In Retrospect: Daftar Duniya - The First Chapter

Over the last year, I have had the chance to visit several government schools both in Delhi and Haryana and interact with various students, teachers, school and organisational leaders, through our workshops. The striking feature that connected all of them was their ambition. Each one wanted to change the world, and while everyone had a different way of doing it, the very idea of it made them all happy.

Arthan’s ‘Daftar Duniya’ programme looks at bringing such ambitions together to make sure that students know the best-suited pathway they could take to achieve their ambitions. During our initial conversations with students, we saw three kinds of responses from students in every classroom and realised all of them had different requirements- there were students who had certain goals and with clear reasons about why they wanted to pursue this goal, there were students who were somewhat confident in their abilities but did not want to commit to a one particular goal and then there were students who were confused and unsure about their skills and priorities.

We found these three kinds of responses not just in lower grades, but also in higher ones. This omnipresence made us realize that career planning is neither made a priority nor done in a structured manner in classrooms.

During one of the student interviews, we had a chance to talk to Sanjana who wanted to explore a career in aviation hospitality. She told us why she wanted to become an air hostess. The first flight Sanjana had taken was when she visited Kashmir. During the journey, she met Pooja, who was a cabin crew member of the airlines, and someone who Sanjana now calls a role model. During takeoff, Pooja was trying to calm down older passengers who were traveling in an airline for the first time ever. She was polite, patient and able to solve the situation at hand. This inspired Sanjana, who since then has always wanted to become an air hostess.

Other conversations with students also showed us how everyday actions could inspire a sense of purpose in students. However, not everyone had a story like Sanjana and this was where our work started. Our challenge was creating a program that could cater to the needs of the large numbers of students, i.e. scale, while at the same time ensuring depth and effectiveness. Arthan works through a teacher training mechanism, where teachers are trained to implement a 20-hour curriculum with students taking them through a journey of self awareness, teaches them planning as a skill and helps them understand and create a career plan.

In the last year, we were able to reach more than 5000 students in Delhi alone.

We honestly believe given the right guidance and essential skills, students will be able to chart their paths, with clarity and confidence.