Given the opportunity, every child has the potential to achieve great things, and access to quality education creates this opportunity for children from low-income communities by levelling the playing field. Shaheen Mistri, CEO and Founder at Teach For India, emphasized this thought in capturing some of her most significant reflections in the last 10 years of building Teach For India’s vision towards an excellent education for every child in the nation one day.
Commemorating a decade of creating a movement of leaders committed to ensuring educational equity, Shaheen took a step back to address the hope and heart of the organization – the children of India.
Today is the start of Teach For India’s 10th year!
I came here to Teach For India. But what I remember is how much I have learned.
I remember walking into one of our Hyderabad classrooms when a student excitedly showed me his “vision”. In tiny handwriting, he had filled six long pages with everything he wanted to fix in the world. My first instinct was to say, “Maybe you should focus – surely you can’t do all of that?” And then I stopped myself.
I learned in that moment that I didn’t want to say no to anyone’s dreams. That maybe their dreams were just bigger than mine.
I remember talking to one of our Mumbai students about Teach For India’s new core value of love. “Didi”, he said, “the whole world may laugh at you for having that value. But I’m telling you, Didi. The only thing that can change the world is love.”
I learned in that moment that the love we change the world with really matters.
And this morning, I was texting three of our students who leave tomorrow to study at the United World Colleges in Singapore and Thailand. They were a little nervous – and very excited.
I was reminded at that moment that with opportunity, poverty does not need to dictate your destiny. That education does change lives.
As we enter our 10th year, your didis and bhaiyas will share letters to you, sharing what you’ve meant to them, how you’ve shaped them, and how they believe you are India’s greatest hope.
Shaheen Mistri is the CEO of Teach For India.
About Teach for India: Teach For India is a non-profit organization that believes in an excellent education for all children and is striving to end this problem of educational inequity. To address this challenge, the organization runs a highly selective two-year Fellowship programme that provides an opportunity for India’s brightest minds to serve as full-time teachers to children from low-income communities in some of the nation’s most under-resourced schools.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)