Apr 03, 2023

Empowering Connections: Inspiring stories from Pratham Youth Leaders

by Pratham USA

In 2019, a group of young students took part in the Pratham Youth Leaders program. Designed to ignite the curiosity and foster a deep connection between students and Pratham’s impactful work in India, this unique program offers an enriching journey of learning, cultural immersion, and meaningful service.

Through a structured agenda and planned activities at Pratham Arora Centre for Education (PACE) near Aurangabad, participants gained a comprehensive understanding of how specific Pratham programs function and their role in addressing the challenges faced by Pratham.

The program also offered youth leaders the chance to explore their fields of interest and gain valuable experience. They were exposed to new perspectives on contemporary issues in India and formed lasting friendships. Subash Pereira, who coordinated the 2019 program, accompanied the participants on their journey to India and their engagement in various activities. He said, “It was amazing to see these teens from entirely disparate backgrounds and barely speaking a common language coming together and bonding.”

The Seeing is Believing: Pratham Youth Summer Leadership Program will be taking part again this summer. Stay tuned to hear more about the experience of our 2023 Youth Leaders! Until then, some of our 2019 participants share their experiences:

“We started the day by observing various PACE classes in the hotel. The students are receiving vocational training for hospitality in hotels. I noticed that many of the students were around 21 to 25 years old and preparing to enter their first job. They were learning about alcoholic beverages in one of the classes we observed and about various items that are placed in a hotel room/ bathroom in the other classroom. They played various learning games and engaging activities to remember the names and uses of items such as shampoo, soap, combs, etc. Many of these activities are also used in our schools when we are trying to memorize and understand topics. The curriculum that Pratham has created for these students is very engaging and is clearly preparing them for the real world.” – Shreeya Malpani

“Before lunch, I was able to talk with some of the students in the restaurant at the PACE center. I talked to them about what languages they spoke and how they liked the PACE center teaching. The amount of pride that they talked about the PACE center was astounding. On that note, yesterday I was able to talk with some other students and when I told them I really liked the PACE center, they were really happy and proud about how good their center was.” – Adhishree Kathikar

“We visited a village called Vaispur that is part of Pratham’s Hamara Gaon program. This is a 3 year program where a village is provided Pratham instructors, material and support to improve the curriculum and fill in any gaps for the students. This is Pratham’s 2nd year of involvement in this village. We sat in a classroom where a Pratham instructor was teaching the kids. The classrooms were clean and equipped with proper classroom materials. The students all looked extremely engaged. This year their enrollment increased from 24 to 33 students. It was nice to see the village’s positive results as a result of the Hamara Gaon program.” – Susan Patel