He enjoys gifting confidence to teenagers. Three years ago, Ajay met a fourteen-year-old boy who had an amazing spark, yet struggling to find direction in his life. Ajay quickly understood his needs and chose to mentor him through Project K, which is a fourteen-month life-changing programme of Graeme Dingle Foundation. The project is focused on building confidence, teaching life skills and encouraging a positive attitude in teenagers. The aim of the project is to empower children to belief in their own ability, achieve goals, and to help them find purpose and direction in their lives.
For a couple of weeks Ajay entered his world as a buddy rather than just being an adult. It was super fun going bowling with him, swimming at the beach, trying to fix swing and hit shots at golf and most memorable one to enjoy meals at McDonalds. This friendship made him connect with Ajay. But this bonding was noticed first when his relationship with family and friends started to change for better. He began to share his feelings with Ajay and his dreams to be a police officer.
Ajay arranged a visit to a police open day where he could see more. This significantly helped the young boy to build a positive attitude and boost his confidence. According to Ajay, “He enjoys gifting confidence to many teenagers like him who needs positive role models.”
Ajay himself is a life learner. He recently completed a graduate diploma at Massey University in Occupational Health and Safety. He was born in Kenya and graduated in Mathematics with Computing at a UK university. He has vast experience working in the UK for companies like Shell and Mittal Steels. In 2010, he shifted to New Zealand and currently he is an Associate Director at KPMG delivering consultancy in the sustainable value team.
He enjoys learning and at the same time does not believe in waiting for someone to approach him for mentorship. He reaches out instantly to give support if he feels the need. One such case was when Ajay met a sixteen-year-old boy who lost his father. Ajay instinctively recognised that the boy needs one-on-one mentoring. He quickly got on the job and started giving him maths tutoring. At the same time, he engaged the boy in building a pedestrian together at a neighbouring property and empowered the boy to realise his strengths.
Ajay believes in empowering young people to see their strength. He says,“If a child enjoys talking, do not stop them, but help them see that they have a special skill, not held by others and label it as ‘you are good at speaking to others’. If a child is good at sensing how his friends or family feel in a situation, help the child see that it is a special skill and label it as ‘you are emotionally intuitive’. This brings confidence to the child and one begins to see them focusing in on their strengths and further you see them develop new strengths.
Ajay’s collaborative and community-driven approach in the longer run is a little step towards improving the life of many Kiwi youth and at the same time he is also setting up an example for many Kiwi Indians to break free from their comfort zone and reach out to the community to give back something from what they already have.