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Bindi Bottoms
Mrinalika Rathore Teach for India Fellow, New Delhi

“An 11-year-old girl’s answer to an assignment made my day. The question was, ‘What would you do if thieves came to your house?’ The child answered, ‘I could call the police and have him arrested; but I could also tell the thief that stealing is bad and turn him into a good person.’

In a world where all of us have started believing in the idea of tit for tat, here is this little 11-year-old showing us that punishing someone is okay but what matters more is our role in bringing about a change in mindset. These two lines sum up a lot.

I am from Rajasthan and back home, I always had questions about every single thing that happened around me. I was always silenced for asking those questions. I wanted to change that and a lot of things but did not know how. Coming to Delhi to study at LSR gave me the tools I needed to make the change.

While in my first year of college, I was going to a local market with a friend when I saw some college girls teaching some kids in a park. I found out that this was a small community project run by the college girls to teach kids.

I wanted to join the project but couldn't because my parents would not agree to it. By the time the second year of my college started, I had decided to follow my heart, no matter what. The plan was to not tell my family and start teaching. This was the best decision I ever made. I have been working for the same organisation for the past four years.

This place taught me that there is only one way to bring about change and that is education. Making kids think for themselves is immensely satisfying. I managed my college responsibilities and my family’s opposition. The smiles on the faces of the children made the effort worth it.

This project has given me direction in my life. Currently, I am working with kids for a bigger project. When I see the change in these children everyday in my classroom, it makes me believe that something inside me is bigger than any obstacle out there. The change in mindset at my home is reinforcing this belief. ”


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