What is the first thought that comes to your mind when someone says “School”? *a smile*. For me, it is the zero period of the school and the carefree nature of the children playing around. But is that all? No, apart from all the studies that we did in the school we also had various competitions and that entire week

was cultural week in my school. We had dancing and singing competitions, sports, debates, paintings and a week full of fun.

This is a story of a girl called Shireen who aspired to become a Math teacher because her father was one, but numbers literally never really interested her. With tears in her eyes she told me “a friend changed my life, that one friend helped me find what really I’m is good at.”  Shireen used to enjoy such cultural events sitting in the crowd. Not that she wasn’t creative, just that she was an introvert and not ready to let go of her stage fear. She was good at painting, her teachers said. Then what brought about the change?

The Shireen I know today is a very outspoken person, who even participates in Ted talks to motivate and reach out to other people who might as well be undergoing the same issues. She continued to speak  “One day there was a mural competition and her friend Muskaan needed a partner.. Somehow, she managed to talk Shireen into participating. They created a very beautiful mural of a scenery utilizing newspapers and other waste materials and that was the best of the lot. Not only did they bag the first prize that year, but also Shireen found out what she loves to do in that short span of 2 hours!

And well some of us could easily give up on our dreams to be creative because we want to make money and need a stable job, Shireen went on to become a professional mural artist. She is now the art teacher at the same school and an active blogger. More importantly, she loves her job. I met her when I was out to get Ganesha home for Ganesh Chathurthi and was delighted to meet her. That day I learnt that ,mentors come in all shapes and sizes- be it friends, parents or school teachers, who can impact our lives and give us a platform to shine.

Swarchaa Kataria, CRY Volunteer, Bangalore

You can help turn such abilities into possibilities for 79,744 children in CRY supported project areas by helping them stay in school. Donate now at 

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