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Center visit: an occasion for the Youth to develop their professional skills

Marie-Laure, the Youth from the TDC Chennai and Vicky, from the STARS club
Marie-Laure, the Youth from the TDC Chennai and Vicky, from the STARS club

A few words from Ophélie Quilbeuf, Coach, TDC Chennai

A center visit from a partner or any external person to LP4Y is always a good opportunity for the Youth to be confronted with the professional world. The Youth will meet professionals expecting professional interactions. It is an interesting challenge for them to apply concretely what they have learned during LP4Y’s program. It is also a good practice for the Youth to explain by themselves in professional terms what they are doing on a daily basis in the center because it will be the same speech for their resume and during job interviews.

A center visit have several objectives:

For the Youth, to develop different skills such as: 

  • Communication: Talking with partners requires clear, understandable and professional communication

  • Organization: Getting ready for the visit means planning things like identifying and dividing the tasks between the team members and making sure everything needed is ready

  • Research: Before the center visit, it is important for the youth to know what to say about the center, what they do, and the community they help by finding and splitting the information between professional and personal information

  • Adaptability and resilience: If things do not go as planned during the visit, the Youth have to be able to quickly find solutions and make changes to keep things running smoothly 

For the visitor, to discover and understand the impact of LP4Y's programs on the lives of young women and mothers in Kannagi Nagar, including their personal and professional development. It is also a good way to assess the specific needs and challenges faced by the Youth, the center and the community in Kannagi Nagar, with a focus on areas such as decent employment, healthcare and physical activities.

For the TDC team, to identify potential areas for collaboration or support between LP4Y and the visitor, whether through funding, training, or professional exposure, to further enhance the center's effectiveness and impact. Receiving feedback and recommendations from an external point of view based on observations and discussions during the visit also supports the continuous improvement and innovation of the Training and Development Center in Chennai.

3 Youths were in charge of the center visit of Marie-Laure, Corporate Foundation Manager:

  • Meenakshi Prabhu, Responsability Step, in lead to make sure everyone speaks and that the presentation is dynamic

  • Karthika Prakash, Management Step

  • Nilofer M., Autonomy Step

Karthika, Meenakshi and Nilofer - TDC Chennai
Karthika, Meenakshi and Nilofer

Preparation of the center visit, by Karthika, Meenakshi and Nilofer

In an ideal world, all center visits would be planned and the Youth would have time to prepare and rehearse in advance. In reality, center visits are sometimes organized at the last minute and the Youth have to adapt. This center visit was one of them.

Karthika and Nilofer replaced two other team members who were not able to be there for personal reasons. “But because we know our center and our program, and we also explain to newcomers when they visit the center for the first time, we know how to explain,” Karthika says. “We had to adapt because we had never spoken to someone like Marie-Laure before, and we do not share the same information with a newcomer and a professional who is external to LP4Y. We decided to split the tasks to let each member of our team explain.”

Preparation of the center visit
Preparation of the center visit

It was the first time Meenakshi, Nilofer and Karthika organized a center visit in English, yet they did not fear speaking in a different language, and even found it very easy while reflecting back on it. “Marie-Laure understands our English, so it makes us feel confident. We don’t need perfect English to be understood,” Nilofer explains.

The Youths explain that this new experience helped them to develop new skills: 

  • Communication skills: To explain the center’s organization and program in a clear way and in English. Karthika shares: “We had to remember everything because we want the visitor to really understand what we are doing.”

  • Self-confidence: At first, the Youth feared the center visit because they had no previous experience with this kind of responsibilities, but they overcame it quickly and felt very proud afterwards.

  • Professional behavior: Smiling, eye contact, how to behave professionally.

Nilofer explains that she will feel strong and confident for the next partner’s visit, and whenever new people enter her life. “LP4Y program made us ready for this kind of opportunity. Our Coaches and other Catalysts support our teams and our improvements every day, so we feel confident and ready to overcome every challenge.”

The team was overall very happy about this experience. Receiving an external visit breaks the routine and is a great exercise to test their professional skills. When the visitors show great interest, it makes the Youth feel listened to and respected.

“At the end during the handshake, Marie-Laure gave feedback to us and encouraged us with English and professionalism and thanked us for the visit. It made us feel very excited and proud!” Meenakshi shares with a bright light in her eyes.

Meenakshi explains that the preparation was easy because she knows her center and feels comfortable there: “I feel safe to try everything.”

Leader of the center visit team, her role was to share the tasks between the team members and to take the lead to have a dynamic presentation. “When someone struggles, I continue. At the beginning, I had fear but at the end, I felt super proud of myself. Speaking to partners and external visitors is different from speaking to newcomers as you have to deeply explain all parts of the program.”

When the team changed at the last minute, just before the center visit. I told myself: "Ok I manage, I am confident” - Meenakshi, Center Visit Leader

Home visit: the best way to better understand challenges faced by the Youth and their family, by Margaret Mariyadass (Management Step)

We usually organize home visits to see if the family is ok with the Youth coming to the center. During this time, we ask questions, try to understand their opinions about young women going to work to support the family, if the Youth is living in a supportive environment, in which conditions, and if she is facing any violence. It is important for LP4Y to get to know more about the Youth and their family because it helps in case of issues.

During Marie-Laure's visit, I opened the doors of my home to help her understand the conditions in which the Youth attending LP4Y’s programs are living. My mother and brother were at home on this day. It was good to have her in my home.

Now she knows more about the living conditions and understands the violence that the young women face in Kannagi Nagar. She could see it through her own eyes.

My Family liked receiving this visit. It reminded my mother of her childhood living in Pondicherry. It made me happy that my mother could communicate with my Coach Ophélie and Marie-Laure. It was a good opportunity for her to meet people and speak English.

It was the first time I had a stranger at my house, and it was really nice to talk. It also reassured my mother about what I am doing at the center, how I am doing in the center, reminding her what is the purpose of following the training. Now I feel relieved. She is clear about what I do and about my safety.

I believe it is important for people to know about the situation in Kannagi Nagar, to have their own perspectives and vision about it. Marie-Laure asked a lot of questions about the environment and I was careful about what I was saying. She was not judging. It was really nice to meet her.

Feedback from Marie-Laure, Corporate Foundation Manager

"On-site visits not only allow us to take the pulse of the organization but also represent a fantastic opportunity to understand the LP4Y approach, the spirit and the work culture behind the work of the volunteers. Meeting the teams and the young participants in the programs are also very inspiring and useful moments to grasp the extent of the project. I was very impressed by the exchange with Vignesh Murugan, a former beneficiary of the center, who now spends half of his work time as a Dance Teacher and the other half as a Receptionist in a hotel. He agreed to share his story, allowing us to understand how the Move 4 Change program was decisive in his personal and professional journey."



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