“Championing for Orphans Education”- Poulomi Pavini Shukla

1. Who is Poulomi Pavini? Can you describe yourself in one sentence. poulomi poulomi poulomi

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It’s not a sentence, but its a word that Mary Poppins made us believe that is means in a nebulousis manner good or nice or kind. I strive to be that.

2. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never say or do anything that you are ashamed of.

My mother taught me this. It has helped me in moments of anger, in moments of distress. I’ve realised by taking a moment and thinking my words and actions through, I have come out stronger always.

Even if somebody confronts or tries to provoke you, when you stay calm then they look small. It is not easy but it is worth it.

On the other hand my favourite line from books is  “I always advise people never to give advice.”

3. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a mathematician. I am a bit of a nerd and quite proud of it!

4. What’s is one thing we don’t know about you?

That I have 3 degrees, 12 dogs, 3 cows and 2 goats and I can have a few more !

5. How does it feel to a part of Forbes under 30 list. What are your future goals after this ?

I feel honoured and happy. However, more than anything, I feel that this is an opportunity. An opportunity to talk about the cause that is so close to my heart. There are 2 crore orphan children in India of which less than 1 lakh are in orphanages. Most districts do not have even  a single orphanage. The issues relating to orphan and destitute children are wide ranging and complex.

As for my future goals, I am hoping to use this platform and more to create more awareness about these children and to get them basic rights like inclusion in the Right to Education in every state.

The final goal is to make orphan and destitute children a part of general public awareness. These children have no voice of their own and I am hoping that I can convince enough people to be a voice for them so that society and the system listens!

I keep saying, maybe we can’t change the world, but together, for these children, we can change their world

6. If you could learn one new personal skill, what would it be?

I would love to learn how to sing. My husband sings like an angel and I like a crow so duets are quite impossible.

7. What kept you motivated and inspired to work over all these years ?

My motivation comes from my family. My parents are singularly dedicated to work and are extremely laborious. My husband is genuinely a self made man whose work ethic is incomparable.  My brother is iconoclastic and passionate about his ideas.

My inspiration comes from the change I see resulting from my work. Every time I see a smile on the face of an orphan child because of me, I am motivated to be more and to do more for them.

8. How has being married changed your life and what equation do you share with your life partner ?

Poulomi

I got married when I was relatively young and in love at twenty three. Since then, my marriage has been a boon.

Prashant is quite my opposite. He has taught to be kinder to myself and to be more self aware. He is truly my best friend, from late night gossip to very serious life conversations. He is also a feminist in every sense of the word.

When we married, not only did I take his last name but he took mine too. What was even nicer, he did it like it was the most natural thing to do.

As he is such a feminist we, as a couple, are not bound by gender roles and can be equal friends and partners. We get to play off each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses. For example, Prashant is better at managing the household so he takes charge of that, while I am better at planning so I take charge of that.

Marriage has been incredibly fun and a very interesting experience . It has helped me grow immensely and be a better version of myself.

9. How can people get involved in your noble work ?

I am often asked this question. There are myriad ways in which people can get involved, from simply raising awareness to providing services.

Even if you don’t have the money or resources to donate anything, please give your time. Go to an orphanage, once a month or so. By simply going there, not only will you be providing company, you will also hold the people running the orphanage accountable. You will see that the children have proper beds to sleep in, and are studying.

Even if you can’t go to the orphanage, when you are walking or driving, if a child asks you for alms, stop and ask them if they’re going to school, are they an orphan? If you think they need help, take them to the nearest police station or to the nearest orphanage 

I also tell people to hire orphans, it is important to provide them jobs. So if you are planning to hire anyone, from cleaning staff to coffee making assistant or skilling people, please think of orphan children, they need jobs the most!

-Team WS

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