Alumni Spotlight

Preeti Baghel's Work On Mental Health

All of 21, this confident and zealous girl is ready to take on the world and be a changemaker. Preeti Baghel, our alumni from Mumbai believes that education is the foundation of life and freedom of expression is one's right and liberating experience! Preeti is a mental health professional in the making and one of the founders of a poetry club called The Shor.

Read on to know more about our very talented Akanksha alumni.

 1. Tell us about yourself.

Hello everyone. I am Preeti Rajkumar Baghel.

I have completed my BA in psychology from The Wilson College, Mumbai. I enjoy dancing, painting, writing poetry, meeting new people, exploring food and travelling places. I believe every person has a story and their actions are based on those stories.

I come from a loving family of 6 members and we live at Worli in Mumbai. My father is very hardworking and he runs a small shop near my house. My mother is a homemaker and I have 2 elder siblings and a younger brother too. My parents have never been to a school nor do they have any formal education; but I still believe they are well learned and experienced in life. My parents decided to educate all of us irrespective of our gender. My siblings and I aim to give all the happiness possible in the world to our family and support each other however we can.

2. Tell us about your journey with Akanksha.

I joined Akanksha Worli Centre when I was three years old. I studied there for 2 years and then shifted to the KGM-2 centre. Getting an education at Akanksha has been an enriching experience. I've met some amazing teachers and volunteers here. I fondly remember Deba Didi, Dimple Didi, Madhu and Jasmine Didi.

I was a shy girl but I liked talking to people I connected with. My teachers did just that. They connected with me and encouraged me. Even though I was an average student, I liked participating in sports and extracurricular activities. Donali didi really pushed me for taking part in plays and dance auditions.

I still remember the reading circle that Ridhima didi used to take for us. Even though I was not into reading, I started liking storybooks and read many books because of that. I did things out of my comfort zone, did better in studies, started reading and writing poetry.

My teachers saw my potential and motivated me to push my boundaries. I have got all my life lessons from Akanksha. I have learnt to see life from a different perspective and be solution-oriented. Akanksha is like my second home.

3. What were your aspirations?

At first, I wanted to be a teacher and then as I grew up, I started finding shortcomings in our education system. I wanted to change that.  I got interested in Mental health and started studying psychology. I thought this would be useful to make changes to our education system, make it more practical and relatable.

I aspire to be a Mental Health professional who can help others on the path of wellness. I also wish to provide my family with social, emotional and financial support at my best. I also want to be a dancer as I love dancing and I know I am good at it too.

4. What are you currently doing?

Currently, I am a Mental Health Facilitator working with an organisation named Apni Shala Foundation. Apni Shala works on preventive and promotive Mental Health by partnering with MCGM and Non-MCGM schools and organisations across Mumbai. I love working with young adults and students as they always help me understand life better without complicating it. The happiness I get in every class of mine is just mesmerizing. Apni shala has helped me grow as a professional and helped me learn more about myself.

Other than this, I have started a poetry club called ‘The Shor’, along with 4 other friends of mine. The Shor is a poetry gathering where people of all colour, culture, language, gender, demographic, etc are invited to express themselves the way they wish to.

Shor was started in 2016 December as my friends and I believed in expression and saw the magic we all created when we expressed our selves to each other. We thought why not take this same magic to other people too. Shor does 1 gathering in every 2 months. These gatherings are done in public spaces as we believe that expression can happen anywhere and it does not need walls.

Shor has done many events and Shor also helps people break the taboos and dominant stereotypes that poetry or other expressions carry within the society. We were recently invited to do a 2-day workshop at the 2nd International Narrative Conference held by Ummeed Child Development Center. Shor was also invited to give a keynote at the same conference. It believes in expression without any restrictions.

 5. How has Akanksha impacted your life?

Akanksha has played an important role in my life, it has not only educated me but also my family. Akanksha has helped me be this confident girl who believes in dreaming and works hard to achieve them too. Akanksha has given me people for life whom I know I can rely on. It has been a very prominent part of my childhood and has helped me explore who I am and what are my strengths and work areas. It has and will always be a big part of my life.

6. What are your future plans?

I plan on pursuing my Masters in Mental health and Counseling. I want to study more as I believe that every person's hunger for knowledge should not die. I wish to complete my education and make a change in our education system and aware people about mental health. I want to be able to give back to my family and the society I live in. I want Shor to do better and make even a bigger community where people aren't scared to express themselves.


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