I joined The YP Foundation two years ago, in my second year of college. A couple of my friends attended the induction and I was pretty much coerced into attending the next one. I was even given strict instructions to “Pick VOICES, The School Project as your first option. Don’t pick anything else and don’t mess up”.
I’m glad I listened. I’ve always loved psychology and whilst I was studying philosophy in college, VOICES kept me connected to various things psychological. We dealt with what we call the ‘whys’ of the issues we work with – ‘Why do people bully? Why do people take drugs? Why do people feel so insecure about the way they look?’
But VOICES for me went much beyond that. I’ve always been a reclusive person. More than anything in the world, I’m deeply uncomfortable talking to people I don’t know. And with VOICES, it was pretty much like being thrown head first into the deep end of a pool. I was part of a project where of the fifteen people I was working with, I only knew two of them from before. I was interacting with complete strangers about issues that were completely personal. And I learned something, which is what we always tell students in schools, “You’re not alone with your problems, and yours are not the only problems”. Just a simple realization like that changed so much for me.
The next year, I was asked if I would like to head the project and I agreed. My mother wanted to know how I was planning to do my job if I still handed her the phone every time I wanted to order some food and I told her I had no idea, but I had a feeling I was going to find out.
This last year, though I still can’t order food for myself, I have not only called about twenty teachers in different schools in Delhi, I have also walked into schools by myself, with no prior appointment, to ask for meetings with their counselors. I have conducted at least three trainings with a team of twelve people entirely alone. I have met with access professionals working in the field of child psychology and education and discussed the project with them. And I’ve loved every minute of it.