“Small steps can lead to big changes.” Is a motto Shivani Tiwari lives by. She is an 18 year old girl who lives with her parents and two older brothers in Nalasopara. Due to the lockdown in view of the worsening condition of the pandemic last year, Shivani couldn’t move on to pursue a degree in Bachelor of Commerce, as she had intended to. That is when she found Bright Future and the courses offered there, and got enrolled.
In a new environment, she faced some problems with starting a conversation in any professional place, what to say in interviews and how to convey ideas formally. She had confidence issues as well. In response to these initial challenges, Shivani said, “The mock interviews helped me a lot. I learnt what kind of questions can be asked and how to respond to them. I also learned a lot about body language, sales and computers.”
She also recounts other fruitful activity sessions on conflict resolution. These, she says, were really helpful in learning how to talk to customers, how to deal with complaints, how one can find a middle ground between both parties to end a conflict, etc. Apart from this, personal grooming, communication skills and methods of handling queries were also taught to her, which she picked up quickly.
Right now, Shivani has a job at Bajaj Alliance General Insurance Company. She works there as a policy sales person, earning a stipend of 7000 per month. Later, she intends to start working somewhere else so that she might get a better salary and can sponsor her own studies. Shivani concludes by saying, “I will like to be associated with Bright Future always”.
This story of Soni Bharti, a young bright girl from Malad would inspire you to go ahead and get involved in transforming various social issues around. Soni has 5 siblings, her father works as an electrician and her mother is a homemaker. Her family does not really support her education and would rarely even appreciate her achievements. Owing to the tight financial situation she has been associated with, Soni began looking for help and soon was introduced to Bright Future’s Livelihood Program.
As Soni believed in acquiring industry related skills to become job ready, she decided to opt for the 3 months free of cost program. She learned various skills such as communication skills, computer skills and leadership skills and has managed to crack a backend telecalling job through Bright Future.
Soni is extremely keen on social work, during the times of covid she had formed a team to run free of cost temperature checkups in her area and received a certificate from the BMC for the same. She also had volunteered to work in a hospital owing to the employee shortage. Not only this, she had conducted a survey to understand the effect of the covid situation on girls and came up with astonishing research for which she was praised and soon will be awarded a certificate. During this survey she came across a mentally challenged girl who was not introduced to education. Soni out of humanity and concern started teaching her.
Truly at such a young age Soni inspires us to believe in the act of giving and doing our bit. Apart from all this, Soni loves to write, she has written various social related articles and newsletters. She dreams big and takes effort to bring them to life. She believes that challenges are the real teachers of one’s life.
You must have observed, particularly if you fall in the category of Gen Z and older, how your grandmothers belong to a period where women’s roles were limited within the threshold of household. In most cases, they pose as a contrasting image from that of your mother who is financially independent. Society has come a long way since then, as you may note.
Traditionally, women have been seen in a majority while fitting into the role of house wives, mothers, teachers and nurses. The first two roles can be observed under patriarchal societies while the other two usually lack male participation. With time and progress, women have started entering and succeeding in the non-traditional jobs too. We’re seeing an increase in the percentage of females opting for a career as surgeons, software engineers, police officers, pilots and corporate managers. As more and more involvement as well as gender inclusivity is being witnessed and encouraged, the overall conditions of women and the population as a whole seem to be positively progressing too. Recruiters and parents are acknowledging the skills and intellect brought into the workspace by women.
Now, even the defense services are amending their policies of admission as well as promotion to keep up with this growth. The job market, on various fronts, has started to look more diversified. One cannot deny that conventional gender roles are slowly fading away from a great amount of traditionally male-dominated fields. A widespread change such as this has effectively helped transform the lives of many women across the world. It has brought about a feminist revolution, more acceptance, credit and responsibility as a society.
Soon, the world might step onto a pedestal from where careers won’t come with the labels of ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’, and it is our duty to make sure this fate seals itself completely.
The zeal to learn is indeed an incredible force guiding people to strive and actualize their potential to the fullest. Education, though understood as a right deserved by everyone, in reality, is only selectively distributed due to the unfair divides in our society. Belonging to a world such as this in the slum area of Kurla, Sapna Jatoliya (23) is one person whose journey is being supported by Bright Future, having recognized her skills and her dedication to turn her life around completely.
