Of response and resilience

Once the exams are over, students can’t wait to enjoy their summer holidays. However, a few weeks in, many start to get stressed about receiving their results and begin to wonder if they have done well enough. When it arrives, students are either satisfied with their performance or are dejected as it did not go according to plan. It is for these students that Chidananda, founder of Yuva Sanchalana, a non-profit organisation based in Doddaballapura, conducts cycle jathas (rallies).

“During the time that the SSLC and PUC results come out, we have noticed that students who have failed or got a lower rank than expected feel guilty and start worrying about what their parents may say. Due to this, they may take extreme steps. We started doing these jathas five years ago to support such students and to ensure that they don’t harm themselves. During these rallies, we speak to various students and their families on what steps they can take next, and boost their confidence,” reveals Chidananda Murthy.

Inspiring ride

Yuva Sanchalana primarily focuses on targeting students from rural backgrounds as they may have to overcome several hurdles to attend school. Through the jatha, it ensures that the students do not feel their efforts have been in vain. The critical aspect that Chidananda emphasises on is not to give up hope if one has missed out on the exam results as there is plenty one can still do.

To ensure that they reach out to more students in an effective manner, they engage in a number of activities during these cycle jathas. For starters, they design inspirational slogans (which are attached to their cycles), make informative pamphlets on the future course of action, and posters as well. Once these are ready, Chidananda, along with a few volunteers, goes from one area to the next, handing these and chanting slogans.

Additionally, they also share inspirational quotes and passages from famous personalities like Kuvempu to uplift the student’s spirits. They spend at least half-a-day in each area talking to parents and students.

During the jatha, not only do the volunteers help students develop the emotional resilience to deal with academic disappointment, but also talk to parents on how they can support their children in such a time. While many parents and students are sceptical about their approach at first, they soon come around once they realise what they are doing is for their good.

“I first met Chidananda when he had come to my area around the time when the results had come out. With the support that he and his team had given me, I was able to pass my exams. Inspired by the work they do, I joined them in helping other students,” says Bharat, a volunteer with the organisation.

The organisation goes a step further by providing free tuitions to students who haven’t cleared the exams. “While there are many coaching institutes available for students who have passed, there are not too many for students who have failed. It is at this critical juncture that students need support which is why we started providing free coaching in the month leading up to the supplementary exams,” shares Chidananda. “Furthermore, as we target students from rural areas, many of them can’t afford the fees quoted by coaching institutes. During these classes, we give them the support they need and boost their confidence so that they can write the exams better. Even if they are unable to clear the exams, we let them know that this is not the end.”

Branching out

What makes the coaching initiative interesting is the fact that many of the teachers come to teach to help the students achieve their full potential, and for free. Many of them are friends or known acquaintances of Chidananda.

The students that Yuva Sanchalana works with attend a workshop that is organised by another non-profit organisation, Friends of Life. “During the workshop, we build their confidence and help develop other essential skills. As many of these workshops have rural and urban students interacting with each other, it helps the students see that there are many options available for them,” shares Sunil K G, campaign manager, Friends of Life.

While Yuva Sanchalana had started with just a few volunteers, the number has increased over the years. In fact, inspired by this outreach programme that Chidananda does for students, many others have started similar initiatives in places such as Ramanagara and Mandya.

As someone once said, “We all encounter disappointments, setbacks or failure; it is a part and parcel of life. The critical question is how we deal with these challenges.” This is what Yuva Sanchalana does rather remarkably. To know more, one can contact Chidananda on 7829842131.

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