Learner Name: Monisha (Not real name)
Month & Year of Story: January 2020
13-years old Monisha attends the 7th grade at St. Joseph’s Convent School in Whitefield. Her father is a day laborer working mostly for construction projects while her mother is employed as a maid across several households in the community. Both parents are working hard every day to feed their family of four so that Monisha is often necessarily left on her own. After school, there are no spaces to go for children in the local community and no activities offered. This changed with the establishment of the Whitefield Nook.
Now, coming to the Whitefield Nook on a daily basis after school, Monisha explores a wide range of new areas and acquires many skills and new knowledge in the process: “I’ve never seen or been to a space like the Nook before which contains so many tools and materials that we all can use. I never used a computer before in my life, but after coming to the Nook I have learned how to work on a laptop and access information online to find new projects. I have improved my typing skills, knowledge of computers, how to browse the internet and learned how to make electronic projects,” the girl says.
As opposed to school which severely limits the choice of what one can learn and how to learn it, Monisha particularly enjoys the freedom of finding and working on her own projects, based on her own needs, interests, and dreams: “In school, we only study books and never apply what we learn, but in the Nook we can explore and build any kinds of projects which we are interested in. The Nook is a good place to improve our skills and it will help you to learn whatever you want,” she argues. Another aspect Monisha mentions is that in the Nook, people learn together and with each other rather than having to compete against each other for grades and recognition. “I enjoy working in a team and in the Nook I am getting that opportunity. That’s also what makes me come to the Nook every day. It’s nice to work together and have fun at the same time,” she adds.