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Insights from Mentors’ Meets By Aakriti Mehrotra

Aakriti, who mentors Zainab, shares her perspective and experiences of the mentors’ meets that are organized every month.

Joining Aagaaz as a mentor was almost a no-brainer for me. I had heard wonderful things about the people involved, and the mentorship programme allowed me the kind of flexibility I needed with a busy schedule. I knew mentoring someone would be a rewarding experience; it was almost a given. What I didn’t envision, however, was how much I was going to benefit from the programme, specifically the mentors’ meets, and how brilliant these get-togethers could be.

The first mentors’ meet I went for was in fact, the first meeting for a lot of mentors. We introduced ourselves and then Sanyukta Di introduced the programme to us and gave us some insights on the children. Next though, was an activity planned that made the meeting so brilliant. We were asked to draw lots and in those chits, were questions and statements. What is the first thing that comes to mind when we read what was written on those chits? We had to speak aloud the immediate memory that came to mind when ‘summer’ or ‘school’ was mentioned. Even though it meant we should speak our mind, this also allowed us to dig for memories which we hadn’t thought about for a long time. I guess this is what I like about these meetings in general. As a non-confrontation person, I don’t actually confront my thoughts either, so these exercises are almost like therapy.

The following mentors’ meetings have also been like mini-workshops. In one meeting one of the mentors Sukriti gave a sort of a presentation about using Sonday system in helping out with pronunciation of words, something which was insightful and valuable for everyone present. Since we’re not professional teachers, picking up on an important aspect of learning was incredibly helpful.

Perhaps the meeting I remember the most is the one where we sat in small groups and discussed our adolescence. As someone who had buried some painful memories (at that time) so far back in her head, it was refreshing and therapeutic to think about them and say it out loud in a safe-space. In our recent mentors’ meet, which was attended by just a handful of people, we came up with a list of things we want to do in the future sessions. Some of the suggestions we came up with included striving towards making Aagaaz a community, going for fun-trips every once in a while, having sessions where one or two mentors’ can speak about themselves and what they do and having meetings with more exercises that deal with ‘us’ and eventually with the relationships we form with anyone, especially our mentees.

All the mentors’ meetings have been incredibly satisfying sessions and have included more than just reviewing our relationships with our respective mentees. There has been giving and taking, there has been mutual understanding and often, a lot of introspection.

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