, brightness, confidence and fulfillment than probably for these young girls.

I have always told my daughter that ‘She is The Best’. That she should make herself capable enough to be able earn and lead a comfortable, healthy and happy life on her own. That she should speak up whenever and wherever needed. That Values are important. That the social programming of girls to be submissive is wrong ….. That day, I was able to share the same with so many more young girls

I could feel that my family had expanded ….. from being the boundary of my life it had expanded to include so many bright young souls ….. adding Grace to myself in the process !!


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