Nishit Jain, Delhi
Social work is the ‘in thing’ today. Everybody’s doing something ‘good’ and if you aren’t associated with an NGO or five, you’re victimised and treated like the scourge of all evil on earth. Ok, just kidding. But on a serious note, the importance and relevance of the social sector is at an all-time high right now and so we decided to organise our second Career Guidance session around this thought.
IIT Delhi has its own fair share of on-campus socially active student groups and to tell our Fellows about these, we invited Abhishek Surana to speak to them. A fourth-year student who has worked in the Sunderbans for Project Tiger, in rural Madhya Pradesh to encourage the use of technology, with Burmese refugees in West Delhi and won an international energy conservation competition among many other things, he ably guided our students through the myriad of options open to them at this stage. Speaking freely and easily connecting with his audience, he urged the Fellows to explore as many options as possible before rejecting them. Before he ended his talk, he suggested the students to step out of the IIT Campus and explore the real world to help choose the right path.
Our second speaker, Prof. Sangeeta Kohli, has been actively involved with rural technology for many years. In a very absorbing lecture, she decided to attack the issue at its very core and explained in great detail the need for students to partake in socially relevant work. As she shed light on the inequalities that exist in the country and the desensitization that occurs once one is in the hallowed confines of IIT, it was evident that the Fellows were being forced to think about something new. She identified unemployment and poverty as the two pillars on which all our problems currently exist. Topple the pillars, she said, and everything else will follow.
Inspired by the response by our Fellows, she proceeded to give an extensive list of professors and organisations who work in the areas of rural technology and development. Coupled with the options available to them in the form of organisations like SIFE, AINA, NSS and Avanti itself, our Fellows have plenty to think over before they take the plunge into the highly-rewarding yet often highly-frustrating world of social work.