Communication Skills for the Underprivileged

May 17, 2023

Annika Khara, an IB Y2 student at Strawberry Fields High School,  initiated ‘The Youth Platform’,  in 2021, with the  aim to inculcate communication skills in underprivileged students at NGOs and schools. She has been conducting her program at different organisations across Gurgaon and Chandigarh. Most recently, she implemented the initiative at the Don Bosco Navjeevan Society in Chandigarh. This is an NGO for children of migrant workers and slum dwellers.

She started by explaining the importance of communication skills in the childrens’ future, whether that be in their senior secondary school journey ahead, in college or in the workplace. She covered the basics of topics such as body language, oration, and listening. Then, she moved on to conducting engaging and interactive activities with the students which enabled them to practically apply the theory taught. To conclude the session, a debate on the pros vs cons of mobile phone usage took place. Each student raised points which demonstrated great critical thinking and creativity.

In future sessions, Annika aims to go into depth about public speaking and debating as well as enriching activities related to the same. These students range from grades 6th to 10th, whom she taught in the medium of Hindi. The diversity of languages stems from her belief that access to learning and excelling at such opportunities shouldn’t be withheld from anyone. Through The Youth Platform, Annika aims to provide students with a platform to be able to confidently as well as articulately express their thoughts and opinions to an audience.

As a keen debater and public speaker, Annika realised that the development of communication skills wasn’t integrated into school curriculum or given the importance that it should be. Although those who have the privilege of going to private schools gain such opportunities, students in NGOs and other such organisations are often left behind despite their potential. As this is a vital skill for the 21st century, she is working towards bridging the gap between those who have access to opportunities to excel at the same and those who do not.

Strawberry Fields High School