Wonder of Words: Making A Difference in the Routine Humdrum of Life
The WoW story:
WoW was initially formed with the aspiration of enabling youngsters and adults to fall in love with the English Language and also making them explore the body, the mind, the spirit and the connection between the same. It all began with Megha Bajaj, the founder, receiving an overwhelming response to start off with an online training series on the skills of writing.
She adds, “This is when I started realizing that life skills and language skills could somehow be woven together and help people significantly. The workshop kept growing by word of mouth and Facebook marketing and soon enough we felt workshops should be taken to a school level so that many more lives can be touched.”
“We were able to reach out to 20,000 odd kids last year itself.”
Besides Megha, the founder, the core team consists of Saloni, an MBA grad from the US, Nandhitha Hariharan, a Chennai based student, Jamuna Rangachari, formerly the assistant editor of Life Positive, Prity Gandhi, the web solutions head and Nidhi Gupta, a physiotherapist who works part time at WoW .
“As you can see, we are an all girls team,” Megha points out. “Besides this, we have a lot of people whom we hire as and when there is a need for training programs or otherwise.”
WoW offers services that include a number of online workshops, which are for all ages, and also attempts to bring about a radical change in the way English is taught, with the development of an English workbook on Attitude development, called I AM WOW.
WoW conducts training programs, primarily in three areas, Teachers training, corporate training and student training. “Our training programs have been deeply appreciated and all those involved stand testimony to the immense positive impact of these workshops.”
Besides this, they also offer web creation courses. “A website is the most important mass media advertising portal for your company,” says Megha. “Therefore right from conceptualization, planning, producing, post-production, research, and advertising, WoW will show you the path to success by having a beautiful website. “One very interesting aspect about the WoW experience is the presence of spirituality that is intertwined along with learning experience.
“The two ‘spiritual’ workshops we have are: A New Beginning, which is for adults and is to do a lot with expressive writing and Ten Attitude for kids, which is an experiential workshop that again aims to help kids understand their world better.”
“We have had enquiries from companies like Lakme and Merck and hope to have our first corporate training program by November.”
Revenue Model and Marketing
Megha says, “All our online workshops are priced at 10,000 INR for ten sessions (each session has about 3 sections). The way it works is, we send participants a session – they complete it in their own time and space and send it back to us. Within a week we re-send it to them with suggestions, ideas, tips and the next session.”
Also, the ‘I AM WOW’ workbooks are priced at Rs. 200 each.
Referring to the growing popularity so far, Megha says, “We have a facebook page that has over 8000 fans. We get about 15,000-20,000 hits per week on our page which we feel is great considering WoW is just a 1.5 year old baby and we began most of our marketing efforts only in August 2011. We have several events and competitions on this page making it very interactive and exciting.”
Challenges and road ahead
One of the biggest challenges for the team has been to get more schools to understand the dire need for children to be taught life skills. “Most principals see their job as a role – as something that gives them money, power and a designation. Unfortunately, some of them aren’t visionaries who genuinely care about the welfare of kids. WoW booklets are extremely economical and yet, to convince the schools the need for life skills for kids has been a herculean effort. In the same breath, I can't help but mention - how wonderful and forthcoming certain principals have been. People like, Dr J. Arawindhan, CEO of Achariya Group, Pondicherry and Gayathri Ram, Principal of Sri Natesan Vidyasalya Chennai have made me believe that there is hope. Much hope," adds Megha
Megha remains optimistic though, and hopes that WoW becomes a subject in many schools in India. “Every week, one period should be a WoW period where kids are taught life skills,” she asserts.
With the evidence of growth so far, the road ahead only seems positive. “We are already on our way to buying a space which we shall be calling The WoW Center. This is going to be a body-mind-spirit space whereby various workshops will be conducted for kids and adult.”
The online sessions are also to be transformed into contact classes. “The aim is that WoW should become a part of people’s lives even beyond the ten sessions. We hope to have a lot of scale-able workshops and ongoing talks and discussions so that WoW becomes a culture for people.”
“We have to create a world where ‘I, me, myself’ starts changing into ‘we’, and the next generation thinks of the world as a family. I know it sounds very idealistic – but we have to begin somewhere. Cynicism is not an option any more – each of us, in our own little way, will have to start creating a better world, one student at a time. WoW is our humble effort,” says Megha signing off.
Incidentally, Megha Bajaj is also the acclaimed author of the book, ‘Thank you Cancer’ and writes for several popular publications.