Mihir Pathak

Week 15/2024

· Mihir Pathak


This week was a rollercoaster ride. Nidhi came back from pune. She didn’t find any appropriate jobs or house.

Alternative schools she liked / shortlisted are looking for part time faculties or paying low salary or they are only looking for faculty who can teach academic subjects. She didn’t want to get into the NGO sector again doing managerial roles. If I only work in an alternative school called ‘Anubhti’, it will be difficult to survive in the city.  

And alternative schools are only in the cities.

On the other side I got a call from my mother that my father’s health is not good and it would be great if I will be there with family.

What to do ? If someone passionately wants to work with children on a deeper level, alternative schools are the only platform I can see right now and they are not giving much salary. Waldorf schools, krishnamurti schools, democratic schools.. Another option is going to so-called progressive schools or international schools.

Most of the people working in alternative schools already worked in corporate for many years then they started school or started working in the schools. For them it is not their primary income source. For an educator full time doing this work with children for 10 years, there is no financial support system for them. There is no support system of like minded people whcih which most important thing for your growth and mental health.

Either they need to take side projects like consultancy or join the NGO / Development sector as manager roles. Even in NGOs ground workers who actually go and implement the program don’t get much salary.

Another way to tackle this thing is, if you have a partner who can support you. I saw in alternative schools one partner works in corporate and the other works in school.

What about starting your own NGO or company ? The NGO world is highly dependent on CSR money or grants.

There are too many competitors and there are big players capturing the market. The game is who can do fund raising well. Who can show their work better. Who can scale things. Still there is hope because there are many companies, there is always the possibility to get small small projects every year. But this is a struggle every year.. if you see the larger picture, a 50 years old NGO also struggles to get funding. Instead of working with children, most of your energy goes to find funding

Starting an educational company is the worst idea ever, a super cluttered market, very difficult to find product market fit. I have never come across company with really good product making money without taking money from CSR

Ok let’s come back to the point. So after a long discussion with Nidhi we have decided that we will not go to Pune.  We asked friends at  Eklavya Foundation if there is any work opportunity. But they are struggling with funding and extension problems so it will take 3 -4 months to materialize anything.

Second option is : We will go to Vadodara so we can be with family. Now what about work ?

I said no anubhuti people. They are kind and sensitive enough so they understood my situation and supported me.

There is no established alternative school in Vadodara. There are one or two but they are very school and in their early stage. so the same problem. They will get parent volunteers so they will not need full time faculties.

We thought let’s start ‘Nature Education’ work with children. Exprinatial - Project Based learning : That’s what we know. We thought let’s start working. For funding we will reach out to friends and family.

We reached out to Akansha, Ravi bhai and Rameshwari ben for funding and many other friends to include them in our initiative as ’learning partner’.

I also applied for a full time job at Pratham as Production Manager of Digital Content. It will be a remote job from Vadodara and once in a month I need to go to Pune. The idea behind it is, if I get it Nidhi will do full time work of Nature Education and we can have one income source in our bag if we don’t get funding in future.

Right now we are waiting for replies from people whom we asked for individual grants. Also waiting from pratham people to reply about the Job.

The good part is when I reached out to friends at Vadodara saying I am moving back to vadodara. They were super happy and welcoming. I am really looking forward to the whole thing. It is risky, we don’t have any backup, no savings, we need to support our families, at least I don’t have any academic qualification and all to go back.. we are at in the ocean.. let’s see what will unfold

One more good update is - Vadodra City Walks

we have launched something called ‘Vadodara City Walks’ with children from Rameshwari ben’s NGO. 20 teenage children are exploring water - river in their own city. We had our first orientation on 12th April. We will have our first session with them on 20th April 2024. I am very very excited for this. I had a talk with Siddharth (Veditum) for the same. He is very happy to help and guide me on this journey. I am super happy and greatful. Thank you so much to Jubin for connecting us.

logs :

8th April :

9th April :

10th April :

11th April :

12th April :

13th April :

14th April :

#weekly-notes #personal

Reply to this post by email ↪