Kaushal Varta's October 2023- Trust and Transparency

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Hi Readers,

Welcome to ‘Kaushal Varta’ (Skill Talk). As we turn the pages of stories from across the vast and vibrant expanse of India, we uncover tales of diverse projects, bound by a common thread – the relentless pursuit of trust. At every step, in every narrative, our aim has been to foster unwavering trust with all our stakeholders, irrespective of their roles or ranks. It is with immense humility and excitement that we take this journey online, extending our family to include you. For the first time, we’re unveiling our cherished tales to the digital world, hoping that they resonate with you just as profoundly as they do with us. Thank you for being an integral part of this new chapter.


Reflections on the article by leadership team:  What to Do When You Don’t Trust Your Employee, by Dina Denham Smith (August 17, 2023)

“Unveiling the leadership’s perspective on navigating trust issues at the workplace: Dive deep into our reflective takeaways from Dina Denham Smith’s thought-provoking piece, ‘What to Do When You Don’t Trust Your Employee’. Insightful quotes from our leaders and Senior Managers guide this introspection.”

Sunanda Mane

“Though the length of association, opportunities to connect and work together, feedback mechanism also are factors that matter, the decoding of abstract ‘trust’ factor into three aspects Competency, Consistency and Character and the five steps to work towards ‘trust’ by the author helps. With the increasing trend of remote and hybrid working it provides a workable solution. The key, as mentioned by the author, is clear, frequent communication from both sides and self-reflection, particularly for a leader.  I think for the initiative ‘Circle of Stewardship’, for senior managers, for the topics discussed in the 2nd convening, this article is most relevant.  For non-profit organizations when the visibility of change, direct attribution of the interventions are a challenge, trusting employees is important to keep their morale and motivation to deliver the outcomes.”  

Raj Gilda

“Learning by doing has long been our touchstone for forging trust. While this article offers “gyaan” on effective communication and diagnosing sources of distrust, my personal mantra has always been to challenge my team with difficult questions and watch them respond through their actions. Over the past 16 years at Lend A Hand India, we have been deeply invested in every detail, and question ourselves about our actions but keep a high bias for action. Relying solely on 3 C’s mentioned in the article would never have allowed us to make an impact while working within the system; resilience and staying grounded are just as crucial in trust-building. You keep on learning, you keep on doing and repeat the cycle, that’s how you build trust.”

Akash Patki

“I think trust and empathy goes hand in hand. The article tells us why it is important to invest into a professional relationship on either side of an employer as well as employee. It also gives us a way forward as to how we can do it. In a multi-level organisation/institution, an approach towards trusting your subordinates is also influenced by how trust flows right from the top. Another important aspect that I liked about this article is that the tools mentioned here are also equally applicable for the stakeholders with whom we work whether they are students or trainers or government officials. A system change can only happen and sustain in an environment which promotes trust, transparency and empathy.”

Malathy Madathilezham

“It is an interesting article as it breaks down the abstract concept of trust. We could use it to bring in processes/ norms to build trust. If we agree that Competency, Consistency and Character are the significant components of trust, we can also reflect on how we can improve or facilitate improvement in the first two aspects.”

Kartik Suri

“Trust is the cornerstone of a healthy leader-employee relationship. It’s the currency of leadership, enabling higher performance, engagement, and innovation. When trust wanes, leaders must take proactive steps to rebuild it, creating a more productive and happier workplace for all.”

Deepika Goyal

“Trust is a recipe crafted by both leaders and employees, where leaders need to bring space, transparency and care, employees bring intent, curiosity and efforts. The team who tastes this remains in good health.”

Nilesh Puradkar

“Trust is cultivated through consistent effort; there’s no shortcut to it. In my interactions with government officials, I’ve discerned how vested interests can erode trust. While I understand that not every endeavor meets success, it’s the sincerity of effort that matters most to me. A genuine attempt, even in failure, fosters trust. On occasions when trust wavers between government stakeholders and my immediate team, it’s imperative for leadership to step in and bridge that gap, ensuring that trust remains unbroken.”

