I was born in a village called Pedamannapuram in Vizianagaram district – one of the backward districts in Andhra Pradesh. For a person who was confined to just Vizianagaram, ASER broke my barriers. I came to Hyderabad in 2007 as a Master Trainer for ASER. That was the first time I saw a city in my entire life. From then on, I knew no bounds. I’ve travelled to Delhi, UP, Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Before 2012, I was a coordinator for Pratham. I didn’t have an opportunity to lead a big team. When I joined ASER as an ASER Associate for the then Andhra Pradesh (before bifurcation), I was in charge of a team of 50 people. I had never handled a project before but now I was handling an entire state and was involved in planning, budgeting and leading a team. I used to be afraid of speaking in front of a crowd. Now I go to different districts to train Master Trainers and Surveyors. ASER has taught me all this – planning, execution, public speaking and leadership.
My first ASER field visit was in a village near Pilani, Rajasthan. I neither knew Hindi nor English. I somehow managed with my expressions and sign language. Even today, I haven’t picked up Hindi or English that much. But I’ve come a long way. This time when we conducted the pilot survey in a village near Lucknow which for me is a completely new place where I can’t speak the language I was able to convey the importance of ASER and education to the people of that village. I can say that I started from “Beginner” level and have reached “Para” level.
I would like to thank ASER for making me come out of my cocoon and for giving me experiences which I’ll cherish for a lifetime.
ASER Associate, AP and Telangana