Creating Space to Thrive

Submitted by Suchetha Bhat | Last Updated 29/10/20
education NGO
Akash is a timid boy trying to figure out his place in the world. His family comprises of four members: his father who works as a tailor, his mother who is a homemaker and his twin brother. During the tenth board exams, he developed performance anxiety and ended up failing the Social Studies paper. His parents were a bit disappointed but continued to encourage him to appear again for the supplementary exams, where he would give another attempt in clearing the subject. Sadly, he failed in the attempt at well. When his parents found out that Akash didn’t clear the paper in the second attempt too, they became furious and started scolding him, saying very hurtful things. Being highly sensitive, Akash felt deeply hurt and found himself with nobody to express his sadness and pain. 

His brother, scared of facing their parents’ abuses for supporting and speaking up for Akash, refrained from backing him up. His father got Akash a job selling water cans while he enrolled his brother in the 11th grade. This job helped support his family financially. It was then his father remembered hearing about some free classes at a Career Connect Centre in Bommanahalli, which was not far from where he stayed. 

He suggested that Akash enroll himself for some computer classes. Little did Akash know that he would restore the faith he had in himself and in others around him and that all of that would happen, while participating in a Basic Computers class. At the Career Connect Centre, Akash found himself in an entirely new environment, where in the first time since he failed his exams, nobody cared about his results. 

This was a space where they wanted to know what Akash felt about things and asked him to opine. In addition, there were adults who were listening to him and encouraging him. They held space as he battled suicidal thoughts and told him that he shouldn’t listen to other people and let them judge his failure in an exam as failing at life. His facilitator was Anita who taught him to be confident and whenever he was feeling low, the other facilitators noticed and approached him. 

They created such a protective space around him that he began to feel confident again. The whole batch held space for Akash that day and it’s as though knowing that there were so many people to support him, the shyness and stage fear slowly began to disappear. This was the breakthrough that he needed, in order to face his emotions. All the guilt and shame he was carrying around with him this whole time, withered away. He started volunteering to share his opinions during the sessions and began taking initiative in helping with the class arrangements, without being told and he slowly began to feel like he truly belonged. 

Thriving for Akash is getting rid of the layer of guilt which was burdening him and making him think that life was not worth living. It is getting rid of the label ‘failure’ his family has given him, in his own head. Thriving is him regaining confidence in his own skills and wanting to explore them through enrolling for dance and entrepreneurship. Thriving for Akash is giving a shot at life and standing up to those that try to put him down by owning his skills