Rediscovering my potential through ‘The SAATH Experience…’

Intro:                                                                                                                                                          Devina Sarwatay is currently studying Masters in Development Communication from Gujarat University. She spent the summer of 2013 with SAATH, working for four different programmes – Griha Pravesh, Nirman, The Saath Co-operative and Urmila – in her roughly month-long internship. This period, which was full of challenges and hence learning, will be cherished by her for many years to come.

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Devina Sarwatay [on right ;-)] thinks she makes a good photograph only with her canine brother, Buddy Sarwatay!

I told my mother, who I am really close with, that I will be starting my NGO internship with SAATH on the 13th of May, 2013. She declared immediately that the internship was going to be a grand success, as I was starting on the pious occasion of Akshay Tritya.

Looking back at the entire experience, today, I sure can say that she is some gifted fortune-teller! For me, the internship has indeed been a grand success for several reasons which you will find, if you read on…

Firstly, SAATH is one of the few NGOs, which spends time after its interns to introduce them to the organisation, its work culture and the programmes it works with. They have a dedicated Research, Documentation and Communication Cell which has an impressive orientation programme. It solves any doubts you might have as well as freely answers queries that pop up in your mind. They also take you to visit a few of the programme centres, so that you get a hang of the kind of field work that is put into their programmes.

Secondly, they pretty much give you a free hand to pick up programmes that you would like to work with, along with the intern requirements that they have of you. This means that you can not only have the satisfaction of completing tasks allotted to you which will help them cover ground with their work, but also get the opportunity to work with an issue you really feel for.

Thirdly, they show massive support and patience when you have doubts about something and want to ask questions. In case you have an emergency, in my case it was my mother meeting with a serious accident, they ask you to leave everything else and focus on the right things that allows you to put your 100% where it’s needed, when it’s needed. SAATH sure gave me ‘saath’ during my tough times!

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Devina Sarwatay [standing in white, on right ;-)] interacting with Umeed students

I worked on diverse, particularly interesting issues all through my internship. My first project was for Nirman. I had to figure out the intricacies of the Modular Employable Skills Programme and translate the necessary details that could be used for Nirman. The second project that I worked on was the photo-documentation of their Urmila Home Manager’s programme.

The third, and probably the longest project for me, was for Griha Pravesh. I had to rewrite their manual, since the programme has undergone an evolution. The final project, which I personally enjoyed quite a lot, was making the very first annual report of The Saath Co-operative – a microfinance institution which is a sister organisation of SAATH. I met a host of interesting people at SAATH as well as through it and learnt a lot from them. There were a few individuals who really touched my heart with their inspiring life stories which will remain with me for a long time.

A facet, of why the internship was so successful for me, is the fact that I managed to make the most of the chances that SAATH gave me, despite being at strife at the personal front with my mother’s health. I couldn’t have done this without the help and support of everyone at SAATH. Nonetheless, I would like to show my gratitude, specifically, to three extraordinary individuals – Jenny Parekh, Shikha Gupta and Keren Nazareth – who have inspired me to learn and do some great work during my internship and in future.

I wish all the current and future interns all the good luck and hope they have an exciting SAATH experience!

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