It is probably the oldest story in the world - a girl with a million dreams - questioning the existence of those dreams and wondering if they will ever come true. The girl in our story is Astha.
We met and spoke to Astha through our career planning sessions, with her class. And it is safe to say that we learned from her as much as we may have taught. She forced us to think more in-depth about what a career means to girls like her - the very reason why one would want a job? Most commonly a career is about achieving one's professional goals, and fulfil one's aspirations of 'doing well'. Astha’s career aspirations are aligned with that of her mother's. She realises the sacrifices her mother has made, and doing something for her is the only dream she has. If her Ma is proud, she will succeed.
Astha aims to be a science teacher in a good school and says that will make her mother happy. Her plan B is to become a soldier and serve the nation. She says some of these ideas came to her through discussions in the career planning workshops, before which she admits to not knowing much in this regard. Astha’s most significant source of motivation is her mother’s trust in her, and the support provided by the faculty at her school.
She has even started working towards her goals. Astha knows she needs to gain expertise in biology, physics and chemistry (which she dislikes). She has started doing more science experiments and other related activities. She proudly tells us that she is regularly making notes, and searching for resources online. Through the career planning and work readiness workshops, Astha has discovered that it is not just about academics, values and soft skills are equally important, and she wants to acquire both. The classes have helped her get rid of the negative thoughts, understand her strengths and think of other exciting career avenues.
It has been a thrilling experience working with Astha and being able to start a conversation about career, dreams and aspirations. We hope to work with many more Asthas and learn more about their ambitions, dreams and ideas of careers.
We have just started, and have a long way to go. You can help us in supporting more children like Astha by donating on our crowdfunding campaign here.