Angeli Qwatra’s professional credentials are strikingly different. She is a rescue management expert with national and international experience in the field of emergency aid measures. She is the founder head of Philathrope, an NGO empowering communities, individuals and corporates working with Unesco on an evaluation study of an AIDS prevention programme, I was drawn closer to the life of the common man. I realised that working at the grassroots-level to solve people’s problems is my true calling, and ever since there has been no looking back,” she recounts.
Thus, Qwatra left teaching to work as a project officer with an NGO, Vatavaran. Here she was involved in research on life in urban villages. Based on this, she formulated a mega project for the holistic development of urban villages in Delhi. “I realised during this time that a major setback in the lives of common people is their negligence on safety and security issues. Even educated people act wrongly while helping people in crisis. Thus, I decided to make my work more focused and impart fundamental life saving skills. At the outset I embarked upon extensive research on people’s knowledge and behaviour of handling serious injuries and life threatening crisis.”
Determined to make a difference, Qwatra underwent training in London on emergency aid measures and subsequently pursued a course in natural disaster management from World Bank Institute, National Institute of towards their own safety preparedness and disaster management. And she would be training around 30,000 young volunteers who would be extending emergency aid to people during the Commonwealth Games.
Qwatra pursued an MPhil and PhD through a research fellowship from the University Grants Commission (UGC). Looking back at her lecturer days, she says, “I was bored teaching the same theories and concepts to students year after year.” While working as a lecturer, she got an offer to work with Unesco on problems children face from HIV affected families and she willingly took it up. “This turned out to be a moving experience as it ignited a desire within me to help people in need and distress. Further, while Disaster Management.
She then decided to open her own NGO ‘Philanthrope’ that is aimed at saving people’s lives and reducing suffering. Talking about the risks involved in a career change, she says: “Gaining knowledge and a formal degree in the new field was perhaps the biggest challenge that I faced.” Nevertheless, she adds: “It is always worth the effort. When you follow your heart and choose the right career, which suits you better, you are able to perform far better and excel in the field.”
She emphasises: “Some people find it odd that a few individuals choose to abandon a secure job and move into a risky world. However, more often than not a career switch is an informed decision. Also often the first job we choose is based on the advice and experiences of others. This attributes to the fact that many a time people find themselves in vocations that are unsuited to their temperament. People should consciously realise what they want from their careers and not conform to traditional notions while making career choices.”