The Mentoring/Dosti Project is a network of programs being launched across the country with the intention of providing mentorship to children. The idea is to enable strong support systems for children to help them navigate every day – as well as larger – challenges while getting them ready for a bright future.
It relies on a basic volunteer-led and managed model and requires zero/low-resources and is being implemented by several organisations that work on supporting children in different ways. The Dosti Project – MukkaMaar is one such pilot being run in Mumbai to create an extended empowering space for girls who are a part of our training program!
ABOUT THE PROCESS
At its most basic level, mentoring assures a young person that there is somebody who cares about them. So the child does not feel that he/she is alone in dealing with their challenges.
Think back. Did you know how to cope with studies, career choices, broken friendships, or bullying in school? How easy was it to talk to your parents about the problems you faced? As a mentor, you can act as an experienced friend who is there to help in several situations.
By committing an hour of your time every week, you get to take responsibility for being a friend who guides the mentee to boost their overall development. A mentor is not a teacher or parent, but a supporter who catalyzes the growth of the child.
To put it simply, through your relationship with a child, you will intend to:
- To be a friend, not a teacher
- To give guidance, not answers
- To encourage, not disapprove
- To be a listener, not a therapist or a parent
- To help the child make up their own mind, not tell them what to do
Digging deeper, as a mentor, you will get a chance to:
- Get a window into the life of a child in today’s times, who has a very different life than yours
- Challenge the mentee to move beyond their comfort zone
- Coach them on a specific issue or a skill
- Create a safe reflection space for them to consider their life choices thoughtfully
- Create a safe listening space for them
Through your commitment to spend an hour every week for the next year, your presence will not just help the mentees immensely in the short-term, but also lay the foundation for life-long support and transformation for them!
In MukkaMaar, we work with girls who may be vulnerable and at-risk due to various reasons. With this project, we intend to empower them in a deeper manner. However, since these are minors, we are extremely careful about exposing child sensitive data, or exposing girls to even our own team members, volunteers or mentors, without specific guidelines in line with our child protection policy.
For the same reason, after you fill the application form, there will be a recruitment process which has the interest of the child at the core. We deeply appreciate your interest, and would be happy to onboard you as a mentor, as soon as we find a correct fitment. Incase, we are unable to match you with a mentee, please know in advance that by no means, is it a judgement or opinion on whether you are ‘fit to be a mentor’, but simply a matter of needs of the child and parental consent or any other logistical reason.
Being a mentor, requires you to bring a lot of stability and consistency in the life of the child, open-mindedness, patience, and the ability to be supportive rather than prescriptive. The mentor recruitment process, therefore, tries to understand your personality, your work and family background and looks for attributes that will ensure a long-term, win-win relationship for the child and you.
Once you match the screening preferences, you will undergo a short training (2-4 hrs) to help you understand more about the children, tell you what to expect, and prepare you for the mentoring activity.