Her family moved to Kurla back in 2012 owing to the unsteady family business of shoemaking. This, amid the business not doing well, led to a four-year gap between her schooling since she was in the 8th grade. Belonging to an orthodox Rajasthani family, her parents thought it was not necessary to educate the girls and that they are supposed to be good at only managing a home. So Sapna learnt stitching and helped her father in the duration of this gap. Her education took a better turn only when she got introduced to Bright Future through her friend. She was keen in learning English basics of computers. Her parents allowed her to go for it since the courses wouldn’t burn a hole in their pockets either.
At Bright Future, Sapna began working on her confidence under her mentors’ guidance. She learnt how to converse effectively and have discussions, answer questions and ideate better. The career-related supervision helped her figure out her options, interests and also, to expand her skillset accordingly.
Sapna can be described as a motivated person and someone who had always been really good at studies, thus, she was keen on learning more and more. The four years long break her schooling underwent had left her upset, but through Bright Future, she got the job of a door-to-door salesperson. Despite her household’s financial condition not being favourable, she could now start earning for herself and could pay the fees with that money. This is where her schooling got back on track and she got enrolled into the 10th standard. Sapna learned to be independent little by little at that age.
Even though she had to get engaged the very next year and leave the job, Sapna did not lose heart and continued with her studies. She topped her 10th and 12th class examinations and her family understood and acknowledged her potential eventually.
“Each day puts forth a new challenge,” she says, “but you have to move forward and face them head on”.
Sapna is interning with Bright Future’s accounts now and is also helping out her family with stitching while simultaneously completing her education. Talking about Bright Future’s contributions towards her life and her own hard work, she shares, “There is a massive different between the Sapna who existed before she experienced the environment at Bright Future and the version of Sapna that stands before everyone today.”
Currently, she is a 2nd year student pursuing accounting and finance from Laxmichand College, Ghatkopkar. She aims to build a better life than what she’s been living till date. With her family’s support and a more positive home-environment than before, she’s no more tied down with the weight of marriage and has her priorities set.
“I don’t wish to be dependent on anyone and do what I have to do in life on my own terms.” She shares.
Four years ago, Anshu probably would not have known that he’ll encounter an opportunity to stir change in his life while he was at a playground. He fondly recalls how Arvind Lokhande, a former Change Leader at Bright Future approached him and his group of friends, offering bags, new clothes and a chance to learn operating a computer.
Hailing from Nalasopara East, Anshu Kumar Maurya has completed the Livelihood Program, a three-months’ long course at Bright Future and also worked as a Change Leader himself for one and a half years at Bright Future. After this, he also worked with Magic Bus India Foundation for another year and a half, and is currently doing volunteer work with Yuva.
Upon being asked about his time at Bright Future he shares, “I always thought that the knowledge of the English language is a prerequisite for learning how to operate a computer. But that’s not the case. You don’t need English to learn a computer and anyone can learn something if they really try.”
He also mentions how enriching the knowledge gain and skill development process had been for him at the center. His confidence increased significantly and he could speak in front of multiple people without faltering like before. He recounts his days as a memorable period.
Anshu is planning to stick to the field of social work, having been guided and motivated well by his mentors and the people he interacted through the course of his journey so far. This is truly a great example of giving back to the community and thriving.
To know more about Bright Future’s Livelihood Program that helped Anshu,
Ashutosh found Bright Future while dwelling in the slum areas near Ghatkopar. Coming from humble beginnings, this meeting became a chance for driving in change. During his time at the organization, he learnt English Communication, Work Place Readiness skills and customer relations. He was also groomed for interviews and understood how to introduce and conduct oneself during an interview.
Recounting the development, he experienced, Ashutosh says, “I used to be very conscious about speaking in front of four to five people. But now I can speak well on any given topic. I’ve also given lectures on specific topics now.”
Ashutosh is thankful for the mentors from Bright Future who helped him try to get admission into JP Morgan but due to his mother battling a serious illness, he couldn’t get into it. He then started working at TCS but later resigned during the lockdown to pursue an animation course.
