Written by Sushmita Shakya, Women LEAD Intern
The participants of the 2013 LEAD course were divided into two groups after the completion of their two week long training at the beginning of the year. They were separated into the School Leadership program and the Internship program. 10 girls were in the Internship program, where they had to intern at an organization of their choice for the rest of the training for at least 100 hours of work. The rest of the 20 girls who were in the School Leadership program were paired up with each other and they had to train the students of grade 9 in the school of their choice, using the same training they received during the beginning of the year. This training lasted for 4 months and after 4 long months of choosing the schools, selecting the students, talking to the principals and the parents, and actually training and talking in front of the 9th graders, it was time to bid goodbye to the students with whom the LEADers had grown to be very close.
Two closing ceremonies were organized by the LEADers to provide certificates to the students and to wish them farewell. The first ceremony was on 15th February 2014 and the second one was on 19th February 2014. For these ceremonies the girls had to arrange everything by themselves, from the stage to the water jars. For many days the girls were under a lot of pressure because they had to get many things done. When the days of ceremonies arrived, everybody was very nervous yet very happy because they had successfully trained the students of grade 9 and had seen them grow into a more confident person over the last few months.
LEADers Anoushka and Merina told us: “Working for the School Leadership Training was more than just appointments, going for meetings, financial management and training 30+ teenagers. It was growing as a person, as an individual and becoming somebody these kids looked up to. It was the chaos and the little moments you shared with yourself between your school-LEAD-home cycle.”
LEADers Sona and Praju: “We were so proud of all the students during the ceremony. And along with them we saw an improvement in us as well. We were talking to parents, teachers and giving speeches in front of everybody. It was a great moment for us. And we were both blushing when our students said that they were thankful to us.” They were all very proud of their students as the children offered their gratitude towards the girls and performed on the stage.
LEADers Pratiksha and Tripti: “That day was full of mixed feelings, we were excited as well as nervous. Excited because 4 months of hard work and patience was finally going to pay off and nervous for our students who were going to perform. We had butterflies in our stomach and we were extremely happy that our participants were going to graduate. Both of us were very eager to hand over the certificates and also a bit sad because SLT was over.”
The students danced, sang and also performed a play for the audience. The closing ceremonies were a great success and everyone was very happy. The parents of the 9th graders were also all very proud to see their children perform onstage. LEADers Sibuna and Sangeeta: “We were having a lot of fun during the ceremony and were also feeling a bit of pressure. We hoped that our students would do their best and show what they had been able to learn from us. We were praying to God that it would all go well and so it did. At the end, we were very happy and proud of our students.”
“There’s no happiness except on the realization that we have accomplished something” Praju quotes Henry Ford. ” But what we felt after these sessions was more than just an accomplishment. We gained a lot of confidence in ourselves. The best part was watching the students who always sat in the corner and hardly speak, come in front of everyone and give surprisingly confident speeches. We are really proud of our deeds and hard work.” The LEADers too gave a speech of their own where they expressed their feelings and told their students and supervisors from Women LEAD how happy they were to be a part of this whole experience and that they would forever cherish the moments they spent together. At the end, the whole program ended on a happy note with everyone smiling. “And that one little moment made you terribly proud for being more than just a high school student. It gave you everything an aspiring independent woman craves for”, says Anoushka at the end, speaking what all the other LEADers feel at their hearts too.