“‘Apna time aayega’ is the most exciting project for the House of Learning team, especially for me” – By, Ms. Sonal Ahuja, Founder of House of Learning

Founder-of-House-of-Learning-Sonal-AhujaWhy house of learning?

I conceptualised ‘House of Learning’ because I felt there was a need to bring a paradigm shift in the education sector. Moreover, I always dreamt of experiencing an education system where children could be themselves, learn what they wanted to and learned for as long they wanted to. Such a system did not exist when I started visiting schools in Delhi. The curiosity to bring about the change I wanted, pushed me towards coming up with an organisation such as a House of Learning.

Do you think House of Learning has given birth to the Education Alchemist in you?

Without any doubt House of Learning has moulded me into an education alchemist. The journey did not begin with formal schools but rather with  pre-schools. The more I interacted with people, the more I got insights into the changes that are required today in the everyday functioning of schools. My journey was not about bringing a huge change, instead it was all about bringing those beautiful small changes that will ultimately lead to a bigger outcome. The kind of work we’ve undergone and experiences we’ve encountered, have all made me into an educational alchemist.

What challenges have you as an Individual and House of learning as a whole faced during the initial stage?

I believe that challenges never leave you; whether in the initial stages, middle status or even if you’re successful, there are always challenges. As an individual, there were challenges, that I faced. The challenge to enter the schools, to have people agreeing with your thought process, to be able to create that image in the mind of others so that they could recognize that the change was required, to get the time of key people in educational organisations and many more. Additionally, there were organisational challenges too. We initially had to bear group expenses on our own, as House of Learning is a team of people who introspect, reflect and design activities and training as per the need of each and every organisation. The kind of cost that we incurred was not recovered from our clients. That is because, in education, people are ready to spend on infrastructure, for events, for celebrities and other special people coming to their organisations but they are not ready to spend on educators. I say this with a heavy heart, but institutions do not allocate a lot of funds for the educators to reach their full capabilities, which thereby helps children, parents and the community to grow. We had to put our foot down to receive the pay that we asked from schools, as we knew the worth of our work and importance of us being acknowledged and paid. House of Learning is now known as the most promising organisation to deliver programs that bring a mind-shift, which is of vital importance in education today.

Tell us about your Juvenile Rehabilitation project ‘Apana Time Ayega’ and the reason behind it?

‘Apna time aayega’ is the most exciting project for the House of Learning team, especially for me. House of Learning has been working so long as an agent of change. My personal expertise is in neuro-linguistic programming. We have produced results working with children, teachers and parents. The experience that we had in the last few years made us take over this project with Delhi legal services authority, where we worked very closely with 40 juveniles. The changes we brought about were done with the intention to create a positive outcome. The purpose was to help them not to indulge in crime again when they are released from the juvenile home. The aim is to stop crime and help the youth become more resourceful, which in turn helps make the country more resourceful.

Statistically, if we look at the number of juveniles of this country, most of the youth that come from underprivileged societies are the ones that indulge in unresourceful social behaviour like rapes, murders, substance abuse etc. Through this project, we tried to help those children who weren’t brought up to realise the impact of the life they are leading. We also met the parents and advised them on what is right and wrong for them, their families and their children. Delhi legal services authority supported us a lot while we were on this project with them. Wonderful results were produced and validations were carried out post the program when the kids were released from the Juvenile home. We got to know that the children were associated with good people in their ecosystem, they were learning, writings songs, working as assistants, etc. Our purpose in taking over this project was to bring about a change in society. House of Learning associates with whosoever comes our way and we are ready to work with anyone who needs a change because this is how we become a contributor to a greater outcome.

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