We at Mentor Me India (MMI) currently support over 400 mentoring relationships across Mumbai. This year, we dreamed a little bigger, a little better and set a goal of changing the lives of more than double this number of children!
While most pre-teens are either blissfully unaware of their aspirations or afraid of dreaming big [particularly in low-income communities], one of our mentees Maya (name changed) is an exception. She dreams of becoming a scientist and starting her own research facility!
Tamanna has a vocational background in Sales and Marketing. Vidhi (name changed) loves fairy tales. Tamanna has been a Mentor to Vidhi for over a year now. And here’s what their story looks like….
It’s Marathon time, friends! As Mentor Me India recently launched the second part of its ‘Dream Big. Dream 1000.’ crowdfunding campaign in association with United Way and Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018, our mentees from New English Secondary School, Sion, Mumbai, could not contain their excitement! What thrilled them the most was that Richa Didi – Mentor Me India’s program coordinator for their centre – is participating in the Tata Mumbai Marathon (10km Women’s Run) to raise funds for them to help pave the way to their bright futures! Read more »
“About my mentee, well… she is a darling with views of her own. She is full of surprises”, exclaimed Anjali, our super-energetic mentor, when asked about her 12-year old mentee, Muskan!
Anjali couldn’t have been more proud of Muskan. Muskan is a quiet little girl from one of the low-income communities in Mumbai and aspires to become a doctor. She is also the winner of our recently organised Mini-Mentee poetry competition where all mentees channeled their inner poets on the theme ‘My Dream(s)’.
With Children’s Day around the corner and the launch of second part of our ‘Dream Big. Dream 1000.’ crowdfunding campaign in association with United Way and Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018, Mentor Me India recently organised this competition to combine fun with learning. And we were clearly amazed to read some of the poems penned down by our unseen little Tagores & Naidus. Of all the entries, Muskan’s poem, ‘A Billion Smiles’, won our hearts and the competition, both!
Here’s a snippet from her poem, “Come big come small, Muskan Doctor is here for all. Study hard, practice smart, make this world a beautiful art…go a mile, an extra mile, to achieve a billion smiles”.
Anjali shares that just when she had started wondering whether she had been able to touch Muskan’s life in any way or not, Muskan came up with this crafts book that had all their mentoring sessions captured, right from day one. And in that book she says the idea behind ‘A Billion Smiles’ took roots. Leafing through the book, Anjali recalled that it was in one of their previous group mentoring sessions around Aspirations that Muskan, as part of an activity, had made her visiting card that read: “Dr. Muskan, M.B.B.S, London”.
“She has no clue about her good qualities. She can grasp things and just needs quick recaps to help her sail through”, asserts Anjali.
There are thousands of children like Muskan, dreams in their eyes and hopes in their hearts, unaware of their potential or the opportunities that lie ahead! So why not come together this Children’s Day and support such #1000LittleDreamers find a mentor next year, realize their dreams, and reach their fullest potential? Join us in our ongoing Crowdfunding campaign – become a crowdfunder or donate to our cause at: www.bit.ly/Dream1000.
This Diwali, Mentor Me India embarked on a new journey… We decided to take a leap and dream big. Bigger than we ever have before. A dream that would further enable 1000 more dreams, big, small and monumental.
Our dream is to build and nurture 1000 new mentoring relationships in 2018! We took the first step towards achieving this dream: raising funds.
Our initiative aims to light up the lives of 1000 needful children by providing them with strong, inspiring role-models. We reached out to our mentors to help us by donating and spreading the word. These individuals, who inspire our team every single day, in turn mobilized their own networks.
Combined by a shared vision, at the end of the 15-day campaign, we were able to raise Rs. 1, 20, 150.
This means that this Diwali, our friends and supporters have already helped us fund some mentor-mentee pairs. It means that this festival of lights, they have helped us spark the dreams of some of our #1000LittleDreamers!
But as the Diwali celebrations, feasts, and our first crowdfunding campaign for the year comes to an end, the lights of hope continue to glow in our and our children’s hearts… A hope that with your help, we will be able to bring powerful mentors to influence the lives of the remaining children as well, the hope that they too would soon be able to find someone who can be with them, believe in them, and help them grow to the fullest of their potential!
If you wish to continue spreading the light, and keep this ray of hope alive in us and our little dreamers, stay tuned. For we would soon be launching the second part of our DREAM BIG. DREAM 1000. campaign!
If you wish to donate to our cause, visit: www.bit.ly/Dream1000
Largest in-house recruitment. Launch of our biggest mentor cohort yet. And close to INR 9.5 lakhs crowdfunded, with 9 runners running for our cause at the largest marathon in India!
Mentor Me India is proud to release its annual report for the financial year 2016 – 2017.
Since its inception, Mentor Me India has been driven by its sense of community and that’s what we’re celebrating in this year’s report!
We have had a year filled with milestones to revel in and challenges to combat. But words alone cannot capture the excitement behind it all! Here is our attempt to breathe life, not words, into the page!
Read our annual report here: bit.ly/MMI2016-17
If the thought of mentoring children appeals to you, here’s how you can join the #MentoringMovement!
Neha, a mentor and her mentee Nishreen (name changed) are from the first cohort of mentee-mentor pairs at Mentor Me India. Neha is an ambitious investment banker who is often identified as a workaholic by her friends. Nishreen speaks impeccable English. Divya (name changed) is Nishreen’s best friend at school who is an important chapter of Neha and Nishreen’s mentoring tale…
This is a secret letter… Please, don’t show it to anyone! We have known each other for 5 years now. You’ve become my very best friend and we share everything with each other. That’s why today, I want to tell you a secret…
5 years ago, I didn’t like you!
