An update from former student Aswathy Manukumar

Since leaving Pestalozzi in 2016, former student Aswathy Manukumar has been busy. At the moment she is studying for a BSc in Medical Microbiology in Dehradun but she is also volunteering, working and finding the time to write. It’s all in a day’s work for Aswathy!

Read more about what Aswathy has been getting up to below:

I’ve my first year final exams starting in few weeks and I’m sadly so busy with that. But, on weekdays I work straight from 1-6pm and then from 7:30-8:30pm and then I’ve my coaching to do and preparation for my final exams too. Weekdays are so busy but I like it. It’s like I just realised there’s so much I can do!

Sometimes, I do feel overwhelmed, tired and all that but I take a break and that bad feeling goes away. Oh, and I also keep remembering how much Pestalozzi has changed me. Being financially independent by the age of 20 was never on my checklist, but I am and it’s crazy how much I can get done in one day! I also travel alone, sometimes and it’s all thanks to everything Pestalozzi taught me. I have finally started using my Head, Heart, and Hands to its full potential.

I’ve also been volunteering with a few NGOs which has been keeping me busy. One NGO I’m working with is called the Aasraa Trust. They provide education for the slum and street children of Uttarakhand and run several projects. I work as a part of their Wings Program in which we provide tuition for those children after school.
So, there are certain schools that they are sent to and once they are done there for the day, we go and give them the extra help that they need. At our school we have 4 year-olds to 14 year-olds and I teach them all their subjects. I had actually joined them originally as a volunteer but they later asked me to continue as a teacher. To be honest, having been a scholarship student myself for the past 8 years, I understand how much effort the trust is putting into brightening the lives of these children and it feels like home when I’m with them. Everyone knows how much I love kids and there at Sneha (the school where I work), they love me as much as I love them!
Aswathy with former student Tenzin Wangmo and current student Tenzin Jampa
The other organisation I’m volunteering at is Project FUEL which stands for Forwarding the Understandings of Every Life Lesson. They do a lot of interesting stuff like arranging workshops for artists and poets and giving motivational talks. It’s so much fun to work with them. I’ve only just started but I’ve already learned so much.
I’m currently helping them document a few of the life lessons they had collected and also I’m writing blog posts for them. They’ll soon be publishing life lessons of 20 people in their 20s. This was initially my idea, inspired by my Pestalozzi peers, so I’m helping them collect these stories too. While my job with Aasraa Trust is me giving back to the community, this one is a constant reminder that irrespective of age, gender or any other factor, there are great things every one of us could do. I enjoy both organisations equally and I’m constantly inspired by them.
Aswathy Manukumar

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