Tarunya Foundation, A mission to educate children with life skills

The youth in Tenkasi and Tirunelveli somehow managed to get a degree but often struggled to get a decent job. Being working closely on the ground with them, Anitha and Kavi understood these students and their families’ plight. Thus, the duo decided to work on their development, and Tarunya Foundation was born.

“Lack of guidance in facing the real world and dealing with challenges hindered the student’s growth. Our activity revolves around developing life and soft skills in kids and teens. The activities conducted for a few months showed a significant change in their skills. Thus, Kavi and I decided to go ahead and form Tarunya,” shared Anitha in conversation with LifeBeyondNumbers.

As a result, Tarunya Foundation was officially registered in October 2020. However, the seeds were already sown for months in Tenkasi and Tirunelveli. Students’ main issue in these villages was a lack of needed skills.

Tarunya foundation mainly works with two age groups of students. Kids from 3rd to 10th grade and students from 11th till college completion. For kids, there is a Vidiyal Learning Center in which sessions are conducted regularly on the weekends and during after-school hours. 

These sessions focus on basic numeracy and literacy, hands-on stuff like science experiments, and developing creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking. They also have a library for kids with English and Tamil books. Ultimate Frisbee is our regular outdoor game that acts as a value builder for kids and teaches them empathy, compassion, leadership, and team building.

Kids are also encouraged to work on community projects. These projects are executed solely by the kids and monitored by the volunteers. A recent one was the no plastic project. Under this, they taught the villagers about waste segregation and recycling. The kids are taken for exposure visits once or twice a year.  

From 11th grade onwards, the Tarunya foundation used to conduct workshops for 1 day in nearby colleges. These workshops focused on teaching employability skills and career development. However, this felt a little temporary. 

“Students started thinking about their future after the workshop. However, we were looking for a long-term and deep-rooted impact. The workshops failed to give us the results that we were looking for. We felt the need for something long-term to allow us to stay connected with the students for a longer period.”

To nurture the kids with life skills, leadership skills, and technical and functional skills, VYLC is launched. Twenty students are selected for three years while they pursue their college. This fellowship program by the Tarunya foundation is conducted through a combination of offline and online modes. While they are in their college, they are guided online on weekends. After every semester, an offline retreat is conducted to improve specific skills.

Online guidance focuses on English language training, building resumes, preparing for interviews, and how to flourish at a job. Offline workshops focus on relationships, time management, courage, dealing with family, communication, and gender awareness.

This flagship program is a process in which all the students will get the necessary guidance from experts and a variety of mentors. It has been launched this year and will be launched every year with a new batch of 20-25 students.

The story has been extracted from https://lifebeyondnumbers.com/tarunya-foundation-anitha-kavi/

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