RAJASTHAN : Prachi Gaur had a tough time with her studies in the deeply feudal, tradition-bound society of Rajasthan. As a modest student with no systematic guidance, she was clueless about how to proceed with her career dreams. The Jodhpur woman now runs a counselling centre for students and provides scholarships for the needy keen on professional careers. Through her toll-free helpline, she also provides special counselling for students suffering from anxiety and depression.
Prachi is one of three daughters of a railway employee. People taunted her and her family simply because she pursued higher education to further her career goals. “My father was told that daughters brought bad luck. It was humiliating to watch people say nasty things about daughters to my father.”
She was an average student in her class. However, she topped in sports events and excelled in art, craft and cultural activities. Her parents wanted her to study and get a job so that she could be married off into a decent family. But Prachi wanted to paint the canvas of her life her way.
When Prachi told her family that she wanted a career in fine arts, her family and relatives opposed her. “I come from a traditional family where the joint family decides things for you, especially girls. I had never heard the word fine arts, most people in my family were in government jobs. Nobody saw any future in my wish. There was no one to guide me,” recalls Prachi. She was disappointed when her father refused to bear the expenses.
Prachi got admission in the Fine Arts Department of Rajasthan University. After graduation, she wanted to study abroad, but there was no consultancy to go abroad in Jaipur at that time. She would leave Delhi by train in the morning and return by the evening train, a cycle that lasted a month. She scored well in IELTS, cleared the interview, took a scholarship and got admission to the Visual Communication course at Birmingham City University.
When in London, Prachi was under pressure to meet her expenses beyond her studies. She did many part-time jobs for a living. She had to repay a loan, too. Prachi also joined the student union of the university so that youngsters who came to study could be supported. For her initiative, the Birmingham Mayor honoured her.
When all was going well, suddenly her life took a U-turn and Prachi had to return to India in 2015 due to her father’s poor health. He pressured her to marry. She was married into a business family in Jodhpur. It was now impossible for Prachi to go back to London. Soon, Prachi started teaching design classes at NIFT. She quickly realised that there was no one to offer career guidance to students. “I thought there should be someone who could advise students in all universities...what was needed was a system that helped students to get the best out of their talents,” says she, adding that handholding was required.
Prachi formed a company named Remarkable. She started a process for self-rating of children through a psychometric test that determines a child’s preferences. Prachi now has 10 people in her team. As many as 70 freelancers are associated with her.
Prachi has developed a 5-step IQ test for children. “Children must be associated with their passion as well as a paying career. Most students don't know what to study. We try to help them recognize their talents and guide them with their careers,” she says. Prachi also runs an online portal from where children can chat with her counsellors on toll-free numbers in various states. She operates outside the country also and has done many career guidance workshops in the UK, Singapore and Thailand.