Born and brought up in Chennai,Srinidhi Lakshmanan is passionate about education and development in India. She has recently competed her two year fellowship at Teach for India and is now with the Azim Premji Foundation, involved with providing continuing education to government officials. Read her genuine and inspiring story to see how you too can” be the change you wish to see in the world!”
Q: So tell us a bit about Srinidhi?
A: I was born and brought up in Chennai –my schooling, my college life ( I graduated in Economics from Stella Maris college) and saw me back in school again, but this time as a teacher in a government school. Fortunately, I have been able to do only what I want to, but most of these choices have almost always been decided last minute!
Q: How did you decide to join the prestigious Teach for India fellowship? And when did you realize development and education was your passion?
In my 2nd year of college, I was introduced to Make a Difference, an organisation that works with children at risk, to empower them and make them proficient in English. I worked at an orphanage as a teacher volunteer for 2 years, and met many inspiring people who had dedicated their lives to this cause.
It was unfortunate that these children (who were way smarter than I was at their age) would probably not have access to opportunities that I did, for reasons out of their control and it just didn’t seem fair. I found that the Fellowship at Teach for India helped me directly impact a classroom in a low income school. The thought of being responsible for their education was both exciting and challenging!
Q: How was your experience at Teach for India? How has it shaped your outlook and further goals?
“It has undoubtedly been the best two years of my life, with the kids teaching me more than I could ever teach them! Apart from my learning in the classroom, it also gave me a lot of insight into the state of education in public schools in our country, which made me want to contribute in a way that would create larger impact. Someday I hope to start a school of my own, but there’s a lot to be done before I get there!”
Q: You are now working towards providing continuing education programs for government officers in the education, rural and healthcare sector. Tell us more about that?
As a Research Associate at Azim Premji Foundation, I work on developing curriculum for these programs. These officers are directly responsible for shaping and implementing policies of their State. The aim is to empower them by bringing their focus to the most demanding policy issues in these sectors and provide them with skills in public administration and management.
Q: What are your learnings from this field and what would be your advice to youngsters today?
I have learnt that the problems our country faces are systemic in nature and while there are numerous efforts at a grass root level, there is a need to address these issues top – down as well.
“It’s heartening to see youngsters today take up issues that they feel passionately about and to them I’d say it might not be the easiest thing to do, but definitely worth it!