Teaching Can Make A Difference

Kewal Shah
4 min readJul 5, 2020

This article is about my experience working at Make A Difference (MAD), a non-profit working to ensure better outcomes for underprivileged children across India. If you find it interesting, I encourage you to contribute to their initiative in any way possible.

MAD is one of the few non-profits Michelle Obama visited on her trip to India in 2010.

How it all began 🏁

In the 2nd year of undergrad studies, over a casual conversation in our college canteen, one of my classmates mentioned MAD and how he had loved working there for the past year. I had a mild interest in teaching, but I knew I loved interacting with children, so I asked him if I could be a part of it. He told me they had started recruiting volunteers for the next academic year, and it would be a fantastic experience for me if I’m selected. (it was!)

A couple of days after applying, I received a mail stating that I was selected for the recruitment workshop. After the most interactive interview I had ever been part of, they told us that the list of shortlisted candidates would be mailed soon. Almost another week later, I received a mail congratulating me on my selection and inviting me to their shelter sensitization workshop. This workshop was mainly about the Dos and Don’ts while working at MAD and receiving a beautiful welcome letter from seniors. :)

a letter I’ll forever cherish!

My time at MAD 👨‍🏫

In my 2 years at MAD in Mumbai, I was an Academic Support Volunteer (ASV), who is responsible to teach an academic subject to the youth at one of the many shelter homes associated with MAD. I chose to teach Information Technology (IT) as I was concurrently pursuing my undergrad in Computer Engineering.

I could never forget the moment I heard “Thank You Bhaiyya (elder brother),” after completing my first lecture. It was immensely gratifying.

In my first year, I was lucky enough to get a youth enthusiastic about learning IT. He used to make notes sincerely and loved coding with me. My proudest moment came around that year’s end when I was told that among all subjects in the 12th standard examinations, he secured the highest marks in IT (around 85/100). Coincidentally, his roommate, who was now in the 12th standard, became my student for the second year at MAD. This guy was less passionate about the subject itself but had a really positive attitude toward learning and life in general! Nevertheless, I had a great time teaching him too.

I (center) with my co-volunteers in a highly blurry photo at one of the shelter homes.

And that’s a wrap 🎬

Enter COVID-19: my university abruptly announces that classes are suspended indefinitely, and I leave for my hometown without having a chance to say goodbye. MAD organized a few Zoom meetings later, but I hope I get a chance to interact with the students the next time I visit Mumbai. I just want to conclude by saying that if you get an opportunity to be a volunteer at MAD, don’t hesitate to seize it! Apart from teaching, there are endless events you’ll enjoy being a part of (City Circles, Fundraisers, Dream Camps, etc.). I truly appreciate the community they build around these children, which transforms their careers and lives.

P.S.: After this article was published, I worked for 1 more year at MAD, teaching youth remotely from my hometown before moving to the U.S. to pursue my master’s

3 certificates I’m very proud of!