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Life is beyond uncertainties – The spark of Doing What You Love!

Every day, at around 5:00 AM, I’d be rushing down the flight of steps to board the Churchgate local transiting through Vasai Road (a small town in the outskirts of Mumbai) to kick-start my day as a University student. In about 90 minutes I’d be at the Churchgate station at an hour of the day where Bombay still seemed to be dressed in the freshness of a golden morn. Treasuring the silence, I’d be happily strolling down the heritage lanes of South Bombay, or stop by the bay and relish the beauty of the morning calm. With the rise of the Sun, my hours would soon be devoted to attending Sociology lectures followed by French lessons until late afternoons.  Towards the start of a pleasant evening, I’d slip into the shanty slums of Dharavi and transition my role from a student to a part-time English and French teacher at a non-profit. This was what had got me productive during the weekdays. The weekends, however, were quite rigorously meant for short day trips and a volunteer project that identified me as an online English tutor for the orphans of rural West Bengal. Occasionally I’d also be gladly working part-time as a city guide, showing around hidden nooks of Bombay to guests from Sri Lanka, Turkey, West Indies, Canada, Australia, just to name a few! 

Bundi, Rajasthan

Right from my hours spent studying culture, norms, and society to exploring the diverse vividity of this globe as a Sociology and a French student, I’ve always loved the idea of materializing my learnings; in an environment that would allow me to share my skills and take it to the ones in need. Certainly, that was what led me to start working in Dharavi and eventually handed me a fellowship in rural Rajasthan. Simultaneously, my love for traveling to foreign lands and connecting with people from across the globe also motivated me to come up with my travel blog – ‘Steps and Streets‘ to share my travel stories. 

My work in Rajasthan was that of an English teacher at a rural school which parallelly also allowed me to travel and write stories during school vacations and long holidays. However, a few months down the line, a prolonged illness dropped me at the crossroads of quitting the fellowship and looking for another job in the development sector or diving into a less-promising career option of being a full-time travel writer. I chose the second one. The one that I’ve always had connected with. 

With my students in Tilonia

Tanisha with her students in Tilonia, Rajasthan

Since then, my travel-writing career has taken me to the remote villages of the Uttarakhand Himalayas, to lesser-known heritage nooks in Rajasthan, and several other parts of West Bengal, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. 

But none of this was a bed of roses. There still are days where I think of opting for a full-time job. But every time I think such, I’m turned down by a virtual loop of all the adventures I’ve had on the road ever since I got into travel blogging. Despite the pain and the instability of financially sustaining my life as a digital nomad, I’d never trade this life of pure bliss and pure struggle for anything that is less exciting than the one that I’m in. 

At an unmapped village, Uttarakhand

Ever since I was 17 till today that I’m 21, I’ve never thought of rewinding or living my life differently! As a less-experienced teenager to an ever-evolving adult, I’ve always chosen what rang with my passion. 

By the verandah, as I sip my coffee overlooking the fresh paddy fields of Bengal, once again, I ask myself, ‘how do I manage to stick to the drama of having a life with all sort of uncertainties?’, my gut simply murmurs, ‘That’s the spark of doing what you love!’

Tanisha Guin
(YIC Mumbai 2017)

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World Youth Skills Day: What Are The Skills That You Would Love To Develop?

World Youth Skills Day_

In India, studies have shown that more than 50% of the Indian graduates lack basic employability skills. This means that out of the 5 million + students who graduate every year, very few are fit to be employed. If we look at the condition at a world level, a recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) publication states that 73.4 million young people were estimated to be unemployed in 2015, which is 13.1% youth unemployment rate. This figure is expected to increase in most regions of the world in by the end of 2017.

It has been observed that young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to low quality jobs, insecure school-to-work transitions and labour market inequalities. Women are more likely to be under-paid and underemployed, and to undertake part-time jobs under temporary contracts.

Education and training are the key determinants of success in the labour market. But unfortunately, existing systems have failed to address the learning need of many young people and surveys of learning outcomes and skills show that a large number of youth have low levels of achievement in basic literacy and numeracy.  In India, this problem is caused due to various reasons, some of which are:

  • Shortage of good institutions providing quality higher education.
  • Lack of flexibility, recognition of prior learning and employer linkages.
  • Lack of English knowledge and cognitive skills in students.

Another reason for youth unemployment is structural unemployment, a mismatch between the skills that workers in the economy can offer and the skills demanded of workers by employers. Structural unemployment affects all regions around the world and it impacts not only economies but also hampers the transition to equitable and inclusive societies.

Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills. In order to raise awareness about the importance of youth developing skills, United Nations observes World Youth Skills Day on 15th July every year. It supports the view that everyone should have the opportunity to discover and develop their talents. Through skills individuals, communities, and countries can create a more prosperous future.

Let us know in the comments below, what are the skills that you still want to develop.

#DoWhatYouLove

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