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Our Teaching Assistant Manju and Her Journey to Join Zaya

2015-01-10 15.20.23

Through its Teaching Assistant (TA) program, Zaya is striving to empower low-income women to start careers in education and simultaneously serve children from their own communities. TAs receive training on classroom management, blended learning pedagogies, and the Zaya platform. After their initial training, TAs tie up with schools to manage tech-enabled labs where children come to use the Zaya platform for learning, practice, and assessment. Ideally, the TAs join not only schools but also a community of educators, providing them with the support they need to begin their careers and manage classrooms.

We met our TA Manju at Zaya’s Headquarters in Mahim to learn more about her and the work that she is doing with Zaya. Talking about her background and upbringing, we learned that she grew up in a slum area of Mumbai with her three siblings – two brothers and a sister – and very supportive parents. Explaining about traditional Indian culture and her family she said, “Women are married at an early age and are not given the liberty to work outside. But my parents have given me the freedom, so I can be independent.” 

“Wherever I live, my parents want me to earn and take care of myself, be self-sufficient.”

– Manju says

Wanting to know more about Manju’s initial days and education, we asked her about how she came to work for Zaya. Manju explained, reminiscing about her early days of studying, that she had done an English course with ATMA and was working for an NGO called Sneha. She was an ace student in her class due to her teaching practice at her home tuitions. Then she heard about Zaya’s teacher training sessions. Initially she gave it a pass, since studying for her Master’s degree meant she had her hands full.

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Subsequently, after rethinking her options and the opportunities she might come across, Manju decided to become a part of it. Fortunately for her, she was among the first few to be selected for the program. Manju spoke about her personality development after Zaya training, saying, “Initially I was a simple girl who took home tuitions, but now I am a Zaya teacher. I was short-tempered but now have more control over my emotions.” She told us that her family teases her about the improvement in her temperament. Manju also mentioned that her English is drastically improved and she feels better about herself. Previously she lacked confidence in talking to new people but now is more sure of herself.  

Manju’s parents proudly brag about their daughter’s achievements to their neighbors and influence people around, telling them about the need to educate daughters. They say, “Your daughter might how know to cook and clean, but education is the most important.” Her family feels elated when everyone who meets them tells them how lucky they are that their daughter is a teacher. “I save money, take care of my household expenses and support my younger nieces.  My younger nieces want to be like me now. My parents don’t stop me for further education or working. I am in a better place in my life.”

Initially started with small pilots in communities like Manju’s, Zaya continues to help communities empower themselves by using technology for education. If you want to join Zaya or incorporate education technology into your schools, ask us how!

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