By Winter Johnson
Mushkan Jat was only three when she started in 2003 at the HOPE Foundation School in Bhuj, India, but now that she is a teacher at her alma mater, her memories of being a student are that much sweeter. All grown up, she returned to the school last year to teach English and Maths — after completing both her bachelor’s degree in commerce at Kutch University and her teacher qualifications in 2022.
We caught up with Mushkan to learn a bit more about her story, and what she loves most about the HOPE Foundation School:
HWW: I read recently that you wouldn’t have received an education if not for the HOPE Foundation School. Can you tell me why?
MJ: I come from a family where no one has ever studied past the 9th STD, which is 14 years of age. So, my family never thought about my education that much and didn’t plan to send me to an English medium school. At that time, the principal of the school used to travel in my father’s rickshaw, so she asked my father to send me to the HOPE Foundation School.
My father hesitated because he was worried about how I would learn English at home. But one of the teachers convinced my father, took responsibility and asked him not to worry. That’s why the HOPE Foundation School was life-changing for me – and two of my siblings are students there as well.
HWW: Tell me about your experience at the HOPE Foundation School as a teacher.
MJ: I am grateful for the opportunity, and I feel blessed. My teachers left a mark in my heart and mind. Looking at the children wearing the same uniform I wore makes me very emotional, and I see myself in them. Coming back as a teacher feels wonderful as it always was a dream. I am more than happy as I am experiencing my best days again and still learning, growing and teaching.
HWW: What do you love the most about being a teacher at the HOPE Foundation School?
MJ: As a student, I always loved my school, and I love my school as a teacher as well. There is a difference that our school is making and being a part of that is amazing. I love teaching children, playing with them and sharing my story with them. It is a golden opportunity for me.
HWW: When did you know you wanted to become a teacher? How did that dream begin?
MJ: After completing my 12th STD, I started taking tuition classes at home to be financially independent — but at that time I realized that I am fond of children, and I like what I am doing. This is how my dream began and the passion started growing.
HWW: What was it like to be a student at the HOPE Foundation School?
MJ: There’s just one word that I could use to describe my experience at the school, and that is ‘unforgettable’. Each day was a blessing. The teachers and the school have a special place in my heart. Learning and growing with love and care is the standard of the HOPE Foundation. I still remember how badly I cried when I graduated from the school.
HWW: What were your favourite subjects? What were your most challenging subjects?
MJ: Mathematics was the most challenging subject for me, and English has always been my favourite subject. In terms of fun, I liked doing activities related to the lessons. And I liked participating in dance classes, skits and dramas.
HWW: What would you say to other parents who may be thinking about sending their children to the school?
MJ: I would like to say that sending your children to the HOPE Foundation School is the best thing you can do for your children. Your child will grow and learn how to be his or her best self, in addition to receiving a first-rate education. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.