As parents we are often thinking about various ways for inculcating certain habits like Mindfulness in our kids. In today’s hyperactive world when kids are growing amidst such chaos where they are distracted with so many activites ,it’s certainly challenging for them to focus. This is leading to various attention deficit problems, anxiety, depression, personality disorder, eating disorder and addiction.
It’s such a pleasure for Womenlines to share about founders of programe JUST-B in Singapore,which promotes mindfulness in teens and pre-teens. Read about their entrepreneurial journey in their own words-
Pamposh Dhar and Nandini Nagpal co-founded Just-BTM, Singapore’s first Mindfulness Program for Teens and Pre-Teens. They run it together at 3 levels in programs spread over 4 sessions each. Pamposh also runs the Terataii wholistic wellness centre.
1. Please share with our readers little bit about yourself?
Pamposh: I jokingly describe myself as a split personality: a writer and editor on the one hand; and a counsellor, personal development trainer, Reiki healer and meditation teacher on the other. I started out as a journalist, moving to public communication after a few years. Then in 1999 I learnt Reiki and my life started to take a different turn. Since 2006, I have been focusing more and more on my “second career.” I now run a company in Singapore – called Terataii – that supports personal growth and wellness for children and adults. My latest venture is Just-B, a mindfulness program for teens and pre-teens, which I started with Nandini last year.
Nandini: I have been involved with young children, pre-teens and teens over the years in different ways, including teaching French, through my book distribution business where I helped build school libraries, mentoring through life-skills programs and more recently through Just-B. I am very passionate about story-telling, something that has not only helped me re-discover the child within, but also helped me reach out and touch the hearts of children and teens. Mindful living is something I believe in very deeply. Apart from Just-B, I work on psychometric assessments/coaching with managers and co-own a consulting business.
2. So when did you venture into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?
Pamposh: Since the time I was in school myself, I have wanted to work with children and young people! I think it’s something about the fact that they have all of life ahead of them. As a counsellor, I often find myself thinking adults could have saved themselves so much hassle and even pain if they had learnt a better way to live earlier in life. Teaching mindfulness meditation, mostly to adults, also focused my mind on the need for a calm centre within. So a mindfulness program for youngsters was the logical next step for me.
Nandini: Pamposh and I launched the program in October 2013 with children between the ages of 11-16 years. After having studied meditation and having worked with teens and pre-teens, I realized how much more self-aware, happier and more effective they can be by making mindfulness a part of their lives.
3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?
Pamposh: Coming up with the program was quite easy. In fact most things happened quite easily. One thing we learnt from our first program last year was that pre-teens and teens learn in different ways and focus on different things. So we have now split the program into 2 separate groups by age (9-12 and 13-17).
Nandini: We did not face any major challenges as we both work to our respective strengths. Pamposh and I have very different personalities and we bring our different experiences to the program, which makes it powerful and unique.
4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
Pamposh: For me, all of life is about balance. I need not just work-life balance, but also work-work balance since I do a few different kinds of work! The trick is to know your priorities for each day, based on an overall plan which balances out nicely, then focus on one task at a time.
Nandini: This is one of the key areas where I apply the practice of mindfulness as I juggle between work, family time and personal time. Since I believe in balanced living, on a daily basis, I try to give every area of my life the importance it requires at that moment by putting all my energy into it and not mixing it with another area.
5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?
Pamposh: Know what you want, then with all sincerity commit your time and attention to it. I think the amount of time you can spare is less important than the sincerity of your commitment to the venture. I think you have to really want what you’re going for – you need that motivation to stay on track. There is also formal and informal help available to get you started – don’t be shy about seeking such assistance.
Nandini: Firstly, believe in yourself and know that you have value. When you are working for yourself, your motivation level needs to be high so choose to venture into something you are really passionate about. Once that is decided, you can start even by taking a small step in that direction and then staying positive and focused on the path.
6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?
Pamposh: I think of myself as a spiritual person, in the sense of being very aware of spirit. So my inspiration tends to come from spiritual people! Perhaps the one person who inspires me the most is the Dalai Lama, whom I have had the privilege to meet. Quite a lot of my inspiration has also come from authors, via their books! In a more practical sense, my mentor is Vikas Malkani, who taught me the Bhagavad Gita many years ago as well as several other courses. My support comes most of all from my husband. I read many years ago that a “spiritual marriage” was one in which the partners helped each other grow. I think we do that for each other. And, of course, Nandini and I plan and execute all aspects of Just-B together, supporting each other in the venture.
Nandini: Vikas Malkani, who taught me advanced meditation, and Pamposh are my mentors. My mother is my inspiration and my husband is my greatest support.
7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?
Pamposh: We have so far run only the first of the three Just-B modules. We hope to run Module 2 in August this year. (Module 1 is called Starting the Journey and Module 2 is Striding Forward.) After that will come Module 3, Empowerment. We will also run more of the Module 1 programs, of course.
The next Module 1 program will take place in the second half of June.
Nandini: In the near future, we hope to have run all the 3 modules by the end of the year.
Womenlines wishes all the best to Just-B for future!