Gopalpur Girls High School is the only all-girls school around Gopalpur area with students from twelve villages in the area. Most of these girls are first or second generation learners and several of them belong to tribal groups that are traditionally known to practice early marriage. There are cases of girls dropping out after class X as higher education or career options are rarely considered. Their exposure to current career options and opportunities available beyond basic education is very limited.
Under Essar’s ‘Million Hours to Society’ initiative, Essar Foundation organized an interface between Essarites and students of class Xfor a first-ever career counseling session. Ms Satabdi Banerjee, employee volunteering champion, who is working as a geologist with Essar Oil, Raniganj CBM Project for the last three years, enthusiastically volunteered to organize a career counseling session at Gopalpur Girls High School. To make the session meaningful, Ms Banerjee divided the students into five groups; each group represented a career choice like a doctor, engineer, banker, creative designer and teacher. The students discussed in small groups and then shared their views with the larger group on what they need to do in order to take up that particular career choice and what all opportunities exist under that career umbrella. As they discussed amongst themselves, the girls discovered nuances of each career option. Mr Deepak David and Mr Navdeep Singh of Essar Foundation shared their respective career journeys and encouraged queries from the girls.
The Essarites managed to establish good rapport with the students in a very short time. The children expressed happiness in sharing their views and getting the opportunity to discuss desirable career options. The teachers thought it was a very useful exercise for the girls. After this interactive session, Ms Banerjee shared her journey from being a small town girl to achieving her dream of becoming a geologist and experience of working with Essar. It was followed by a question and answer session with children. Essar volunteers were left with a feeling of elation at the enthusiasm they infused among the girls by the end of the session.