She Believed, She Could, So She Did - Dipali Akolkar

"Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think" was quoted by Albert Einstein. If there is one person, I know who believes in this and has always applied this in her life, it must be Dipali Akolkar. All through her childhood she had been a keen observer. As a kid she explored all things around her be it the working of a clock, grinders or an Iron. She has always been this curious kid, who even opened things like to understand principles of physics and other basic scientific principles. She visited manufacturing industries in her childhood and now takes her students to give them firsthand experience.

Upon getting married, she moved to London. She was quick to realize the education system that Britishers gave us was not what they had in their country today. Even during her stay in USA, she felt we are population that has a logical mindset and felt there was a need to bring change in the way education was being carried out in India. This was the one thought, that changed further course of her professional life. And she moved from being a Programmer to an Educator They say, charity begins at home. She too started with her own child. To begin with and to enhance her skills, she did some child development courses in India and in USA. 

Someone with such passion, needs to be someone we all should know more about. Her journey of passion into profession sure will be exceptional. Let now hear more from her 

1. What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture? ...

 I organize and conduct unique activities and workshops for kids aged 8-16 yrs. These activities are mainly focused on enhancing their multiple intelligence and for building their reasoning skills. All workshops are hands on experiences targeted towards developing problem solving skills and quicker response time.

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2. How did you get your idea or concept? ...

When we planned to shift back to India and adapting or changing the education system was not an option. This idea came to my mind to start a center where various activities shall be offered to convert the fact and information into understanding and knowledge. The activities would focus on enhancement of emotional as well as intellectual acumen. I focused more on hands on, project based, unique and affordable ways of learning.

3. What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like? ...

After I finish my morning routine work of kitchen I get on to my communications and first half goes into it. I connect with experts, Parents and teachers. I mostly prioritize my time for planning of workshops and activities. From afternoon lunch till early evening around 2-3 hrs. I devote in my knowledge upgrading. I myself like to learn. I believe learning can be done from anywhere through any medium at any age. Evening goes in either my workshops or in attending workshops that I must. I am also an active committee member of Marathi science council. I take also actively participate in those activities. 

4. What are some of the mistakes you wish you could have avoided? ... 

I did not try to reach out to masses very fast. When I started the activity center, it was the first one. But soon people started copying. Earning from this was never my 1st priority, so it didn't bother me much. But soon realized, the concept of activities was getting spoiled and parents were getting misguided. When they come to me, they realize and tell me that my activities are unique, genuine and something new every time. 

5. Are you happy and what would you change? ...

I am happy that government has announced the new education policy. Now more focus will be on practical work and knowledge. I hope it is implemented well for children to benefit from same.

6. A quote you stand by ...

 "Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness."

I always remember the story of Birbal. He was asked how a line drawn by someone could be made small without touching it. Birbal went and drew a longer line besides the line. So automatically made the existing line small.

It is so good to see so much love and happiness in Dipali for her work. The dedication and time management skills exhibited by her are so encouraging. We all have 24 hours in our day, how we use is what sets up apart. Imparting softer skills is much more important. We need to bring up a generation that comprises of smart leaders, who know what it takes to excel! 


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