Neetu Sharma Joshi talks about her 16 year long journey with Navjyoti India Foundation

Let’s meet the Executive Director of  of Navjyoti India Foundation , Neetu Sharma Joshi . She has started her career  with this organisation  and many projects successful. Neetu will tell us more about her and and the organisation.

VamaIndia – Tell us something about yourself and your family?

Neetu  Sharma Joshi – I am a very optimistic and patient person full of gratitude with whatever life has blessed me with.. Born and brought up by very strong headed parents who always believed in giving best to their three daughters and fighting against all odds to ensure that all three of us grow up with very strong sense of self belief and self- worth. The values instilled by them for “ being there for each other forever”, “always be ready for the worst , yet be totally optimistic and hope for the best” have helped us to live life to its fullest.

I share a very strong bond with my sisters and we are a source of inspiration for each other..I am equally blessed to marry a person with whom I can be myself completely. He is the one who would always encourage raising my potential and is truly in love with the work I do.

A scholar through out, am a Gold Medalist and a University topper in Masters in Social Work and have bagged many awards at the graduate and post graduate level, including the best student at both.

My passion of self study and spending quality time in library went a long way in developing a very strong foundation of the concepts of working with people. I hold a very strong opinion on gender issues and totally enjoy giving lessons to the students, staff members and in the community on dealing with gender disparity in day today living.

VamaIndia – How is your association with Navjyoti happened?

Neetu  Sharma Joshi – My association with Navjyoti happened when I had just completed my Masters and my professor asked me to visit the organisation since I was looking for opportunities in Research and Training way back in 2001. I grabbed the opportunity and did not even think twice on the kind of exposure and learning that I could see in the organisation of working directly with  the grass root.

I had an instant alignment with the vision of the Research Unit that was established for the first time in the organisation and felt that I would be able to use all my knowledge acquired during field work in Masters and would be able to further enhance my competence.

Being a young girl full of aspirations for career and financial growth, I thought I would be able to get the right exposure to grab a better job opportunity later on.

However, little did I know that the experience would be completely transformational which would completely change the way I look at career and work.

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VamaIndia – How is your journey so far ?

Neetu  Sharma Joshi – Its needless to say that the journey has been totally enriching, satisfying and gratifying. Never even once a feeling of saturation or monotony has come in my mind in these 16 years in Navjyoti. The experience of working with the team at Navjyoti majority of whom were from the same community, constant lessons from our mentor Dr Kiran Bedi had a profound impact on my mindset and the way I approached my role in Navjyoti.

From the approach of working on raising my potential for better career prospects to completely own everything happening in the organisation, Navjyoti became a home away from home – a family away from a family.

One of the most important lessons that I Learnt in Navjyoti from Dr Kiran Bedi was the lesson of constantly looking at “whats new”. So every year, there is a reflex which drives all of us to experiment and add excitement to our roles, our projects and the way we strive to achieve our vision. This enthusiasm and positive energy not only keep us on our toes but also creates a great sense of fulfillment. I have learnt that no external source is responsible for the work saturation and monotony that a lot of employees often complain about. We need to find our own ways and means to keep that fire alive. Unless and until we completely own the organisation, where we work, this does not happen.

Yet another lesson that I learnt and have greatly impacted me personally as well is that of “less is more”. In a grass root level organisation, where opportunities always exceed resources, we need to generate our own resources. There are so many projects in Navjyoti which we had conceptualized due to the need from the community but had no resources to initiate. That did not deter us to abandon the project.. In fact we had gone ahead and executed the projects by generating resources on our own.

It’s been truly a journey full of missionary zeal complemented with professional skills and competence.

VamaIndia – What all projects have your handled at Navjyoti ?

Neetu  Sharma Joshi – I have had the opportunity to handle and work in almost all the projects of Navjyoti.  From Research and Documentation to training and heading the entire operations of the organisation, have worked at all locations of the organisation in this span of 16 years.

However, have spent the majority of the time in heading the education and skill training projects being run in Delhi.

I had the opportunity to head the urban community development project in the most challenging times, when the slums called Yamuna Pushta in which the project was running got demolished and resettled on a barren piece of land at Bawana in 2004. The entire experience of revamping the project completely in a new location was very memorable. Today, it’s so satisfying to see that the same project is creating engineer, teachers, nurses, bankers etc in which we had to literally bring children from home for attending our classes that were run in the gallies (By lanes) – we called them Gali Schools.

Its such a pleasure to see that the same project which once had children hardly completely grade 5, is now reached a stage where we are running a very successful Child Leadership Model in which more than 700 children are volunteering back in the community and further reaching out to 4000 other children through the Bal Gurukul Project.  It feels so proud that the project is headed by a girl student who is the registrar of the Bal Gurukul.

VamaIndia – Which project is close to your heart ?

Neetu  Sharma Joshi – All the projects in Navjyoti are born out of the passion to meet the needs of the community. Thus, every project that is being run in Navjyoti is very dear to me.

However, there are few roles which I completely adore and if given a chance would spend the rest of my life in taking them up. I totally enjoy working directly with beneficiaries, taking training workshops, sessions, and interaction with them especially children, youth and women. I also love grooming my team members and motivating them to take up varied roles to develop their competence.

VamaIndia – What are your future plans ?

Neetu  Sharma Joshi– One of the most important priorities at hand is taking the organisation to the next level of leadership and sustainability – creating a “centre of excellence – a training institute”.

The other priority is on grooming next line of leadership in the organisation which can take the vision beyond all of us.

VamaIndia wishes Neetu all the very best for her future endeavors 🙂

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