Menaka had a well-paying job with a private IT firm but resigned to fulfill her dreams of travelling the world and teaching children English. However, the news reassured her of the decision to quit her mainstream career and follow her passion.
Until two years ago, she was a “control freak” and couldn’t stand things not going her way. “I was working at Oracle in Bengaluru and was always meticulous, planned and had my life sorted out in my head. However, after I got divorced, that bubble shattered. It hit me that things don’t go the way we want, so I decided to let life take me wherever it has to,” said Menaka. She had always longed to teach children and travel, both of which came true in 2017. “A few kids began visiting my home for extra classes after school hours. Eventually, I began teaching at a special school for tribal children,” she recalled.
Currently, six students go to her home for lessons, while she has 30 wards under her in the school. Apart from grammar and spoken English, she teaches them soft skills. Menaka has also been training to provide psycho-social support to children who lose their families during natural calamities. She teamed up with an NGO during the Kerala floods in 2018 helped those affected recuperate. “I build a rapport with the kids and teach them how to trust again, whom to feel safe around, good touch-bad touch and more,” she explained. Later this year, she aims to travel to Vanuatu, a tiny island in the Pacific, to help students recover from the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam.
“Again, I am joining with an international NGO that has already been carrying out relief work in the region. I would be required to teach students English every day during the week and take the weekend off,” she shared. An ongoing fundraising campaign has been set up to help her raise money for the tickets.