Going beyond conventional social work

What do you remember about your childhood?

I cannot help but laugh when I remember how naughty I was. I have a twin sister and when we were little we looked exactly alike. I used to do many mischievous things and blame my sister. But as a teenager, I became more serious and started studying hard.

What made you choose Social Work as a career?

When I had to go to college I was nervous about having all the lectures and exams are in English. I chose to get a BA in Economics because I felt that in this field English would not be such a big problem and I was good in math. Later I decided to follow my dad’s example — he is very involved in social work. Both my parents are progressive and socially concerned. I’ve also greatly admired Mother Teresa. In fact at one point, although I am Hindu, I wanted to become a nun at the Missionaries of Charity.

What do you like most about your job?

I first started as the Social Development Manager and was in-charge of all the social programs for the artisans. The thing I appreciated most was the philosophy of SHARE where the women are asked to identify the problems and are greatly involved in the design of the programs. This is not traditional social work. It is much more challenging and you have to listen really carefully to what the women are saying and almost read between the lines. It is a collaboration in the very best sense.

What have you learned though your work?

Oh, I have learned so much. While working on the social programs, I realized how important the economic aspect was. Aashiyana is a small group, which was having a hard time planning their work and reaching the levels of quality required. I asked to be given the responsibility of working with them on these problems. I enjoyed that so much and was probably doing a good job because I was given the responsibility of working on production planning and quality control for all of the cooperatives. I really and truly enjoy my job.

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