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A Playful Talk with Neelam

"Play for Peace is an outstanding learning opportunity . . . they made us leaders rather than followers. They are the real inspiration ultimately."

Enjoy this translated interview with Neelam, our youth facilitator from India!

Q. Tell the world something about yourself.

A. I am Neelam Jajoria, a second-year graduate student who is also an active member of Youth tech Hub an initiative of Delhi based NGO C.S.E.I (Center for social equity & inclusion). I love teaching kids which is something that my sister and I have been doing at home as well by home tutoring kids. I am currently on a three-month youth exchange program conducted by the Global Peace foundation.

Q. Could you share your educational background with us?

A. Well, I am 24 years old, and I am a second-year student, so, I am aware that I am running behind, but I still am proud of it because I was a weak student. At school, I struggled with English and Math, felt like dropping out in the seventh grade and had no hope of even finishing tenth grade. I studied in National Institute of Open Schooling, and I was the most laughed-at student. Education and I were not supposed to be in a relationship! None of my family members have finished even tenth grade until my elder sister became a graduate and inspired me to do the same.

Q. Talking about your family, how much support have they been to you?

A. All my family members have wholeheartedly supported all the daughters of the family. I have been raised at my aunt’s home. Initially, they doubted my activities, but now the things have fallen into place. I have earned everyone’s trust. Q. How did you get into Play for Peace? A. I was pretty interested in social work and had seen people working but never knew if it was the kind of work I am meant for. Then, one day, my mother enrolled me in a three-month English speaking course conducted by the Times of India, which opened my doors to the social work. I joined Youth Tech Hub, which organized a Play for Peace workshop, and I got the chance to be a part of it. From that day, until this day, Play for Peace is an integral part of my life.

Q. How has Play for Peace helped you overcome obstacles in your personal life?

A. I always loved speaking but also always struggled with when, where and how to speak? I doubted my abilities and feared to talk to the people superior to me. Play for Peace taught me the art of speaking in public, and now I feel much more confident and can express myself with all the ease in the world. Commanding respect was my major obstacle which Play for Peace helped me overcome by letting me earn self-esteem.

Q. What/who inspired you in Play for Peace?

A. Play for Peace is an outstanding learning opportunity. None of the participants ever get scared of anything there and nor do the organizers ever vex people. I got to learn so much from everyone and above all I started believing in myself. Ajat and Rahul bring out the best in the kids. They made us leader rather than followers. They are the real inspiration ultimately.

Q. How has Play for Peace changed your life?

A. I feel extremely confident about myself now, and I am aware of my dreams, desires and wants. I know the difference between right/wrong. Kids want to get tutored by me, and they know my family and me a lot. I have earned recognition, respect, fame and above all the attachment with my surroundings and also with the people who never trusted me. Play for Peace is the best thing happened to me, and I would always be part of it.