‘Power couple’ was the first phrase that came to my mind as I read the brief about them - Janhvi Maheshwari Kanoria and Samvit Kanoria.
Janhvi is currently serving the Ministry of Qatar as their education expert. Samvit, on the other hand, is a partner to Mckinsey. Did anyone let out a low whistle like I did? They were here in Bangalore to volunteer for MANTRA. Wow.
My current hurdle was to make small talk and engage people who were clearly extremely knowledgeable and sensible. For someone who has feared conversations with strangers in the past, you can only imagine the thoughts flitting past my mind. However, the car ride with Janhvi and Samvit turned out to be pleasant as opposed to the hard work I had thought it would be. As we traversed the Bangalore traffic to reach our partner school in Goripalya, they were visiting, I was humbled by the kind of work Janhvi had done and the perspective that Samvit brought to our conversations.
Just to let you in on a bit of our conversation, this July, Janhvi worked with a low income school in Kolkata where she discovered that a kindergarten class room had close to sixty students, one teacher and a helper (a very typical scenario in our partner schools as well). This often resulted in an extremely tired teacher, an agitated helper and a bunch of chaotic kids with little or no learning happening in the classrooms. A visibly excited Janhvi gushed about how she created various domains in the classrooms and divided the kids into each domain/ group while each of the adults handled the domain that they were comfortable with. The domains ranged from developing motor skills in children to literacy and math. Her logic was, and I completely agree, that why should the teacher handle all the kids alone, when there are so many skills to be taught to these early learners and some of it can be delegated to low-skilled people as well.
Samvit opined that certain corporate practices may help people in the social sector to be more organised and that his interaction with MANTRA would be fruitful only if he can show us structures and systems that can be put in place for a budding organisation to work smoothly.
Well, it's true what they say, everyday you learn a little something. That day I learned more than just a 'little' and little did I know that I would be learning a lot more the next day.
Janhvi and Samvit, during their stay with us at MANTRA, conducted an interesting workshop for the team on topics relevant to our work, e.g. feedback, problem-solving, time management, Mindset & Behaviors etc.
We will ensure that we share the nuggets of wisdom with all of you out there. So make sure that you grab your note pad, pen and a bottle of water to wash it all down as you read our next blog in this series.
- The blog piece has been written by Ms. Amrutha Krishnan, who works as the School Transformation lead at Mantra4Change.