Nook: Fort Kochi
Learner Name: Annie Augustus
Month & Year of Story: January 2020
Annie Augustus is a 53-years old housewife who lives in Fort Kochi. Her family of five is mostly reliant on Annie’s only son and her daughter-in-law. Annie herself never had the chance to study beyond the 10th standard. As the eldest of nine children, she needed to take care of her siblings and support the family’s income from early on.
Her interest in tailoring and thereby earning her own money is what brought Annie to the Nook initially. Currently, she is learning to stitch different kinds of dresses such as simple Kurtis and does small commissioned works given to her by local community members. Annie says that thanks to this, she is able to save money and she can also meet other needs for her home and the household. Recently, Annie also stitched some baby clothes for her newly born grandson.
Seeing the immediate results of her efforts and realizing the rewards of life-long learning also have a positive influence on Annie’s rather conservative family, especially her husband: “my husband always used to discourage me to go out and learn something, but after learning how to do tailoring from the Nook and seeing me stitch my own dress, he has changed his attitude and supports me now,” Annie explains.
Moving on, she is also keen to learn embroidery as well as to explore baking, being inspired from some of the other Nook Learners who started cooking and baking in the Fort Kochi Nook: “I’ve tried out baking for the first time when I came here, and the first cake I made turned out to be very good, so this was an exciting project for me,” Annie says.
Moreover, becoming a Nook Learner also had a positive impact on Annie’s personality and social life: “after coming to the Nook, I’ve become more of a social person. Earlier on I was not good at talking to people or making friends with them. After coming here, I think I’ve improved my speaking and communication skills,” she says.
This personal growth, increased self-confidence and the development of soft skills is another typical trait associated with self-designed learning at the Nook. Being more than a space for individual education, the Nook evolves into a Community of Learners that inspire each other, help each other and care for each other. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Annie describes the Nook as “a learning space with lots of friends who feel like family. We all support each other. If another Learner faces any difficulties and I know something to help them, I will go and help.”