A Challenge to Serve as a Social Worker Is a Journey in Itself - Ritika Negi

1. Tell us more about yourself and your life.

I am Ritika Negi, I am twenty-three years old. I always introduce myself as an ordinary human being trying to do extraordinary things. I am on a constant endeavour to do good and make people around me feel good. My life is simple yet magical, I am fascinated by life little mysteries. People, ideas, creations, art etc. inspire me. I have done Bsc (Mathematics)Hons.

Currently, I am pursuing Masters in English. I have changed my stream after my graduation and I was answerable to many for the change of stream but in reality, I was answerable to my own self because they have given me the title ‘Studious, Topper,…’ so it was quite a task to break the bond.

I am weird for many reasons because I don’t cheat in examinations (not at all), I am honest, quite systematic, follow rules etc.  I am passionate about acting and dancing. I have been doing theatre since last five years. Recently I have written, directed and acted in a short film INSIA based on social awareness available in my YouTube channel UNALOME.

2. What led you into social activism?

Since childhood, I use to do things related to social work which was observed by my parents. It was something innate and so natural that I didn’t even use to realize that it’s a random act of kindness. One day my papa (father) told me that once you’ll turn eighteen then you can think of doing these things in a freeway.

Since then I was really excited about it, when I turned eighteen, my college life started. One day when I was on my way to college I noticed a government school and the next day I went there with an application. I entered the principal office and told her that I want to teach kids free tuition in the evening.

But ma’am told me their parents will not send them as they struggle to come to school but after a long conversation, I convinced her and I started teaching those intuitive kids. But after some time I realized the teachers of the school used to envy me so on Principal ma’am’s advice I decided to leave with a heavy heart.

My elder sister told me about a national NGO MAD (make a difference by being a difference). This NGO works for underprivileged children in a shelter home, taking care of their education and development.  I gave six interviews and got selected as a MAD volunteer and was blessed to teach kids of class 9th and 10th for two years.

3. What is that one cause you care deeply about and why?

Mental peace, child psychology and their growth are the causes which affect me deeply. The suffering of children in terms of career, education and understanding, The neglected attitude of parents, society etc. the lack of counselling and right guidance, the sense of emotional support, the empathic concern.

I am concerned about all these points and I want to bring change. Mental peace is something which I have faced very closely so I understand its importance and want to continue the spiritual sessions which I randomly started in college for a lifetime. The only intention of these sessions is to know thyself, to let go, to speak your heart out, to rejuvenate and to accept oneself.

4. If one wants to contribute and make a difference in social causes, how can one do it?

Instead of picking out the mistakes and then criticizing, one should think about various methods to resolve it, if it affects them so deeply. If things are affecting them then they must introspect and seek the solution. As Rumi said “What you seek, is seeking you” so the solution follows you.

5. Who is your role model and why?

My role model is not one person, I am inspired and fascinated by many phenomenal personalities like Mother Teresa, Gandhiji, Swami Vivekanand, Martin Luther King etc.

6. What are some of the challenges and roadblocks you have faced along your journey?

Whatever challenges I have faced I am grateful for it. A challenge to serve as a social worker is a journey in itself. There were lots of criticism from the relatives, teachers etc. they use to say concentrate in studies and your career because it’s going to affect your marks and it’s a time waste for a studious student like you.

Same goes with my passion ‘acting’ since the last five years I am facing a lot of scoldings from my parents because they can never think their daughter pursuing this as a career. Though they always supported and appreciated my performances and efforts this is unacceptable for them to see their daughter choosing this as a career.

Then when I decided to link my passion with my vision to bring change and making movies on social awareness, to use the scripts I have written then I told myself that it's going to be way too challenging. The challenges which I faced while making my first short film ‘INSIA’ are innumerable. It was a roller coaster ride.

It was my directorial debut and I was not only the captain of the ship but also the in charge of everything. I pledge to be invincible and fiercely tried to live up to the message and follow my dream. People questioned me for making a film with no budget, for casting NGO kids, for directing without the experience of assistant director, for taking a risk, many things. But the only driving force was that my vision is clear and intention is pure.

7. Your opinion about social media activism.

Social media activism plays a vital role in providing information, spreading awareness, reaching people and enlightening them. At the same time, it should be handled in a very wise and radical way. Social media activism can act both as a boon or a bane depending on the way it is presented and the way it is functioning.

For example, my social media activism is through my efforts/post on social media accounts/sessions and my filmmaking passion, through my short films I want to channel the social awareness message with the only concern to bring change in society.

Interview By - Sonam

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