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Ever since she started her education, Jyotsna Shrivastava always wanted help students with special needs. Growing up, she pursued her B. Ed. in Special Education and went further to get her degree in M. Phil (Learning Disability). And since then, there has been no looking back for Jyotsna.
She started the organization ‘Teach Me the Way I learn’ in Gurgaon 2 years back to help children with disability, enjoy the learning process and grow. “I have always felt that the growth of a child is stunted due to the absence of a good guide,” she says. Children with special needs grow in their own way and adapt to things in very comfortable pace. Jyotsna makes sure that she gives enough time to each of her students by personally paying attention to all of them.
The Centre is run by professionally qualified staff in the field of Special Education, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Psychometric Testing and Child Development. They cater to children who suffer from Learning Disability viz (Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia, Autism, Down syndrome, and those who are Cognitively Challenged. They also provide ‘Early Intervention Program’ for children in the age group of 2-4 years.
Jyotsna has been using Multiple Intelligence methods to develop learning capabilities in children. She ensures holistic development of children by breaking free from the stereotyped way of teaching. While setting up the educational center, she faced a lot of difficulties, whether it was finding the right place, to paying rent and salary to the staff, to working more than 18 hours to create the right study material for each child.
Family plays a crucial role in every body’s achievements. It becomes difficult to accomplish your dreams without the support of our loved ones. Jyotsna’s family, especially her children have been very supportive in her decisions. “I come from a family of Scientists/academicians, so to make the decision of doing something different has not been difficult for me. But as every other entrepreneur, things were not easy while starting up. I have been dependent on my family not just for my financial needs, but also for my organizations. There have been times when my husband and son would bail me out by putting money in my account to pay the rent and salary to the staff,” she says.
“I start my day at 5:30am and it sometimes stretches beyond 12:30 am. There are so many things to do, I sometimes feel that we should have more than 24 hours in a day,” she says. “Even when I am very tired at the end of the day, the eagerness of my students to learn keeps me going,” she adds. The center is open to the students all days of the week so that they have the freedom to learn anytime they want to.
While Jyotsna was pursuing B. Ed., her son was a year and a half old. And while she continued to pursue her M. Phil in Learning Disability, both her children were studying in senior and junior classes. In fact during her M. Phil, she was the only married student with two kids.
My husband motivated me to pursue further studies. In his family, girls did not study after graduation during the eighty’s. And here I was already doing my PG when I got married
She believes that women who grow in a restriction free environment, blossom.
She claims that she has not been able to give enough time to herself. “My work and family took up my entire time. I have no regrets for this. But now, at a stage when I realize my children leading their own lives and husband is usually travelling, I realize I have no social circle for my leisure times,” says the founder.
She claims that marketing is one of her biggest pain areas. “I’m not one who can sell. This can go absolutely against someone who has their own business,” she says. Apart from marketing, Jyotsna has also faced problems in acquiring clients. “No one likes to hear that their child is one who cannot compete with the mainstream students. I often tell such parents that their children have their own strengths and weakness,” she adds. The biggest hurdle is acknowledgment; it’s all a smooth road from there.
This journey has taught her never give up hope and keep going despite all odds.
She recommends the future entrepreneurs to dream big and be ambitious enough to accomplish them. “Remember, life will always have its ups and downs. It’s not a bed of roses. There are lots of challenges when you may feel let down, completely broke or drained out. You may also face loses. But with your determination you will come out with flying colors. And that sense of accomplishment is pure bliss,” she comments.