Ayesha Alam

Ayesha Alam

Inspiring Change in India

Six months ago, Ayesha Alam was attending her graduation ceremony in Exeter to receive her BA in Business Economics as a graduate of the University’s Business School. Roll forward three months – and she’s responsible for the English language skills of 50 underprivileged young Indian children through the TeachforIndia (TFI) programme.

She knew from first-hand experience that children from the poorer areas of India were denied quality education, merely due to their inability to pay; financial inequality leads to educational inequity. This is what led her to applying to join the TFI programme, a highly selective two-year immersive experience in which those chosen to join are completely responsible for the education of some of India’s poorest children.

Ayesha hasn’t let the recruiters down, in just five months she’s already made huge improvements to the ability of the children she teaches. She explains: “I quickly found I had a mammoth task ahead of me - I started off with trying to stop the children from dancing on the table. Today, they can spell ‘wonderful’ without batting an eyelid.

“At TFI, we track the growth of the children by taking assessments before the year starts which is in June and then we repeat the exercise every three months. As incredible as it may sound, after three months of teaching, the assessments show that all my kids have jumped half a grade and seven of them have shown 1.5 years of improvement.”

Ayesha concluded: “At 21, I graduated with dreams of changing the world. Five months into teaching, I know exactly how we can change the world. I now spend time in reflecting over the questions and I try and look for answers instead of just accepting things at face value. I examine my failures just as much as I gloat over my successes. I teach in a small classroom with 50 children and two fans. Now, I do not take things for granted. Not only have I learnt to fight for my rights, I now fight for the rights of these children who I teach. Today, I am a stronger person, with better judgement and a solid head on my shoulders.”

Once her Fellowship with TFI is finished, Ayesha plans to further her experience by looking for roles in the world of consultancy.

Date: 27 February 2014

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