Delhi: How these ‘mentors’ are connecting with kids and helping them make career choices

By Shradha Chettri | TNN

NEW DELHI: One is an English honours student, another is pursuing journalism while the third is a psychology student. They are among the 44,000 mentors selected to guide students of Delhi government schools in their career choices under Delhi government’s Desh Ke Mentor programme.

The three say they enrolled as mentors because they realised how important it was for schoolchildren to have someone to counsel them on their future.

Yashika Prabhakar, who had been associated with the mentoring programme since its pilot phase, is pursuing an honours degree in English from Ambedkar University Delhi. “I have always wanted to do something in the field of education. I got associated with the programme in the pilot phase and continued because I felt the students would need someone with whom they could talk for guidance,” Prabhakar told TOI. Initially, the students she mentored had qualms about the whole thing but have now warmed up to her.

“A student confided her desire to become a journalist but had been too shy to discuss the matter,” said Prabhakar. “After we started bonding, I explained to her how it was important to be outspoken to be able to grow in that field.”

Psychology student Sarthak Paliwal of Delhi University’s Aryabhatta College became a mentor as a result of himself feeling the need for guidance while making a career choice. “I have only recently gone through the process of deciding what were my interests and how to take them forward in my professional life,” said the young man. “I know of a similar counselling programme being run by the French government but it is for elderly people. When I found out that such an initiative had been started by Delhi government, I took the plunge.”

Paliwal described how following after registering for mentorship, he had to undergo some tests and a training programme with modules and videos explaining the dos and don’ts of the programme and how he was expected to interact with teenaged students. The young psychology student is looking forward to connecting with more students and assisting them.

Another mentor, Abhishek Gaur, is a journalism student at Vivekananda Institute for Professional Studies. Twenty-year-old Gaur, who joined the programme two months ago, said, “It was through the National Service Scheme that I learnt of the mentoring programme. I was very keen to pass whatever I had learnt to young students. It is interesting to see how these students want to do so many different things. One of the students wants to join the police force, another wants to become an IAS officer and a third has a great interest in motorcycle modification.”

One of Prabhakar’s proteges, a Class XII humanities student from Shahdara, the daughter of an electrician, shared how having someone to share thoughts with and to ask questions to had been of great help to her. The girl said, “I want to become an IPS officer but did not know how to go about it. My mentor asked me to focus on my board exams first and study well for them. Besides discussing my future, I have even taken my problems related to online classes to her.”

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