Hey gal, this is me… Nisha Labade, I’m 20 years old studying Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communications at USYD. Currently teaching piano and musicianship to around 20 kids out of my mum’s front room.
If I were to describe myself in three words… over-thinker, creative, klutzy
I always blow my pay-check on… coffee, makeup/clothes and travelling
I’m Currently… working with a company called 40K Globe on a social impact project in a village in the middle of rural Bangalore, India. We are attempting to improve access to educational resources by selling sustainably at a low cost with the goal to improve early learning and developmental skills.
I got into it because… essentially, I love India – it’s 50% of my DNA. However, I had volunteered in India last year and came back incredibly passionate about the education gap and gender equality within rural communities. I chose 40K’s internship program because I could (amazingly!) earn 6 credits towards my degree, whilst being overseas doing something I love. (Added bonus, my trip is supported by the New Colombo plan – a little extra cash never hurt no one 😀 )
What I don’t love about it… Well, I have to be honest, I don’t love the lack of hot water and the never-ending squat toilets! (I also think our cook deliberately adds an extra chilli to the curry every day…) But the biggest challenge is the extreme cultural barriers faced and accepted as a “foreigner” in India. Its difficult to watch yet not interfere with local’s mindsets about issues such as what women can and cannot do, or the importance of education to improve quality of life etc. But the good news is it is slowly changing with the new generation.
What I’ve learned from the experience… I have learnt a very important lesson about ‘surrender,’ an Indian spiritual expression about giving yourself to experiences positive and negative with open-mindedness. I have (finally!) come to realise that change can be small, like a classroom full of pre-schoolers reciting English words on flash cards, yet still make a difference. Another really important lesson is in understanding that to have a large impact takes time, dedication, patience and a deep understanding of the environment you are in. It’s a lifelong pursuit but I think a worthwhile one!
My advice to anyone pursuing this pathway is… To accept and be open to whatever challenge comes your way. To be ok with failure and understand that means you gain more perspective in life and of course, you can only go up from here gal!
I’m passionate about… India, gender equality and education. I think changing perspectives through communication and shared experiences is a key way to grow within yourself.
Most people don’t know this about me, but…. I was on Hi-5 when I was in kindy as a class excursion…but when the DVD got released I couldn’t even find my elbow let alone my face! My crimped hair and sparkly shoes missed out on their 15 minutes of fame. 5-year-old Nisha was very upset.
In 5 years time I’ll be…. Well travelled, hopefully had a lot of significant life experiences and hopefully have figured out what I want to do for the rest of my life.