Keshav Singh N

“When there is a breach of trust, confrontation is an important element. Remember what has helped us build trust and then understand if the breach of trust with team members is a one time activity. The longevity of trust and having a dialogue is more important than dwelling over losing trust.”

Anubhav Singh

“Any organization is like a living entity and has its own lifecycle that is founded on the value of trust, running from day to day to the most complex of operations and decisions. Trust is cultivated through building faith and beliefs in each other and creating a collective ownership of purpose. For any dilution or breach of this trust, dialogue is very important; there has to be a space of conversation where one can be vulnerable and still feel safe and re-cultivate pieces.”


Curiosity from Kolhapur by Arundhati Jadhav

With an aim of bringing the Atal Tinkering Labs to operational state and enabling the projects to attain sustainability, we started training the teachers of Kolhapur schools to be ATL trainers. Initially we were a bit doubtful if academic teachers would be able to adapt to it. So, we designed the training modules in alignment with their educational background

Lend A Hand India's Training at Karigar School of Applied Learning for teachers from Kolhapur. Teachers holding trays for cookies baked by them.
Teachers from Kolhapur at Lend A Hand India’s Karigar School of Applied Learning

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But their involvement complimented our preparation resulting in a self-sustaining group of knowledge.  

It has been six months now and we can proudly say that curiosity has no age limit. As a proof for that, a bunch of teachers from Petwadgaon were inspired to visit Lend A Hand India’s Karigar School of Applied Learning to understand our model better. They reached Karigar at 11am on 6th October, to see how we do what we do. Despite their tiring journey of 5 hours in the morning, they let their head, heart and hands explore all the four laboratories.

With smiling feedback on camera, they also left a promise to bring their students to Karigar soon. Hearing that, I smiled so broad that my thoughts extended to recognise how much they would have trusted us to be so transparent to keep their learning on.


Empowering pillars: Resounding Success of our ‘Connect, Share, and Grow’ Training of Trainers Program” by Mr. Keshav Sul

In the heart of Subhedar Ramji Maloji Ambedkar High School, Ramwadi, we witnessed not only the birth of novel teaching strategies but also the blossoming of trust, a foundational pillar of our recent Training of Trainers (ToT) program. Over the span of three enlightening days, our collaborative effort was a testament to the idea that trusting the process and each other can lead to unprecedented successes.

Our group comprised 11 committed trainers from PMC, 5 from BMC, and 2 from Swadheen, Telangana. Together, we embarked on a transformative journey. The essence of this ToT was not just the free flow of knowledge and pioneering strategies, but also the atmosphere of trust that allowed trainers to openly share, critique, and learn.

The theme “Connect, Share, and Grow” was intertwined with the underlying principle of trust. As participants, the belief in the process and faith in their peers were palpable. This trust was instrumental in each participant stepping forward, transparently sharing their insights, and absorbing feedback. It is this collective trust that turned the training into a two-way street of learning. Our retail trainers’ active engagement, combined with their willingness to be transparent and trust the shared creative ideas, ensured that each unit was robust and geared towards hands-on activities.

I wish to convey my profound appreciation to the school management, who trusted our vision and offered unwavering support. Equally, the training unit and participants deserve accolades for trusting each other, leading to a successful implementation of the program. Your commitment to educational brilliance, underscored by trust and transparency, is commendable. Together, with trust as our guiding star, we will continue our journey to inspire, innovate, and uplift the educational horizon for our cherished students.

https://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=9106194742364808647&li_theme=light

The Sous-Chef in Action

Narrated & written by Kunal Garge and Prachi Mishra

Rutuja A Student Intern holding a tray of cupcakes made in Lend A Hand India's Karigar School of Applied Learning
Rutuja spreading sweetness with cupcakes and smiles withing Lend A Hand India

Trust, for me, is when you believe in someone and feel confident that they’ll do what they say and be reliable. Trust means you can count on them and have faith in their actions and words. It’s the foundation of strong teamwork, making everything run smoothly.

When I think of trust, every member of the team is someone I have strong trust in. However, today, I wanted to shine the spotlight on our youngest team member, Rutuja Rangade.

Who is Rutuja?