I had my reasons. Maybe you didn’t like me too. We never spoke and at that time, I was sure we never would! But then Neha didi entered our lives. Remember? Teacher announced in our class that some of us will get older friends who will talk to us, help us out, and be our mentor. We were each going to get one didi or bhaiyya. That’s how I met Neha didi. I could talk about anything with her. We used to talk so much about our lives…
Many times, I used to complain about you, in our weekly meetings. Neha didi always told me that the purpose behind your actions wasn’t to bother me. You may have had your own reasons for the way you behaved. She taught me that there is always a different side to this story, and to every story. That’s how I started understanding you better. In no time, we became friends. And today, we are inseparable!
Though didi doesn’t take any credit for doing this, I will be always thankful to her.
Neha didi and I are always honest with each other. She tells me if I am going wrong like when she told me about you. I do the same. I told her that she can’t work all the time. Even the clock’s battery dies sometimes. And she listened to me. With this letter, I wanted to be completely honest with you too.
Tomorrow is Friendship Day. I want to meet Neha didi and you, both. Please don’t tell Neha didi about this letter… Let it be our secret. I am glad to have you and Neha didi in my life. Happy Friendship Day, in advance!!!
Your best friend,
This mentoring tale has been represented in the form of a fictional letter.
In 2016, I received a Whatsapp message from a close friend about a mentorship program she was a part of…
For a person who rarely opens links on Whatsapp, I am glad I opened the link that said an organization called Mentor Me India was looking for mentors. After I conducted a little research, with great anticipation and excitement I applied for the mentorship program.
Mentor Me India (MMI) is an organization that aims to empower children in low-income communities through a year-long mentorship program. They match children from partner schools and NGOs to people who wish to mentor those children, like myself! An interview and few background checks later I was selected to be a mentor. That was the start to my amazing journey with Mentor Me India.
The program includes one-on-one mentoring as well as group mentoring sessions wherein mentors meet their mentees for at least 6 hours every month. I am mentoring a 12-year-old, Tanvi from A B Goregaokar School in Goregaon, a sprightly and feisty girl. Over the last one year, I have had the most enriching and fulfilling experience while mentoring Tanvi.
When I had signed up, I had no idea over a span of 1 year; I would be learning Origami through YouTube videos, talking about the solar system and parts of the body in broken Marathi, learning sketching through Vincent Van Gogh sketch books or playing Jenga and Kho-Kho on Sunday afternoons. Nor did I know that I would be learning about gender bias, non-conventional career aspirations or rights and duties of a good citizen.
At MMI we aim to inculcate self-awareness, social interaction, aspirations and good citizenship in our mentees. The experience of mentoring with MMI was not special only because I could introduce Tanvi to various arts, sports and games. Neither was it because I could teach a child how to interact socially or about the difference between a good and bad touch. It was not special because she learned about her family tree or the significance of Indian festivals. What has made mentoring so special is what Tanvi and I have taken back as memories and experiences.
Amongst the 100 other mentors along with me, there were women who were of my mother’s age and wished to make a difference to someone’s life. Learning the various reasons why people chose to start mentoring was such a heartwarming experience! In today’s fast-paced world it was heartening for me to interact with people from different backgrounds and interests, coming together just to make a difference in someone else’s life. What I learned while mentoring was also how impressionable children are and how important it is for adults to teach and guide children on to the right path.
One balmy afternoon, Tanvi and I were running out of things to talk about, and we chanced upon a shop selling mehendi cones. I applied mehendi on her hand. A month later I noticed she had the same mehendi design drawn on her hand. On my asking, she said she had copied the exact same design I had made on her hand and had been practicing applying mehendi on her friends and family. At moments like these, I was overwhelmed by how my behavior and actions were being observed and the importance of setting a good example dawned on me.
One of the other defining and exhilarating moments was when Tanvi called me one evening and said that she wished to take English as her primary language in school. She said, “Didi main kar paungi na?Mujhe nahin aayega toh aap sikhaoge? Mujhe English seekhna hai”. [“Didi, will I be able to do it? If I do not understand, will you teach me? I want to learn English”]
Mentoring is a selfless act but when I see Tanvi becoming more confident and aware, I cannot ask for anything more. Instances like when she was selected to sing the national anthem on Republic Day in school or when while talking about good citizenship she said discrimination on the basis of religion is a bad thing, have made this journey worthwhile.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. Mentoring with MMI has been exactly this – involving and interacting with mentees for their holistic development without preaching or lecturing. While I had joined MMI without any selfish motives, I must admit I have gained much more than I gave. I have met so many people who selflessly and tirelessly work to make a difference to society. While I can also claim to have learned patience and science (just so I can answer the endless questions posed by Tanvi about the universe and biology), most importantly I have learned perseverance, humility and the ability to celebrate small victories with great gusto. Mentoring is not only a satisfying and humbling experience but also an enriching and fun-filled journey.
Note: This article was written by Namrata Patel, a mentor with Mentor Me India, and has been modified since. The story originally featured on DNA India.
We are now in our third year of operations and continue to be convinced that our structured Mentorship program is a win-win concept. It creates a positive impact on the life trajectories of children while at the same time providing an answer to people looking for meaningful volunteering opportunities.
As we continue to dream about and plan for a future where Mentorship impacts an increasingly large number of people, we are excited to bring our very first Annual report. You will see in the report how an idea born on a hot afternoon three years ago in Mumbai has grown, through the support of our partners, mentors and donors to change the lives of 250 mentees (as well as their mentors) across 7 locations in Bombay.