#MyStory | I resigned from a lucrative job and started working for a rural school

I am Satwik Mishra. I hail from Purnea, Bihar. I hold a B.Tech degree from VIT University, Vellore, and a DEBM degree from EDI, India. When I resigned from a lucrative job, the sole motive was to find my life’s meaning, because although I was doing well financially, I couldn’t find the satisfaction I sought. That’s when I decided to look for happiness in India’s remote corners and hence applied for the SBI Youth for India Fellowship 2016.

After the orientation of the fellowship programme, we were sent to the allocated NGO to carry forward our journey of rural development. I was assigned to Gram Vikas, an NGO based in Odisha. Out of the four schools started and operated by Gram Vikas, one is Gram Vikas Residential School, Kankia. During my survey, I came across the good things about the school, but its flaws as well. I soon realised that I was here to provide solutions to these problems. Doers, and not critics, have made this world what it is today.

One day Manoj, a student, came to me and asked about my graduation stream. After coming to know that I was an engineering graduate, he got excited, but his face soon fell. When I asked for the reason, all he could say was – “I too dreamt of becoming an engineer but later I realised it’s not our cup of tea.” Later I came to know that although the school had allotted extra classes for science and math, students were not doing as well as they should have been. One clear reason I observed was that the school had no science practical labs where students could learn through experimentation.

I wondered how a teacher could teach science without demonstrations and practical experiments. While this school tried its best to confirm the quantity of teaching hours, it missed out on the fact that quality matters as well. Quality integrated with quantity can bring out the best in our education system.

I set up a science lab where students can get hands-on learning with various scientific devices, models, and prototypes. I went for a crowd-funding campaign to arrange the amount required to set up the same. I also got a few computers donated by RBI, Bhubaneswar to set up a digital library in the school. I developed more than 50 video tutorials related to scientific experiments students are supposed to do in a science lab. This digital library has all the computers loaded up with all those video tutorials customised by me as well as various other video tutorials and documentaries. Children can easily navigate to explore courses from various subjects. This library also helped me to make my science lab project sustainable.

During my stay, I also took regular classesfor grades 7 to 10, teaching students computer basics like Paint, Calculator, MS Office, etc. To develop greater interest in computers, I also taught Photoshop to a few students who were interested in graphic designing. I also took demonstration classes for the science subject along with teachers of the school to get them familiar with the ‘learning by doing’ strategy of teaching.

Now, when I tell them that similar software and experimentation are being taught in engineering and other science related studies as well, unlike those dull faces, I see hope in these children. I have realised that satisfaction doesn’t come through getting everything we want from the world, but by reciprocating. Happiness increases by sharing. The more you share, the more you get.

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