She’s the spirited little girl you must have spotted if you have been to Karigar. Donning a chef’s hat and apron, bustling around with utensils, or taking sessions in the food lab. Whether it’s Independence Day, open-mic nights, or any other event at Karigar, the sous-chef in action is none other than Rutuja.

 When I thought of transparency and trust, I instantly thought of Rutuja. Once you meet Rutuja, it will be evident why. She fearlessly speaks her mind, effortlessly connects with everyone, and never seems to run out of energy. 

I have known Rutuja for a long time. She has been a student of MSFC since the 9th grade and pursued her higher secondary education with a specialization in food processing. Currently, she is pursuing a B.Sc in Home Science, showcasing her passion and consistent dedication for the field.

During her internship at Karigar, Rutuja has been nothing short of exceptional. Our initial objectives for her engagement at Karigar included involvement in the Training of Trainers and assisting in practical sessions with students in the food lab. She has also managed tasks related to inventory, workshops, and raw material procurement with efficiency and diligence.

Rutuja’s growth has been remarkable. At times, I feel amazed at how confidently she conducts practical sessions independently and handles her batch of students adeptly. Her ability to manage assigned tasks smoothly, even in my absence, highlights her commitment to our mission and the trust she has earned from the entire team.

 To Rutuja,

As you read these words, we want you to understand how loved, respected, and trusted you are by your team. And we hope that your light continues to shine even brighter throughout your life.

 


Trust, transparency, and Thoughts of Skill Mitras by Skill Mitras and Prachi Mishra

As soon as I read this month’s newsletter theme, I found myself lost in a whirlwind of thoughts, sifting through my own experiences, trying to get the essence of what trust and transparency truly mean to me. It took some 20 minutes of this introspection to start noticing the recurring patterns of how much these principles have shaped my own professional journey.

Now, as I work with Skill Mitras, designing their journeys with LAHI, I started wondering what trust and transparency mean to them and reached out to get their answers. How much do they feel the need to be trusted and transparent in their professional journeys?

I have created a word cloud from all the responses we received from Skill Mitras –

As I listened to my 17-18-year-old Skill Mitras talk about it, I noticed something important. They all want to have the space at their workplace to talk about their mistakes and worries without feeling afraid. It made me think of a Harvard article I recently read that said, “Gen Z wants to do meaningful work with autonomy and flexibility, but what they prioritize the most is a space to feel accepted, trusted, and empowered.”

The voices of our Skill Mitras echo a universal desire for workplaces where authenticity reigns. They seek environments where they can openly share their vulnerabilities, knowing their voices will be heard and valued. They value not only what they do but how they feel while doing it—a potent reminder that success in the modern workplace is deeply intertwined with the emotional well-being of its workforce. And this yearning for a nurturing ecosystem that extends beyond the conventional notions of work is what we are trying to create.

“Gen Z will have the ability to demand greater personalization in how they move along their career journey.” – a report by Deloitte.

We’ve witnessed this firsthand with our Skill Mitras. They have a genuine hunger for mentorship and seek one-on-one guidance. Even when assigned simple tasks, like data verification or setting up a WhatsApp group, their inquisitiveness makes us ensure that they’re briefed on the project’s objective and broader context. This has prompted us to shift in our approach—from a “need-to-know” to one of “open access to information.”

We carry with us the profound conviction that trust and transparency are not just ideals but the pillars of a brighter, more progressive workplace – a place where we can all truly show up as who we are and be accepted and empowered.

Let’s hear from our Skill Mitras

Trust is the belief in someone’s reliability. It’s the confidence that they’ll act in your best interest. Transparency is the quality of being open and honest, sharing information openly.

– Livica, Nagaland

For me, trust is ‘give and take of your thoughts, your questions, your failures, your success, etc., without any hesitation or without the thought of getting judged. – Sharvari, Maharashtra

If someone trusts you, they feel safe with you to open their thoughts. – Nirbhay, Delhi

For me, trust means someone to whom I can trust and tell my questions. – Rani, Jharkhand

In Skill Mitra’s journey, trust has been seen where one can speak in front of everyone without fear. – Shanti, Maharashtra


The Human Side of Verification by Saeedur Rahman

We were faced with the task of verifying the authenticity of our students’ field internships. We knew the importance of this process, not just as a procedural necessity but as an opportunity to reaffirm the values of trust and transparency that we hold dear. Our team had some guidelines, but no strict rules. They talked to the students, listened to their stories, and then decided if the internships were real.

