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Diversifying Access to Education

by Jasmine Sethi

· Tutors

“Jasmine, my dream is to build an orphanage one day so that I can help children in need”, is what my student originally from Syria, residing in Turkey mentioned during our weekly mentorship sessions. Diversity and inclusiveness are integral in ensuring and maintaining accessibility to education amongst people who remain marginalized from the mainstream population. Paper Airplanes is an excellent example that illustrates the direct relationship between means of technical advancements and increasing access to education at a global scale. It made delivering remote classes to conflict-affected individuals completely accessible, especially amid the international lockdown protocols led by the Covid-19 pandemic. As an advocate of the nonprofit organization, my responsibility is to deliver weekly English lessons to the conflict-affected individuals, utilizing variety of educational resources provided to us during our intensive orientation sessions. I am here to ensure that all individuals disregarding age, gender, ethnicity, race and income status, to climb the ladder in achieving their dreams, and one way I am doing this is to work in partnership with Paper Airplanes in providing equal access to learning development.

During my employment with the Canadian Red Cross, I was seeking opportunities to teach English to Refugees and newcomers. Whilst researching for opportunities during the lockdown, I recall reaching out to Paper Airplanes, expressing my interest in leadership opportunities. I began delivering English lessons to a student in the fall semester and to this day, I am proud to be professionally associated with Paper Airplanes. The mentorship experience has enabled me to reflect on distinctive strategies of radical innovation, materializing within the humanitarian sector, that is diversifying access to education through the means of technology. It is an effort in bringing diverse groups of people together, building networks and partnerships, increasing collaborations, and together, we are bringing forth the real social impact.

"Our interaction has confirmed that distance is not a barrier to education; rather it is the will and ability to invest time and expertise to enhance English communication skills and making connections with the individuals in a remote environment.​"

Last fall, I mentored a student and it turned out to be the most remarkable experience in my career working within the nonprofit sector. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was a commendable opportunity, the ability to provide learning development classes and access to education through the means of technology. Our interaction has confirmed that distance is not a barrier to education; rather it is the will and ability to invest time and expertise to enhance English communication skills and making connections with the individuals in a remote environment. As a mentor at Paper Airplanes, tutoring a student originally from Syria, residing in Turkey, every connection is an opportunity for her to advance her English communication skills.

As I recall our conversation, my student once said, “Jasmine, you’re the only person within my network with whom I can practice my English communication skills.” This enacted as a self-realization that I am creating real social impact by contributing my time and effort to enhance her skills as she can utilize and implement this to further advance her educational, academic and professional career. It was an opportunity for my student to be expressive and communicate about imperative subjects, including festivals, cultural integration, employment opportunities, racial discrimination, gender roles, global warming, climate change and the valuable leadership roles that exists within the society. To emphasize, this was the student’s opportunity to capitalize on the delivery of weekly academic lessons which was an integration of visuals and written material.

I look forward to embarking on yet another journey with Paper Airplanes in the field of research and assisting individuals in conflict-affected areas to strengthen their English-speaking abilities. The nonprofit organization instills an immense level of self-confidence as a mentor and contributes to making a difference by building networking, connections, professional advancements and interaction with its team.

About the author: Jasmine Sethi

I'm Jasmine, an advocate for social change. I am a business consultant where I provide taxation, legal, educational and website development services to clients. As an educational consultant, I'm working in partnership with the nonprofit organizations to deliver learning development services to individuals in conflict-affected areas. As an academic researcher, my forte is to write about high-level and complex subjects relevant to social change. I assist independent organizations in providing consultancy and feedback to strengthen their program delivery. I am a lifelong learner as I continue to learn more about the humanitarian sector at Ryerson university

The views and opinions represented in this post belong solely to the author of the blog post, and are not representative of the views and policies of Paper Airplanes and its staff members.

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