Srinagar, Dec 02: Toastmasters International is going to start its club in Srinagar very soon after seeing the enthusiasm of a group of youth in Kashmir who have been tirelessly cooperating and collaborating their resources in making a community for setting up a social development institution where students and professionals can learn public speaking and leadership skills alike. The setting of such clubs with International mentorship and affiliation will open new vistas for the highly talented youth of the exposure-starved state.
Tanveer Nabi, 33, a banker, an amazing speaker with a soft voice loaded with magnetic attraction was speaking in front of a small group of some 20 young boys and girls about the importance of public speaking and leadership skills development in both career development and progression in a state ripped in political conflagrations. His journey and hunt for starting a toastmasters club in Srinagar is full of awe and appreciation. Nevertheless, he faced hardships over months and has reached to the Toastmasters International for lending support and facilitating such a club in Srinagar too.
The unquenching thirst and ordeal of Hamid Rather, a journalist, author and Civil Service aspirant is also inspiring and eventually bore the fruit in the form of realization of his dream of starting a local Toastmasters club. Hamid dreamt of becoming a public speaker when he was being trained in an entrepreneurial workshop engineered by Revive Kashmir, a US-based NGO run by non-resident Kashmiris, where he got very much influenced by the amazing voice skills of the mentors from United States. “Tahir Qazi, CEO of iQuasar and President of Revive Kashmir has taught us many skills ranging from life to entrepreneurship. I was mesmerized by his speeches and public speaking aura and I wanted to imbibe that.
I reached him and inquired about how can I gain these skills? He told me about Toastmasters International. I googled about Toasmasters and watched many videos online on public speaking and leadership skills. I also reached to some businessmen for lending me support for setting a club of our own so that it will help our youth in multiple ways. I emailed Toastmasters International and finally got a call from, Rita Sandu, Toastmasters International Divisional Director for North India.”, he told KNS with a smile on his face.
Pertinently, KNS spoke to Toastmasters International Division B (North India) Director, Rita Sandhu on starting a club in Srinagar and Jammu each. She said, “I have a special place in my heart for Srinagar. I lived there as a child for 3-4 years and have beautiful memories. I have grown up as a speaker in Toastmasters and want that the beautiful people of Srinagar must also get an opportunity to do so.” While rebutting how this club can help youth, she said, “Toastmasters will give youth immense confidence and great leadership skills and opportunity. It will give me immense happiness to see them as part of Toastmasters.”
Meanwhile, students, teachers, professionals and businessmen were seen participating in the meetings of the club which is open to all irrespective of age, gender, caste, region, etc. The whole learning process is of international standard under well qualified and experienced mentors. This learning is different from the conventional rot-learning; here ice-breaker speeches, impromptu speeches and prepared speeches are made in front of audiences which are evaluated on several criteria by mentors and are recorded on camera for self evaluation and behavioral changes. The speakers here get the opportunity to participate in regional, divisional, national and international platforms to speak to connect to wider audience.