Growing through mentoring | Maharani Footprint Mentor Jinesyah
C. Jinesyah, 23 had always wanted to volunteer for a worthy cause but did not get the opportunity until she joined the Quest International University (QIU) to further her studies.
“Through the recommendation of my lecturer Ms Gogilavani, I joined the Footprints mentoring Programme in 2018, as a mentor,” she said.
Footprints is an extension of the Maharani programme by RYTHM Foundation that pairs older girls from QIU as mentors with the teenager girls of Maharani, as mentees.
To qualify as a mentor, Jinesyah underwent an extensive training programme with experts who guided the mentors on the process.
“We were prepared on how to deal with the girls from different backgrounds, how we should talk to them and how to understand their personality. It was very informative and helpful.” she said.
Jinesyah’s mentee was 16-year-old Dharmini.
“When we first met, I was nervous and so was Dharmini. My only thought at the time was that I must not make the girl nervous,” she recalled with a laugh.
During the first session, Jinesyah was surprised to learn that Dharmini did not have any ambition.
“That struck me as odd because at the age of 16, just as we are about to graduate from school, I remember how my friends and I were excited about the future and made plans about what we wanted to do with our life. But Dharmini did not have any such plans. It took me some time to understand her life and her background which had shaped her so far. I don’t blame her for being that way because she did not know any better.” she said.
After several weeks of the mentoring sessions, one day Dharmini told her that she wanted to become a teacher when she grows up.
“I was so happy that I had played a small role in helping her open her mind and be hopeful about her future.” she said.
Some of the activities the mentors and mentees did together includes taking a trip to Kidzania, a theme park where kids get to experience real-life occupations hands-on in a fun yet engaging learning environment. The educational visit helped the younger girls to explore the various potential careers available out there.
“Dharmini was very excited and took part in all the activities. I observed her throughout the trip and it meant a lot to me to see how happy she was during that visit. I am very glad to be part of the Footprints programme and for being able to bring changes to the mindset of a young girl like Dharmini,” she said.
Some of the personal lessons that Jinesyah learned during her involvement in Footprints is to see things from a different perspective and focus on the big picture. She also learned how to handle difficult issues in a calm and composed manner.
“Before this, I used to think that whatever I was experiencing was the biggest problem in the world but after meeting some of the mentees and learning about their struggles for the basic things that we take for granted, I understood that there are bigger issues out there. This helped me handle my own life better,” she said.
Through its flagship Maharani programme, RYTHM Foundation tries to reach out to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds when they are in their formative years as adolescents and support them to develop self-confidence and to help them realise their potential.
An important aspect of personal development is mentoring, which is why we introduced the Footprints mentoring programme to the Maharani girls.The aim of the Footprints programme is to assure these young girls that there is someone who cares about them, someone they can talk to and help to deal with their daily challenges. The friendship between the mentor and mentee helps the girls understand the world around them a little better.