Echo, those 4 letters, those 4 months, those final 4 days, there are no words which can describe this project. It all started with the organizing committee meeting at ISME for something, a something which would awaken another side of their soul, a something, which would make them family. These leadership sessions mentored us in an imaginable way. Meeting every week got us closer than ever.
Then all of a sudden, we were brought into the real world and the small bubbles of the luxurious lives we lived were burst. The Slum Visits, when the mentors of Echo actually went into the slums to help those families in need, they came back with a different mindset. Something in all of our hearts changed that day.
Then came the final 5 days, The Final Frontier. All students who participated in Echo came from Municipal Schools or very underprivileged and disadvantaged government aided schools. Everyone thought they were prepared for it, but when the wave of participants hit us, everyone melted. The way they grasped, acknowledged and worked together was astonishing, they ended up teaching us much more in those 4 days then we taught them.
Then came the final day of Echo, an initiative of the Rotary Club of Bombay along with the Rotaract Clubs of District 3141 to bridge the education gap between the public and private sector education, it took place at the K.C.College Auditorium on the 8th of April, 2018. An introductory video was shown to the audience, explaining the aim of Echo and it’s progress over the past four years. Many eminent personalities attended the event such as, Rtn. Ramesh Narayan (President of the Rotary Club of Bombay), Rtr. Om Chawla (District Rotaract Representative), Rtn. Hussain Rassai (District Youth Service, Avenue Chair) to name a few. The anchors, being Rtr. Satyam Kesarwani and Rtr. Gotham Tikyani for the evening invited the President of Roatry Club of Bombay Rtn. Ramesh Narayan, to speak.
Rtn. Ramesh Narayan described the energy of the students present in the auditorium as ‘raw’ and was impressed with the performance of the students. He inspired all the students to continue the association with Echo and keep helping others without expecting anything in return. The 200 participants that came from Municipal schools across Mumbai walked the ramp for the first time in their lives. The students were very excited to walk the ramp and it was a great confidence booster for them to walk in front of so many people. After the ramp walk, the sixteen semi-finalists, who were chosen a day prior from all the 200 participants were asked unknown questions by the judges.
While the scores were being calculated, the hard-working organizing committee that constituted Rotaractors from various colleges walked the ramp too. An after movie of Echo 2018 was shown, which brought both the students and the organizing committee to tears. The ten winners were finally announced. Altaf Khan won the title of Mr. Echo and Sakshi Surve won the title of Ms. Echo. Nikita Vaishya, who was the second runner up, shared her experience and told us that she was extremely grateful to the Didi’s and Bhaiyas who encouraged her at every step and also to Echo, through which she learnt a lot only in five days and got a platform to showcase her talents.
Echo not only helped the municipal school students but also the students from the organizing committee. Rtr. Swara Shettigar and Rtr. Jahan Chandalia shared a few words on how Echo taught them many valuable things. The winners were given laptops and a hamper from Dr. Batra’s. Apart from this, all the 200 participants received a stationary kit to help them in college. The students and the organizing committee were found in tears as they had developed a strong bond with each other over the course of the five days of Echo and they were not ready to part ways. Their friendship was sealed with hugs and promises to keep in touch even after Echo and to help each other. With this, Echo, an initiative where the youth themselves helped the youth for a brighter future of the country, came to an end.