Though my work in DRF did not have a hint of glamour as Junoon’s did, but it has definitely been more structured for me. And I am absolutely glad of it!
Again, when I came in DRF, I was told about two projects. One was writing case studies and the other was the coffee table book. The second one never happened and before I tell you about the first I will give you a short brief about DRF’s work.
Dr Reddys Foundation has been working in the development sector for the past two decades. Growing slowly and steadily, it has branched out to many areas like Youth skilling, Rural Development and Children etc. The head office is located in Hyderabad. It connects to the field offices located in different states of India to disseminate work and collect results. These field offices are again supported by sponsors such as DR Reddys Labs, Accenture, JPM etc.
My work essentially is to write case studies of the Students (Youth) who have taken the 45 day skilling course from the DRF centers. These are then submitted in the partner reports to the sponsors. Occasionally I also write about farmers, who have received farming interventions through the Rural Livelihoods team.
On the face of it, these case studies are nothing but a 300-400 word write-up about the youth who have taken this course. But trust me there is more to this! For a single story to be written in a manner that an outsider would want to read it, I have to first beg the field officers i.e. the ‘Center Coordinators’ as they are called, to send the Raw Data format. These data formats are a task to be deciphered as they write ‘she’ for Ram and ‘he’ for Savitha! There will always be something or the other missing in the format and I will have to call them more than once to get all the information. Then again talking to alumni of the DRF LABS training is another task. On a good day, I can call one to know her/his experience and they would be available to answer. But on other days, I could keep calling them for days without any benefit.
Even though I might sound to be complaining, but I am totally aware of what goes on at the other side of the wall. The coordinators are neither equipped with skills, resources nor given clear instructions. The alumni are busy working hard through the day in CCDs and Dominos. It is only obvious for them to behave the way they do.
This working process has been humbling and empowering at the same time. The two most important learning aspects for me have been: to be able to ‘connect’ to people and to be able to ‘write’. I get to speak to so many people, especially the alumni, who open out to a stranger and talk about their problems and fears without inhibitions. My writing process has been duly guided and supported by my seniors. I am also quite amazed by my writing abilities under stress! 😀
Besides the case studies, I now have the opportunity to work on the quarterly magazine of DRF ‘New Horizons’ and the monthly internal magazine called ‘The Communique from the CEO’s desk.’ This gave me a chance to take interviews of our very own Saurabh, Rahul and Anupama! To have my name together with India Fellow on print is a great privilege.The experience of working in DRF has been a great one with a lot of learning and growth.
Here and now, I am happy about all the work I could do. All the things that I could learn. All the opportunities I was given. One month more to go!the roller coaster ride is not over, not yet…