“The image of a solitary lighthouse standing firm, giving direction and light across a wild ocean has always been a powerful image to me,” says Trishya Screwvala, who inspired by the same, has launched The Lighthouse Project under her NGO Raindancer and aims to provide a structured, focussed and impact-driven volunteering programme in the country.
“Over the last year that I spent working at a low-income private school in Dharavi, I felt that what these children missed most was the influence of a consistent, positive role model -- someone who could model the skills required for them to make a successful transition into positive adulthood,” she shares. Posing the other side of her insight, Screwvala remarks, “At the same time, I saw that many educated urban youth wanted to become involved with a social cause, without necessarily taking it up full time, but didn’t know where to start. And that’s why I felt the need to start The Lighthouse Project.”
The 26-year-old believes that mentoring is a two-sided process and mentors will learn as much from the children they guide. Screwvala underscores that there is a need to foster lasting relationships between young urban Indians and children from underprivileged communities to create a permanent positive change in the lives of both the sections, in order to move towards inclusive growth.
With her initiative hardly one-week old, she rues, “I think a big challenge in this sector is finding people -- and this will continue to be a problem as long as people are underpaid. We need to find a way to make this a more viable field in order to attract the right people in adequate numbers,” she advises.
Log on to www.lighthouseproject.in
How to sign up?
In order to volunteer and bolster Srewvala’s programme, you can fill their application form at www.lighthouseproject.in. Mentors are then selected through an interview and screening process and paired with a mentee based on gender, location, interests and skills. Mentors undergo orientation and training, post which they are introduced to their respective pupil. The programme is spread over eight months where the pairs will meet in designated groups of six for a minimum of four hours per month.