Swati a petite 12-year-old has a dream, in her eyes and voice. “If I can sing in front of these people then I feel I can represent my skills in front of many others as well.”
The eldest of 4 sisters, Swati carries herself with much poise and can confidently communicate her thoughts “AURA gives me the space for academics and other life skill-based learning. I am given many opportunities to share my work, which has given me the confidence to communicate fearlessly and to place my point in front of my peers and elders because I have learned a way to express myself in every situation.”
For this Grade 8 student AURA means Prerna (inspiration). She believes that not many people are like AURA who are equal to parents who try to understand children.
“Aura means someone who is always there for us.”
Ranjeet with a twinkle in his eyes and a confident gait, enters the room with confidence and surety. He quickly starts to mingle with this group, sometimes in a light banter and sometimes listening to a friend, catching up on the day’s happenings.
This is not how this 8 grader, Ranjeet, started at Aura. He was a shy and an introvert boy who had difficulty looking into someone’s eyes. He was insecure about approaching people and speaking in front of others. Many times he would feel sad, which would make him lonely.
He shares his experience at Aura has been very unique. “In the sessions I get noticed. Aura works on my emotions and feelings, because on Sundays didi will ask me how I feel and what sort of emotions I come across within myself. She asks us to share our talks with each other.” Sharing about his feelings he shares, enables him to be more open and honest with himself. When he hears his peers sharing too, he connects and it helps him to build a better bond with them.
Academically he is doing better and his ability to comprehend and write has also remarkably improved.
Since 5 years. 8th grader.
Flashing a big smile on his face, Adarsh is sure to greet one with a ‘Good morning, aptly followed by ‘How are you?’ He loves how his behaviour has shaped him by his learnings in AURA and also by observing how people behave with him.
Earlier, he was not able to read and write or count numbers. “When I use to go to another place, I used to get scolded and beaten up for writing or reading wrong.” As his confidence gained with his time at Aura, he started to believe in himself. “I was heard and supported here.” That has given Adarsh a chance to talk in front of others too,
Adarsh shares that meeting new people gives him a chance to discover about the world on the outside. “When we went for a visit to Master Card company, where we got to learn how a bank works, how money is withdrawn and what is the process of money transactions. It was very new for me and I liked knowing about it. I also got to work on laptops provided by them to AURA.
Nayana greets people confidently and as if she has known them all her life. She stands out from among the group. “ I feel confident about helping. Earlier I was insecure because I did not study and people told me that I cannot help others because of it. But now I can gather people easily.”
She likes helping other women. She believes that women can do much more if given a chance and she wants to ensure that others use this opportunity for self-growth. “I could not leave my house, but Aura gave me a reason to step out, I learned how to take care of others without neglecting myself.” I can proudly tell my family of what I have become today.”
Nayana behen has been with Aura since the start of Aura center at Ambikanagar in 2016. This 36-year-old is not only positive but also very ambitious as she talks about her new adventures with English-language classes, and learning how to use a mobile phone effectively. “I can send a message on my own. I can easily approach people in Aura if I have issues regarding something or if I cannot understand or even for my personal matters.”
Ila is a very enthusiastic, bubbly woman of 35 years old. From a very shy, fearful and timid woman, to a self-reliant and a quick learner who is open to new friendships.
At Aura, she feels like she has found her crowd and companions with the fellow mothers of her age because she can openly share her thoughts and her problems.
The sessions at Aura enables her to become more aware and conscious of her surroundings. The learning of new topics such as a ban on plastic bags and looking at other options, was an eye-opener. Now she is able to develop her hobby of tailoring into something productive by making cloth bags. “I used to hate using the sewing machine but now I cannot stop using it. I got so many orders for making cloth bags.”
I enjoy while I am working because of the encouragement I received from the Aura team and how we are working for a better cause.” She loves sharing her achievements and her time spent in classes with her family. “I loved making dolls from mud and other such activities because I have done nothing like this before. Aura means home to me.”
Jagruti is yet another woman who has stepped out of her comfort zone and tested her limits. “I tell my family that if I stayed at home I would be alone and would not discover a lot about the world, but because I am coming to Aura and meeting new people I am able to learn. “Aura is an inspiration to me”
She firmly stated that learning has no age limits, it was tough for her to explain her family members that at her age she wanted to step out and learn, “Since many women of my age were with me in this together I had people with me to do the activities in the classes. I was able to enjoy my lost childhood days.”
Jagruti behen is now more confident and well-articulated woman who can express well. “So what if we do not have a good educational background, if one can get better at something, they should not give up.