Instead of solely relying on digital data or applications, we entrusted this task to our verification team. They were equipped with a Kobo form, which was designed not just to gather data but to engage in meaningful conversations with the students. The form was a bridge, facilitating conversations that were as meaningful as they were informative. Our team had some guidelines, but no strict rules. They talked to the students, listened to their stories, and then decided if the internships were real.

These questions were not interrogative but conversational. Each response painted a picture of  students’ experience, allowing our team to assess the authenticity of their internship. It was a process rooted in trust – trust in our team to make informed decisions and to share their experience transparently.

This way, we didn’t just get data, we also got real stories, real experiences. It was simple but powerful. We learned that trust and being open with each other could give us the answers we needed. It showed us that at Lend A Hand India, trust and transparency aren’t just words, they’re integral part of how we work.


Enabling participation of Level 1 & 2 Apparel sector National Skill Qualification Framework(NSQF) students in fashion event. by Chandana Yadav (Catalyst, Samagra Shiksha Karnataka)

Trust is the foundation of collaboration between the government and various external stakeholders, including Lend a Hand India and other organizations. The sensitivity of the data and processes involved in Project Management Unit(PMU) work requires establishing good relationships with government officials, Vocational Training Providers(VTPs), school administrators, and faculty. Recently, students in grades 9 and 10 were participating in a fashion show.

Students and their fashion creation

They got an opportunity to design and show their talent through models wearing the designs they created. The event concluded with happiness and pride among the audience, but it also demanded a great deal of faith from individuals such as parents, schools, teachers, and students in the Samagra Shikshana, Karnataka’s  National Skill Qualitfication Framework (NSQF) team. Students from 3 different districts had to travel to Bangalore for 2 days to showcase their design skills. The NSQF team, consisting of SSK officials, LAHI PMU members, Vocational trainers, and Vocational coordinators, worked tirelessly to build parent’s confidence and secure approval from the school authorities. Because the children were all under 18 years old and stereotypes about events such as fashion shows, it was initially difficult to convince the school authorities and parents. But NSQF members have established a sense of trust that allows children to be exposed to and participate in real-life professional events. Hence, Creating opportunities for students and working with diverse stakeholders within and outside government requires trust.


A Remarkable Display of Trust and Transparency by Sachin Shinde

I want to take a moment to share a remarkable example of trust and transparency that I experienced in my work recently. As I embarked on a 1.5-month journey for Swadheen India cluster training and classroom observations, I entrusted my responsibilities as a Multi Skill Trainer for two Pune Municipal Corporation(PMC) schools to our capable NSQF Pune team.

 When I left for the training, there were critical tasks left incomplete. In this demanding scenario, our NSQF Pune team stepped up. Despite their existing commitments, including their responsibilities in their own schools and projects assigned by HO, all the teammates managed my workload seamlessly. They not only completed the designated syllabus within the allocated time but also went above and beyond by setting up the multi-skill labs in both of my schools.

 Their efforts included tasks such as distributing books, compiling student enrolment lists, delivering regular curriculum, liaising with HM for various permissions, mobilizing my school’s students for the Makhar-making competition at Karigar, managing procurement and storage of school materials, transporting newly purchased tools and machinery to the schools, and organizing field visits for students, among many others.

 I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation for this extraordinary work accomplished during my absence. Their dedication, teamwork, and commitment to our organization’s core values of trust and transparency shone through in every task.

 By upholding these values, they not only ensured the seamless continuation of our work but also maintained the highest standards of integrity and openness. This not only showcases their exceptional professionalism but also reinforces the trust we hold for one another within our team.

 Team’s collective efforts exemplify the very essence of our organization’s commitment to cultivating an environment grounded in trust and transparency. Witnessing such a strong embodiment of our shared values is truly heartening.

 Let’s continue to build on this foundation and move forward towards new successes as a united team.


