“Communication was an issue at first as we both struggled to find a way to understand each other but we slowly improved as I started speaking in my rusty Tamil and a little bit of English,” Jerrica said.Footprints is an offshoot of our flagship Maharani programme, where young girls from underprivileged backgrounds are matched with mentors to provide guidance and positive influence. The first Footprints programme matched 14 girls from the Maharani Learning Lab with 14 female students from Quest International University (QIU) in Perak, Malaysia. The mentors were selected after an extensive evaluation process. Jerrica said Sri Priya enjoyed going to school as she believes education will change her fate. “Through my experience with the Footprints programme, I’ve learnt to be grateful for my own blessings and I really admire these girls because despite their difficult backgrounds, they are smart and strong-willed,” she said. She explains that each session with the mentee would start and end with fun and educational games.
“The activities were fun and the girls were very excited to participate. We even put together a drama performance once. I also noticed that the girls were less nervous and more open during the games,” she said.Jerrica who was also the student leader of the project said that Footprints helped her own personal growth. “The Footprints programme was a journey that all the mentors enjoyed, especially me. It allowed us to meet new, young people who had so much energy and potential. We also got to learn about different individuals aspiring to be the best they can be. By helping them to align their goals, we also aligned ours and by enabling them to dream, we enabled ourselves to dream too,” she said. Jerrica, who believes strongly that everyone has something to learn from each other, said the Footprints programme taught valuable lessons to the mentors as well as the mentees. “It was a rewarding experience for us mentors to have such wonderful mentees to learn from. We found personal growth by helping another person grow. Learning from each other and growing together was certainly the best part of the Footprints journey,” she said.