Currently working from home, Ashutosh aims at honing this skill and working for the start-up he is planning along with his friend. He also hopes for the children living in slums to get the same shot at learning and education as he did so that everyone’s lives could head towards a better path.
Rajashree Mitbaukar comes from a humble background and currently lives in Bhandup with her husband and son. Having failed to clear her 10th Standard Board Exams, Rajashree had lost confidence in herself. In 2019, she got married and came to Mumbai and soon got busy with her responsibilities as a mother and other household chores. She came across Bright Future in 2017 through the Community Campaigns and saw an opportunity to resurrect her career.
Having faced failure, Rajashree doubted her abilities and lacked confidence to talk to other people. She had the desire to continue her education, but was unable to do so. When she found out about Bright Future, she was keen to be a part of the program which would provide her an opportunity to take a step forward towards her dream. However, on enquiring more about the organization, it came to her notice that she was older than the age limit mentioned. This did not stop her from enrolling in the course as she was supported by the mentors and facilitators at Bright Future.
She became a part of the Bright Future Family in 2017 when she joined the Bhandup Center. She learnt many communication techniques, etiquettes and overall skill development which played an important role in bringing her confidence back. She says that the motivation received from the mentors at Bright Future, encouraged her to keep studying and stand up on her own feet.
She completed her HSC and is now pursuing BCom from NES Ratnam College. She parallelly teaches kindergarten students in group tuitions. She also loves to take up small courses such as English speaking, stitching and beauty parlor courses to keep herself engaged in productive tasks. She believes in giving back to society and tries to contribute as much as she can. She keeps encouraging other students around her to remain dedicated to their studies and hopes that they find guidance in their lives, like she did.
This is the story of a dream that began in the largest slums of Asia – Dharavi, Mumbai. An introverted boy, Soham, lost his parents and now lives with his two elder sisters. Soham used to spend most of his time reading in the school library. Apart from being an avid reader, he enjoyed playing cricket as well. He coached students to help take care of his family and manage his personal expenses. However, this income was not enough to meet his educational expenses.
This is when Bright Future came along! Here, he met like-minded youngsters, made friends and started enjoying their company. He was placed and is currently working in the Customer Service Department of Reliance Mart, Goregaon East. This job opportunity has given him better clarity about his career goals. This work experience has helped him become more independent and taught him how to balance his studies and work better.He dreams of working in the corporate sector in a managerial role and feels that Bright Future has motivated him towards his goal.
Soham has now started preparing for the MBA-CET. We wish him all the best!
Imagine reaching an interview 4 hours late because your father is not supportive of your career! This is the life of Suman Mourya, dictated by an orthodox father who discontinued her school post 7th std. He objected to Suman venturing out alone for even using a community toilet. Her friends introduced her to Bright Future, where focus is clear – underprivileged youth wanting to carve a better life and to learn how to confidently step into the world of work. Her first milestone was convincing him to join this course, where Suman turned her life around, learnt conversational skills, confidence, imbibed presentation and dressing skills.
It was for this interview, arranged by BF, that she set out like a spirited soul from her home not knowing the exact address. She reached her first interview 4 hours late, in a complete disheveled state, yet she was immediately on boarded with a salary of 5,200. Today she is earning more than 3 lakhs per annum and helps her brother with his studies and her father for his business. Her once orthodox father now encourages other men to educate their daughters and support them in their independent careers.
This entire struggle seems completely worthwhile when Suman says that now her family allows her to relax and unwind.
We are proud to share that Bright Future has been awarded with the Guide Star India PlatinumSeal which is the highest level of recognition given by Guide Star India to the NGOs who demonstrate transparency and accountability in their functions and processes.
Guide Star India is India’s largest and most reliable NGO information repository. It is a fully searchable database of reliable and comparable information on over 9,000 NGOs. More than 1,200 of these organisations have undergone varying levels of due diligence forming India’s largest pool of certified NGOs. Guide Star India is transforming how Indian NGOs report and share information, and, is changing the way the people perceive, interact and engage with NGOs.