My experience with Saath: Shanna Patel

Introduction: Shanna recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a Masters degree in Contemporary India. She interned with Saath for three months. She spent six weeks working with Youth Force and six weeks on a paper for an upcoming programme.

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These last few months with Saath absolutely flew by. They were enjoyable, enriching and educational. The organisation does such meaningful work across Gujarat, which I saw first-hand and its impact stretches across into Rajasthan as well. I really admire the ethos behind Saath and congratulate them on their 25th year!

I was fortunate enough to work for the Youth Force programme for several weeks and this was a wonderful experience. I realised how many young lives Saath changes every day. For a few weeks of my internship, I was involved in documenting the work and impact of Youth Force through a film and this meant travelling to all the centres to capture the essence of the programme. I met dozens of young people who shared inspiring stories and experiences, and who unequivocally attributed their successes to Youth Force and the coordinators of the programme. I am especially thankful to Mr Paresh Sakariya, who made my time with Youth Force so worthwhile.

I also thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the Women’s Development Centre, a very meaningful project in Juhapura that provides a new lease of life to hundreds of vulnerable women. It was the programme of Saath that intrigued me the most and Saath’s interest in marginalised women is admirable. Saath’s programme offers a space and platform to women who would otherwise never have the opportunity to invest in themselves.

My experience at Saath went too quickly! I am especially thankful to Saath’s executive director, Keren Nazareth, who was a mentor and friend to me. She motivates the whole organisation so well and it was a pleasure to learn from her considerable experience. The RDC cell, Kunal, Irbaaz and Jenny – and Vama – were also a wealth of knowledge and are a really friendly bunch! I’m sad to be leaving Saath, but I hope to collaborate with Saath in the future and made some great friends here. Thank you!


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