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Ms. Sidhika Goenka
Empowering minds

Sidhika Goenka's centre, 'Empowering You', believes that teaching children to cope with life's demands will lead to happier families and a healthier society.

Text: Kanishka Ramchandani
Photo credit: Dhiman Chatterjee

If we go by newspaper and television reports, it seems that the inability to cope with the demands of life is claiming increasingly younger victims everyday. Children as young as l 0-years-old believe that suicide is the only way out of a stressful or threatening situation. Teenagers also seem to be resorting to violence to solve their problems. Sidhika Goenka believes that teaching children to cope with social issues, to manage anger, and to master social skills is important. This has led her to open an education centre called 'Empowering You in Kolhapur. where she lives. After completing her Masters in Counselling and Counsellor Education Irons Indiana University, USA. Sidhika was delighted when she was chosen to teach educational psychology to undergraduate students. She also worked as a resident advisor during her four years there.

Precious smiles
'For me. a child's smile is priceless and I can go to any length to make children smile. Based on my experiences while working as a trainee counsellor in USA, and later in schools in India,I realised the importance of helping children cope with various issues,' she says.

A Delhi girl—that's where her parents stay—Siddhika shifted to Kolhapur after her marriage to Neelabh Goenka. Neelabh and Isis father, Arun Goenka, run a textile business, based out of lchalkaranji and Mumbai. Sidhika's mother-in-law is active in the family business. Her father is tine owner of Hindustan Adhesives Ltd. and Bagla Polifilms Ltd while her mother works with an NGO. One of her brothers. Nakul, is studying at Carnegie Mellon University. while the other, Dhruv, studies at the G. D. Goenka Public School.

Siddhika also writes on time and stress management regularly for the Marathi newspaper. Sakaat All her efforts are geared towards increasing the ordinary citizen's awareness on how to maintain healthy parent-child and family relationships.

Turn Right
She thought of starting 'Empowering You' when sine found that in schools, children are taught academic skills, but there is no place for them to think about themselves, do • what they like to do, and really spend time introspecting. Children like doing that. They like thinking about their strengths, analyzing how they spend their time, and what they would like to do in the future. 'Empowering You' provides a platform to explore hidden talents."

'Empowering You' is located at Nagala Park, Kolhapur. Apart from the above mentioned features, it helps children improve their English and vocabulary skills as well as improve on their academic and non-academic activities.

"We help children develop the right-side of the brain. which enhances their learning and thinking processes. We need to understand the importance of the right-brain activity and help our children in developing their creative, visualization and imagination skills," she explains. The sessions include personality enhancement classes for children from 6-21 years; career counseling for children and adults: individual counseling, and seminars for adults.

Helping parents
Sidhika calls herself a practical person, who loves multitasking and learning. She finds great pleasure in helping people unlock their hidden potential.

As a personality consultant with a teaching and counseling degree, that is just what she is best qualified tn do. "The earlier children are trained to think creatively and confidently, the better the results. I assist children in thinking out of the box, and help parents in finding strategies and games to play with the child at home to enhance a child's capability," she says.

Sidhika wants to prepare concrete written tasks and programmes, which can be used by other institutions also for the benefit of children around the country. "I would also like to oiler consultancy services, conduct workshops at schools and institutions around the country, and introduce our achievements at 'Empowering You'," she says.

"In schools, children are taught academic skills, but there is no place for them to think about themselves, do what they like to do, and really spend time introspecting. 'Empowering You' provides a platform to explore hidden talents”

Balanced approach
Sidhika believes in 'balance'. "The balancing act has always been an integral part of my life. As a student. I used to balance my time between teaching, counseling making care of myself, and studying. Counseling usually happens with-appointments, so that helps a lot. My husband, his parents and grandparents are wonderful people. So far, I have been able to balance work and home very well by spending quality time with my family as well as establishing and taking 'Empowering You' forward".

Her parents-in-law are extremely helpful, accepting and supportive, which makes it very easy. "My husband has always motivated and encouraged me to help others. And it is because of my parents that I ant able to play these various roles, find confidence in myself to pursue my career, and live my dream of having a happy family."

Who did I help today?

Busy with helping others to de-stress, how does she dolt herself? Sidhika says she has always enjoyed music, dance, painting, and singing bhajans. "I derive strength from reciting Sanskrit shlokas and meditation:. she adds.

Her father, who has helped her realize her dreams, also taught her to analyze her actions with the question. "Who did I help today?" Sidhika obviously tries to answer that question to her fullest ability.

"When we first met Sidhika, we were immediately drawn towards her joyous and wonderful personally and professionally. We wnat her to reach her goal of serving the society. And knowing her, we are confident that she will achieve her goals in no time. We want to keep pushing her to achieve more than she has because it is how we deal with the challenges and hurdles that makes us who we are. We are sure that only will she meet these challenges head on, but will also overcome them and excel in every sphere of life, whether it is personal or professional
- Husband and in-laws

More information about 'Empowering You' can be found at www.empoweringyou.in or by writing to her at sidhika@empoweringyou.in