Be a mentor for the under-resourced

The Lighthouse Project, a Mumbai-based not-for-profit youth mentoring programme, needs 250 volunteer mentors who will help children from an under-resourced community for just four hours every month

Started in August 2013, The Lighthouse Project connects working professionals and college students with children from under-resourced communities, through one-on-one mentoring. The mentors, who need to be above 18 years of age, must be willing to devote four hours every month for a span of eight months to mentoring and working with the child to develop life skills as well as expose them to a world outside their communities. The mentors have to undergo training as well on certain focus areas like goal setting, managing emotions and aspiration levels.

A mentor and a mentee
A mentor and a mentee

A new world
Till date, they have 100 mentors and this year, they are looking for 250 mentors. The idea came to founder Trishya Screwvala (28) when she noticed that children from under-resourced communities went to school, but lacked a consistent role model in their lives.

Actor Anupam Kher at Actor Prepares, who mentored the children for a day
Actor Anupam Kher at Actor Prepares, who mentored the children for a day

"One of the key goals is to strengthen the culture of volunteering in India and create platforms where people can give their time and resources on a sustainable basis, over and above their jobs and commitments. We work with street children, children from slum communities, and girl children from Mumbai's red light district. Since most are first generation learners, they don't have support, exposure or the skills to ensure that they are job-ready after graduation," she maintains.

While it's a long-term process, Screwvala admits that they have begun to see a transformation among children in areas like academic motivation, self-esteem and social attitudes.

An outing to the Gateway of India, organised by The Lighthouse Project for the children
An outing to the Gateway of India, organised by The Lighthouse Project for the children

Keep it simple
The mentors organise interactive activities and take their mentees in groups for visits based on mutual interest. "Mentors can keep it simple and creative. They chat about their week, learn about technology, spend time solving a crossword puzzle or reading a newspaper together. The Lighthouse team monitors the relationship and provides an activity bank and guidebook to assist the mentors. What's special is that the one-on-one relationships give the children individualised attention and allow for strong relationships to be formed."

Trishya Screwvala
Trishya Screwvala

Post the shortlisting process, information and training sessions will begin in June, and will be followed by an orientation session to introduce the mentors to the mentee pairs in July. "Most mentors feel their world-view has been transformed by their mentees; it's a mutual learning process. At the end of last year, 70% of our mentors continued to volunteer with The Lighthouse Project for the second year," shares Screwvala.

Deadline: May 1
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