So Jonny, you've been in Mumbai quite a few times now. What do you actually do?
Good question! My main remit is to develop the education programs. This involves a bit of trouble-shooting, some training and a lot of resource development. Thanks to my degree in Business and my friendship with Chris (Chris Way, Founder), I also help with a lot of the strategic thinking and looking at the 'bigger picture'.
Sounds good, what do you enjoy most?
I enjoy it all really. I know the value of having a good 'sounding-board' and a second opinion so I'm happy to be able to play that role. I also love teaching teachers and training staff so that they can go forward and do their jobs even better than they already are. My main passion, however, is the curriculum development project. Since I first came here that has been what I have wanted to crack; a set of culturally appropriate, easy to follow materials all taught by confident, well-trained teachers that empower young people to go forward and achieve their goals.
What changes have you seen since you started working with Reality Gives in 2010?
Loads! I was heavily involved with planning the expansion of Reality Gives, when we started to address more than just 'classroom' education, so seeing it in practice now is very exciting. If I think back to when I first arrived and we were just starting to design the Youth Empowerment Program we've come such a long way! Seeing all of the different programs in action now is simply excellent and the future potential is incredible.
Finally, what's next for you?
I feel that the work I've done over the last few months here in Mumbai with Chris, Jyoti (our new Community Centre Manager) and the rest of the Reality Gives team has helped to consolidate our position and has got us ready to move forward. I'll be heading back to London soon where my plan will be to lock myself away and work at improving the three different components of the Youth Empowerment Program; Computers, Soft Skills and English. I'll be liaising online a lot with the teachers to get their input and feedback and I'm sure Chris and I will have a few Skype meetings too!