Our experience at the Scead Foundation has been eye-opening. While most of us did have experience with volunteer work, venturing into slums and actually talking to the people who lived there wasn't something that any of us had done. At first, the idea of approaching strangers and talking to them about something as personal as why they choose to not send their children to school was a task that we found quite daunting. But on actually interacting with the people in the slums we realized that they were nothing but eager to share their story with us. There was an ease with which they spoke about their lives that we did not expect to find and we found ourselves listening to the rapt with attention to them. I think it's also safe to say that we did go into the volunteer work with biases about how we may have to convince children about why education is important. But upon interacting with them we found that most of them were, in fact, enthusiastic about going to school and would like to continue studying.
There were difficult days too where we had to talk to elders who were dismissive about the benefits of any help that their children might receive from education but the toughest days were when we had to interact with children who could not study because their parents didn't let them. Meeting a boy who wanted to become a doctor but was driving an auto-rickshaw instead was probably one of the most challenging days for us emotionally as we felt slightly helpless in the grander scheme of things that put him there and us here.