Up Close … with Ruby Pardiwalla, director of the National Council for Children-‘Nurture, praise and encourage children’


03-July-2012

Ms PardiwallaIndeed the place was children friendly – an ideal décor for the NCC office.

Inside the settees were so colourful, they looked so cushy and before I had the chance to enjoy this comfort, coming towards me in the corridor was the council’s director Ruby Pardiwalla … all smiles.

The reasons for my being there came back instantly. An interesting individual with so many intriguing stories to share, Ms Pardiwalla did not hesitate to display her gift of the gab.

Family life

Ms Pardiwalla is the youngest in a family of three children – two girls and a boy.
Her parents landed in Seychelles in the days when Temooljee’s was being set up by her great uncle.

“My father was a barrister, a man of strong principles who instilled in us a culture of hard work.”

She recalled very well that he used to go to work at 6am every morning without fail and the business remained open throughout the day till 7pm, seven days a week, the only half-day being Sunday.

“BBC news was broadcast on the radio every night at 8pm and we all had to listen and woe betide anyone who dared speak or disturb the peace during that time.”

The family belongs to one of the oldest revealed world religions, Zoroastrianism and its morality can be summed up in three simple phrases – good thoughts, good words and good deeds.

She feels at the end of the day, all religions are connected by one thread, one pursuit of goodness and it is a shame that there is so much separation and intolerance only because the approach to attaining these end visions differ.

School days

Her school days were spent at the Regina Mundi Convent were she got a solid background not just academically but also in other walks of life.

Ms Pardiwalla said they had great fun there and got up to mischief.
“That mango tree in the playground was very enticing and tennis balls always somehow took a detour to knock down the beckoning fruit and little did we realise that the sisters could observe our tactics from the chapel.”

She then moved to the Seychelles College for her A-level studies and times spent there under the tutelage of the Canadian Brothers were also memorable.

Following that, she pursued a combined Honours degree in Biology and Education and post-graduate qualification in Education in the UK.

“I wanted to continue onto a Master’s Degree in psychology and counseling but needed work experience before being accepted on the course so I had to return to Seychelles and after some years went to Paris to study Education Psychology.”

And studying has been very much part of her life till today as she believes that the more she studies the more she realises that there’s still more to learn.

Childhood memories

Her childhood memories revolve around island life. Travelling by schooners to outer islands, counting the waves so that the pirogues would not crash onto the reefs, really tall coconut palms, deserted beaches, fishing, chasing baby sharks caught in the outgoing tides, pretending the calorifer was a sauna, riding donkeys, chickens roosting in branches and medley of ducks, turkeys, cats and dogs living in harmony…

She recalled that it was very much an outdoor life back then.

Ms Pardiwalla remembered that the other fun was when her parents would visit relatives in India, and that was a real adventure travelling for days to reach Bombay.

“Ocean going liners anchored beyond the lighthouse, close to Ste Anne island during those days and we had to take a small boat and swing from ‘sophisticated’ dangling rope ladders to get onboard.”

For her this experience was scary and exciting at the same time.
“And another thing was upon reaching India -- the shock from idyllic, laid back Victoria to the hustling, bustling port of Bombay.”

“Those visits lasted for about three months because of the distance and educationally that was a big bonus and learning experience we could never have gained from our classrooms.”

One beautiful memory she had is one of feeling totally safe, doors and windows were always meant to be thrown out open at all hours to welcome visitors.

In the late evenings, she would sneak out and curl up in the lap of the old watchman and under the stars be transported to magic lands with stories that no Grimm Brothers or Hans Andersen could ever match.
 
Career wise

“I really wanted to become a vet but my parents always wanted a doctor in the family andMs Pardiwalla handing over a set of books to a Glacis pupil during the launch of NCC’s Kindness Campaign at that school that was no interest to me.”

It was her brother who put a full stop to her fancy ideas by giving her exaggerated, gory details of what a vet does and that has put her off the job for life.

So she went into teaching and ended up becoming a curriculum developer, counselor, psychologist, trainer and child protection officer.

But now she is at the NCC, and has been there for a while.
Her career at the council has been inspired by “a great lady, the icon for children in Seychelles, Mrs Geva Rene”.

Ms Pardiwalla said she has no regrets and love her job.

“It is what gets me out of bed in the morning, raving to get to work early. We have a lovely team of qualified, dedicated, motivated staff who go the extra mile and also the extra smile to make our clients feel valued,” she said.

Her dream

Her dream is to see kids grow up in happy families, in happy homes, in safe, supportive communities where there is mutual respect for one and all.

Having three daughters of her own, she believes that if we all contribute in any little way that we can, then this synergy will hold us together and sweep us towards the realisation of a brighter, happier Seychelles for our children.

“Join our kindness, smile, hello and happy campaigns so that we can then maybe, all live happily ever after…..”

Working with children

“For those who want to work with children my advice would be first to believe in them, then obtain the required professional qualifications and training as well as gain experience under a mentor.

“You need to be genuine, understand the development of children in all spheres and also learn from them.”

Ms Pardiwalla said it is important to focus on the positive rather than their shortcomings.
“Nurture, praise and encourage them rather than trying to control and impose upon them.”

 

Compiled by Jean Ladouceur

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