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Empowering children through education

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Seema Rajput, a Technical Specialist in Education at CARE India talks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about her profession

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working to empower children, especially girls, from the most marginalized communities in India, and supporting the government in developing plans and policies which are practical and can be implemented so that the target groups can actually get their rights.

What is your job profile?
My profile in CARE India includes taking the lead in developing strategies and programming for out of school children; building leadership skills in girls, especially adolescents, with special focus on ensuring health and hygiene; and building resilience and strategies for ensuring safe and secure education for girls, especially those from the most marginalised communities.

How has your job changed your perspective?
I have learnt that taking degrees with high grades/GPAs should not be the only aim in one’s young age. Rather, what matters is if you really understood what you read/studied, how you can apply your learning to face life’s challenges, and the practicality of it. My whole education, from schooling to university, took place in government-run institutions.

Why did you choose your career?
I found a match between the goal of my life and the work I am able to do through an organisation like CARE India by serving the community and transforming the lives of children, especially girls, from the most marginalised communities. The good part is I am a traveler and my career provided this opportunity to the fullest.

What do you like about your career?
Our work enables girls to become confident and raise their voice, challenge gender-biased social norms, and influence others to take actions. These changes help them in their journey towards becoming empowered individuals. I do not see my work as a mere job, which is time bound. It encourages me to give more than 100% because it gives me immense satisfaction and a sense of achievement. My mantra for work is ‘if you do things with the right intentions, you achieve what you want to see’.

How has your education helped you?
Since my childhood, I learnt from my parents, family and teachers that dedication and honesty are the key to success. The best way to achieve one’s goals is to act in a fair manner, without hurting and demeaning others. The subjects I studied during my graduation and post-graduation helped me understand the challenges faced by India’s marginalised communities, the role of the government, and the constitutional rights of these communities. I also learned the theories of marginalisation and ways of developing programmes that can make a change in their lives, acknowledging the importance of engaging with the government.

Describe your training days.
Well, those days were very beneficial to me as I got opportunities to learn new things, and most importantly unlearning the concepts specific to gender and equity. Some training was technical in nature, while some was to develop leadership skills. During the training programmes, sometimes I would play the role of a participant and sometimes as a resource person. However, both helped me gain new perspectives. The interesting aspect of training was that you meet new people and get a chance to know them and make new friends.

How many years does one take to become a professional?
I agree that the number of years of experience matters, however, to me, there is no timeline for becoming a professional. It is up to one’s understanding of his/her personal strengths and areas of improvement, as per the work you choose to do. As I said above, many freshers join work in big roles, too early, as they know what is demanded from them and how passionate and dedicated they are to learn new things.

What advice do you have for those who want to take up your profession?
Do not take this work as a job because it is more than a 9-5 job; you have to be passionate about working in the social sector.

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