Correspondent – Shivam Mendiratta
The Education Tree is a youth led organisation working in various parts of the country. It is one of the fastest growing organisation empowering young minds in the entire country, and if you’re a driven and ambitious college student, chances are, your paths have crossed.
It was founded on November 11,2012 and is situated in New Delhi. TET aims to facilitate education in all its manifestations and lays special emphasis on encouraging the country’s youth to go the extra mile and seize the day.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world because learning can’t wait. “Education is not solely about being academically mature” , says Kunal Arora, Co-founder of The Education Tree.
Kunal Arora is an alumnus of the English department, Khalsa College. He also holds a post graduate degree in International Marketing and a Masters degree in Mass Communication. He is a theatre professional with a 7 years of experience & unmatched adeptness.
We bring to you an exclusive interview with this young visionary.
1. What is that something that distinguishes TET from other NGOs?
You’ve asked a very difficult question.
Every organisation works on a particular concept with a definitive trajectory of thought in mind.
They’ve their own strengths and weaknesses.
Insofar there is a dire need to distinguish ourselves, I think our target areas are specifically detailed and we, as a Youth led organisation have been primary focused on adding to the loopholes in perfunctory formal education.
2. How did the idea of TET come in the picture?
Every startup has a cause or something that took place for events to fall in line. We wanted to go for something, achieve something but our parents have a common mindset of us getting into a stable government job.
Similarly, my fellow members belong to a typical Baniya family where business plays an important role.
It’s important to take your passion to a further level. I love theatre and want to take it a whole new level. We came up with the idea of TET since everyone has been struggling with these stereotypes.
It’s basic thinking, when a child gets into the 2nd or 3rd class, he/she is labeled that yes, he’ll become a doctor or something and has to end up living upto that label. At many nuanced levels, we went through that same trauma. I don’t think that hardcore academics are meant for us. So, let’s just start a venture for those who have been and are still struggling like us.
3. What exactly are the fields of work of TET?
We help that particular person to reach their aim in a structured manner. We strongly feel that education is confined to only books and degrees in this country.
So, a group of people together came up with an idea and felt that yes, education is much beyond the boundaries of books and degrees.
What we have been working on these days is what is called as Interpersonal Skills. What should I say on a phone call of 5mins? What question should I make? What answer should I expect? What are the FAQs? Everything is education. Unfortunately, system confines it to objectives, sets, subsets which I strongly feel isn’t required. The focus is on the academic bit and not the learning bit. So, our job is probably to inspire, motivate & encourage people to go and work on their respective goals.
4. What does TET expect out of its volunteers?
We seek for that hunger in every individual, the hunger to actually grow. Talking about TET, around 10k people register every year for being a part of our organisation. We select only 300 of them. This is not done on the basis of how good looking they are or how well educated they are.
Our criteria and main focus is on the thing that do they have that spark, are they passionate enough and have that conviction in them. Then we work on them throughout an year or two or whatever time period they wish to be with us. Everything is run by these volunteers. So, basically we need that clarity of thoughts, conviction, commitment and yes, hunger and passion.
5. Where do you see TET in the next 10 years?
Ans. TET is a youth club. No profound youth club is working in the country as of now. From a basic startup based on networking to women doing kitty parties, their is a cluster on each and every level of our society.
TET, as for the youth, is the most successful youth club in the whole country.
6. How many members are currently working for your organisation?
Currently, 300 of us are working together officially. On an average, 50-100 people write to us on a daily basis. We have an internship program that starts in the month of July to recruit students, volunteers.
7. What were your inhibitions while venturing into the entrepreneurial, start up environment at a time where working at an MNC was everything?
I graduated from college at the age of 21. Imagine a 21 year old guy telling his parents and try to convince them but they just don’t want to buy your side of bargain.
It took time, but the pieces assembled together.
8. What about the events, flash mobs, campaigning and all sort of related events organised by TET?
A Campaign which focuses on generating awareness and can be either offline or online. It is mostly related to a cause.
Talking of Community Development Programmes, we could be going to G.B. Road or any other red light areas & do street plays with prostitutes. We could travel anywhere across the city, wherever we could identify and help a community.
About Workshops and Conferences, we have a few sessions on personality development which basically focus on the growth/ development of an individual. The conferences are held in various parts of the country.
Lastly, Engagement activities include Flash mobs, Freeze mobs, where we could engage with the audience and deliver a particular message to them & do other sort of activities also. We design our own events which are usually theme based events. They take place in various colleges and could be related to dance, theatre etc.