STORIES FROM STUDENTS compiled by Medha Bankar

Community Work – MCB Fuse Connections

By Madhuri Maccha and Balaraju Kolupala

Telangana State Residential School(Boys) Borabanda – Hyderabad

Students fixing the School Electrical System

At the Telangana State Residential School for Boys in Borabanda, Hyderabad, The Level-1 students from the Multi Skill Foundation Course took it upon themselves to address a recurring issue with the school’s electrical system. They decided to replace the old and troublesome fuse board with a new MCB-FUSE board in the same spot. This old fuse board had a history of malfunctioning, causing frequent power outages in the dormitories and classrooms.

The Multi Skill Foundation Course (MSFC) students were already familiar with MCB-FUSE systems and had hands-on experience from their Level-1 Energy & Environment sessions. A group of these students noticed the ongoing problem with the electrical board and approached our instructor and Principal. After the discussion, the school’s Principal approved the installation of a new MCB-FUSE board and provided the necessary raw materials.

Throughout this project, safety was a top priority, with the power supply from the school’s transformer being temporarily shut down. In the end, not only did this initiative solve a persistent issue, but it also yielded a notional profit of 2000 rupees. This community work shows students’ practical skills and their dedication to improving their school’s infrastructure and environment.

Prem’s Early Morning Painting Project

by Prabhat Kumar and Arun Singh Patni

Prem working towards School Facilities Improvement

Introduction:

This case study focuses on Prem, a ninth-grade student, who took the initiative to paint the school door. Initially faced with resistance from teachers, Prem had to devise a plan to accomplish his goal without disrupting his studies. This case study explores Prem’s determination, problem-solving skills, and his proactive approach towards contributing to his school environment.

Background:

Prem, an enthusiastic and creative student, noticed the worn-out and dull appearance of the school door. Motivated to enhance the aesthetics of his school, he conceived the idea of painting the door as a means of contributing to his school community.

Challenge:

When Prem expressed his intention to paint the school door, the teachers forbade him, reminding him of the importance of attending his classes and focusing on academic obligations. Feeling disheartened by their reaction, Prem pondered over an alternate plan that would enable him to carry out his idea without compromising his academic responsibilities.

Solution:

Prem came up with a solution to accomplish his initiative by dedicating his early mornings before school started to paint the door. Aware of the need for proper tools and materials, Prem gathered all the necessary painting supplies, including paints, brushes, rollers, and protective sheets. He decided to keep them in the school’s multi-skill lab.

Execution:

Organizing his plan meticulously, Prem arrived early the following day with all the equipment required for his task. He ensured that his activities did not interfere with any ongoing classes, and he maintained the utmost care to avoid any disruption. Prem proceeded to paint the door diligently, paying attention to detail, and successfully transformed the worn-out door into a vibrant and inviting entrance.

Impact:

Prem’s early morning painting project not only rejuvenated the entrance but also created a positive impact on the school community. Students, teachers, and visitors could now appreciate the fresh and appealing atmosphere created by Prem’s effort. This project not only showcased Prem’s creative talent but also his commitment to improving his surroundings.

Lessons Learned:

Prem’s initiative teaches us several valuable lessons. Firstly, creativity and a sense of ownership can drive positive change, even at a young age. Secondly, Prem’s ability to adapt and find a solution when faced with obstacles demonstrates resilience and problem-solving skills. Lastly, Prem’s decision to dedicate his personal time to contribute to the school community exemplifies responsibility and commitment.

STUDENT- ASHISH KUMAR

by Mohd Imran and Munna Kumar Yadav

Ashish from Delhi managing important tasks related to electricity at home and beyond

Govt. Boys Senior Secondary School, Magazine Road, Delhi

Ashish is a Xth standard student from GBSSS MAGAZINE ROAD, Delhi. He enrolled himself in the Multi Skill Foundation course for the academic year 2022-23. As a regular student to the classes, he has been actively participating in all the courses Electrical, Gardening, Engineering Workshop and Food processing.

“I had given Ashish electrical and workshop training, and I am happy that he can now handle several important tasks at his home independently, such as LED repair, changing MCBs, and wiring. He sent me some pictures, and it brings me great joy. His success has become a source of pride for me.

