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Overcoming Shyness With Project Bolega Bachpan

2017 batch IAS officer Akash Chhikara is breaking students’ stage fear with project ‘Bolega Bachpan’ The project aims to instil the art of public speaking and bolster their self-confidence Every morning, after the assembly, students are provided with a platform to speak for two minutes on various topics
Indian Masterminds Stories

One of the fastest growing districts in India, Janjgir Champa, is also a food bowl of Chhattisgarh, being a major producer of food grains. Now, the same district is showing an impressive success rate in reshaping the future of young minds, by breaking the shackles of stage fear and nurturing confident speakers through an innovative initiative.

The ‘Bolega Bachpan’ initiative, a brainchild of District Collector IAS Akash Chhikara (2017-batch) is not merely a campaign but a transformative journey for the children of government schools, instilling in them the art of public speaking and bolstering their self-confidence.

Speaking with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Chhikara shared details about the innovative project.

OVERCOMING PERSONAL HURDLES

The genesis of Bolega Bachpan stems from personal struggles. Mr. Chhikara, the visionary behind the initiative, recalls his own battle with stage fright during childhood. Reflecting on his journey, he realized the importance of addressing this issue early on.

“While I was posted in the tribal block of Gariyaband district, I once noticed a 5th standard student, who was not even able to tell his name clearly, due to hesitation and lack of confidence,” Mr. Chhikara told Indian Masterminds. This ignited in him the desire for a structured intervention to empower these children.

NURTURING SKILLS THROUGH PRACTICE

The cornerstone of Bolega Bachpan lies in its methodical approach towards skill development. The officer informed that every morning, after the assembly, students are provided with a platform to speak for two minutes on various topics.

Under the guidance of dedicated teachers, they undergo rigorous training, focusing on elements such as eye contact, confidence-building, and body language. From personal introductions to poetry recitals, students gradually evolve into proficient speakers, shedding their inhibitions along the way.

CULTIVATING INTELLECTUAL GROWTH

Beyond conquering stage fright, Bolega Bachpan fosters intellectual maturity among participants. Through debates and public speaking exercises, students hone critical thinking, research, and organizational skills. “The ripple effect is evident as students exhibit a newfound enthusiasm for academic pursuits, bolstered by their enhanced communication abilities,” the officer added.

NAVIGATING CHALLENGES

However, implementing such an initiative is not without its challenges. Overcoming cultural barriers and ingrained hesitations posed initial hurdles. “The people from the PVTG community and other tribes are as such hesitant and lesser interactive in nature. They usually abstain from assimilating with the mainstream,” Mr. Chhikara shared. Yet, with perseverance and collaboration, the program gained momentum. Counselling sessions and support from school administrations proved instrumental in navigating these obstacles.

MEASURING SUCCESS AND IMPACT

The success of the project is tangible, evidenced by the heightened participation in inter-school competitions. Students, who once were reticent, now exude confidence on stage, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries. Particularly noteworthy is the emergence of talent from marginalized communities, symbolizing inclusivity and empowerment.

A BRIGHTER TOMORROW

As the initiative unfolds, it leaves an indelible mark on the fabric of society.

“Once the children get used to speaking on stage after a three-month-long practice at their school level, the district administration in collaboration with other schools organise various competitions at inter-school, cluster level, block level, and the district level,” Mr. Chhikara informed.

With each eloquent speech and poised presentation, these students inch closer to realizing their full potential, propelling them towards a future brimming with possibilities.


Indian Masterminds Stories

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