“Why fit in when you are born to stand out” – Dr. Seuss.
Being the director and owner of KK Kids Learning Systems (KKLS), a franchisee of Kangaroo Kids Preschool is a long journey of experiences culminating into an entrepreneurial melody. I am able to reach this stage in my life after over 25 years of work experience, two children who have been my greatest teachers and a mostly ‘part time’ husband who was on a merchant navy job. Today I have gained the reputation of being a K12 educationist, boldly infusing a lot of innovation and thought into the way I look at and steer education.
I attribute each of my skill gathered during my journey to being a daughter, a wife, a mom and a friend. Add to it a few professional degrees and it has turned out to be a great combination. I have immense faith and belief that each child deserves an excellent education. Aiming at utilizing decades of my hands-on experience in schools and college education to shift mindsets and reach out to thousands of children and adults to understand the advanced, dynamic, ever evolving global educational needs and create many global leaders. The many plaudits and achievements happened as I always kept myself busy looking for connecting social issues, applying personal issues or some cause that I felt was pertinent to ‘professional life’ and it worked!!
I have never compromised on values & principles as I believe that these set you apart in the real world. It’s important to believe in what you do as you are rightly setting the pace for your children and others who look upto you as their role model and mentor.
INVENTIVE AT HEART – My core expertise of setting up and leading educational institutions, backed by a strong commercial and entrepreneurial insight, which led to me being the executive director of a premium preschool brand, Kangaroo Kids, Kandivali is because of singlehandedly achieving success in my personal life.My educational background helps me engineer the difference with a renewed learning environment against the framework of the internationally-acclaimed curriculum of Kangaroo Kids. Backing it up by redefining service standards in the way education is provided, as well as how relationships are built with the parents and teachers is all a learnt skill. It’s all about drawing parallels in the real life & your work life.
In particular, while establishing and successfully integrating one of the city’s first and most intensive special needs education programs within the KKEL framework of Schools, was because of my intense experience from Karuna Vihar that was of great help. Karuna Vihar is a School for special needs in Dehradun.
Teacher training and empowerment programs, quality review and assessment programs, curriculum planning & implementation was easy to implement as I was equipped with the focus to get women around me empowered to face the challenges put forward by today’s world. Development and integration of sports & co – creating education programs came with a passion of hailing from a sports enthusiast family. My dad & brothers drove me to play for nationals level competitions and that’s where I learnt about patience, team work and leadership skills, energy and stamina to endure.
EXTENDING HERSELF INTO HER WORK – Today I have extended my cooking skills to the dishes I churn out every day for my School kids. I believe that just like a great dish, great education can only happen when you bring together the right ingredients. And at KKKLS, I have been able to bring together these ingredients in perfect harmony. Being passionate for perfection ensures that my team and I deliver the highest quality in providing nutritious meals cooked at my place for the children. Most of my friends and family are awed by my sometimes crazy decisions but seeing the kids savour every dish wholeheartedly gives my team such a glee! Parents are sweetly surprised when they see their kids eat in school.
GOING BEYOND EDUCATION – My deep concern for child and women safety led me to go beyond the boundaries of education. As a mother I fret each day till my girls are not safely lodged back at home. My efforts to sensitise children has led me to be the “convenor of Mumbai for Chuppi Todo Campaign,” a crucial initiative that sensitizes children, as young as two years, to ‘safe and unsafe touch’. It equips children with 3 R’s Recognise, Resist and Report unsafe touch. I am also the Chairperson of ‘Shield Yourself” – Self-defence and Power to Women. The organization works for the empowerment of women in Education through seminars, training, workshops, self-defence activities. Our goal is to empower women, emotionally and physically as they face the world with confidence, poise and a positive attitude.
This is where the difference between being literate and educated becomes starker and women like “you and I”need to take the lead. With a desensitised society comprising doctors, lawyers, police, politicians, priests, teachers, nurtured by underpowered and illiterate women, bound by archaic traditions, customs and hypocrisies. Bridging the gender and other social gaps needs tackling from a 360-degree perspective. Enhancing access to schools, infrastructure, making conditions conducive for women to work by tightening laws, strict and immediate redress of complaints, gender and adult education will go a long way to ensure that women are empowered.
Ensuring that educated citizens are indeed skilled to get jobs, enhancing job-skill match, will confirm that the young women and ‘moms’ are dispensing their energies constructively and taking the nation forward while taking along with them the marginalised sections of society – rather than be discovered as unfortunate victims.
INSPIRED TO EXCEL – Every person excels in life because of a role model. Parents are the first role models and their wisdom, experiences and traditions stay all their life. My biggest inspiration has always been my dad, he was a perfect father and everything that I can think of; next I have memories of looking up to my Games Sir. Jo chopra who led me to believe that you can dream & make it happen. Ms. Lina of KKEL has been my alma matar and a friend. But most importantly, it’s the kids I am inspired by: their dreams, enthusiasm and curiosity energise me each day.
I am first a mother and then a professional; I have managed to balance my personal life as a mother and professional life as educationist. My advice to all young moms is to never give up their passion – “Don’t let your fire die; whatever you’re passionate about – pursue it!” Just as I have done myself! Of course there is so much more left to be done! But will be done! After all like every other Indian I have to make the ‘Achhe din’ happen and count for us!
The importance of empowering ourselves and the people around us by being individual agents, leading change across the most basic realms, is a powerful lesson for us including our childre. Surely we must know that one man cannot change a billion destinies, while a billion choose to watch and believe that “ Achhe din aane wale hain”