I had the pleasure of training Ashish in electrical work during his 10th-grade studies. I am proud to say that he has become proficient in various electrical tasks and can now independently handle electrical work in his own home.

Ashish’s enthusiasm for learning and dedication to mastering electrical skills have been truly impressive. I have no doubt that he has a bright future ahead in this field, and I am excited to see his continued success.

I wholeheartedly recommend Ashish for any electrical work or projects. His commitment and ability to apply his knowledge make him a valuable asset in this field.”

STUDENT: HARSHVARDHAN SINGH

by Parmeshwar Jogdand and Pawan Kumar Yogi

Govt. Sr. Sec School, Singhasan Sikar, Rajasthan

Harshvardhan from Rajasthan working with Electrical Drill Machine

It is the story of a student of school “Govt. senior secondary school” of class IX located at Singhasan, Sikar (Rajasthan), his name is “Harshvardhan Singh”. He enrolled in the Multi Skill Foundation Course in Aug.2022.

 He is an average student in academics. When he started to attend multi skill classes at school then I discussed it with their class teacher. She mentioned his academic performance and as an instructor I also observed that he is struggling with the same.

When I went for the home visit , his parents told me that when he joined the MSFC, his interest built up in practical applications. When he started doing practical work in the lab it was observed that he was good at practical work and taking an interest in learning skills.

Outside the class, Harshvardhan also helps with other tasks, such as arranging raw materials and participating in community work. In addition to his excellence in electrical work, he possesses other skills as well. Harshvardhan is often asked to assist other students in his class who are struggling with the material, and he is always happy to help. He is patient and supportive in his approach.

I was surprised during home visit when he showed me an electric drill machine which was made by him using the useless tape recorder motor. When I asked him about the working principle and the process to prepare it, he explained the whole process. He mentioned that he made the electrical drill machine as a result of learning the conductor wiring connection in MSFC lab. He faced many challenges in this project because he is in the learning stage.

In this project should have the knowledge of electrical wiring connections, electrical motor principle, and he will implement his knowledge in this project.

Looking ahead, Harshvardhan is considering pursuing a career in electrical engineering. He knows that this will require him to continue working hard and developing his skills but he is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. He enjoys working with his hands and helping others to understand the topic. I appreciate his dedication and hard work for this project and motivate him to prepare for other new projects.

Made Cake & Sweets on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan program

by Rakesh Kumar Nayak and Tasawar Ali

30 Multi Skill students of Patrapada Bhagabanpur Nodal High School, Odisha had done the community work cum practical. As the school has been celebrating the Raksha Bandhan festival every year, this time the school wanted to prepare cake and sweets as a part of the celebration. Therefore, the students along with the Guest Lecture baked  cake and Suji Halwa and the raw materials for the food product by schools. In the process, the students learned hands-on activities from Guest Lecture, then students prepared the Cake, laddu & Suji halwa for 200 students. This happened for the first time in school and through the process the students were very enthusiastic.

The school HM and teachers appreciated the student’s efforts to prepare the delicious food items. Through this process the school could save the cost of the refreshment for the program.


Interested in becoming a part of our journey that relies on Trust and Transparency amongst all stakeholders, Check out our openings in our Jobs section on LinkedIn or Visit our Work with Us on our website.

Call out to communities working in the space of bridging the gap between education and livelihoods to send their stories at [email protected]

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PROGRAMS

Project Swadheen

Skill Education in schools

Project Catalyst

Government Partnership

Project Pathways

Internships

Karigar

School of Applied Learning

INNOVATIONS

Delhi

Schools of Specialized Excellence

Skills On Wheels

(SOW)

Skills@Home

Junior Fellowship

Project Saad

(Beyond Skill Education)

Student Scholarship

PROGRAMS

Project Swadheen

Skill Education in schools

Project Catalyst

Government Partnership

Project Pathways

Internships

Karigar

School of Applied Learning

INNOVATIONS

Delhi

Schools of Specialized Excellence

Skills On Wheels

(SOW)

Skills@Home

Junior Fellowship

Project Saad

(Beyond Skill Education)

Student Scholarship