Volunteer

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March 2016

It’s been several months since I started teaching the neighbourhood kids.

Sometimes I visit the streets lining the slums from where  most kids come from. These weekend trips are to pick up cheap teaching aids (like laminated charts, cheap plastic replicas of objects, colouring books etc.). Incidentally weekdays are “dumma” days for the kids, when they just want to play and don’t want any classes, yet the glee and grin on their faces when they see me from a mile is worth a million gazillion.

Their approach is preceded by a loud shout “AKKA”, and before I know it several tiny hands clutch my wrist and lead me to their play zone – usually a make shift cricket pitch. Tiny, sweaty fingers, animated expressions and it’s easy to drown the chaos around.

These interactions are different from those on weekends – the kids are more relaxed and feel free to share their naughty excursions. Such walks give a good insight into what their life is like, and how they feel in general. It helps me plan for the week ahead , but most importantly it is such a great bonding exercise with a bonus of immediate peace.

There is just such a show of pure, genuine emotion that it is impossible not to melt.

Only time will tell, how much of their world I have managed to impact positively, but MY world, they have changed forever

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October 2015

my kids

I spend a month volunteering at a government run school.

The school has facilities to teach up to the 5th standard, but the resources run really low, with only two teachers and one helper.

Sometimes the 5th standard kids would be found teaching and handing out homework to their juniors in the 4th standard.

I had volunteered with the idea of teaching English, but ended up learning so much about patience and compassion. All these kids come from loving families, but have to face severe adversities. Most of them work at farms or help with a lot of housework, post school hours.

One thing I quickly learned was – these kids were sharp at identifying words and read rather well, but since they have almost always been directed to learn by rote, they were clueless on the meaning and applications of what they were learning.

I wasn’t sure if my approach showed them a new way to learn, but I tried to bring in some play, music and art to open their minds to possibilities of learning. I would sometimes take objects unfamiliar to them – sometimes, something as simple as Broccoli and base a whole session of stories and learning around the “unknown”. This came with its disadvantages though 🙂 – the kids only wanted to sing, dance and play and it would take much effort to keep up with their planned lessons schedule. 🙂

In the one month I was there, it took them a while to open up, as the student teacher dynamic I projected was much different than what they were used to. I tried to be their friend, and there were days when we would be frustrated with each other.

But there was lots of cheer and laughter too, and plenty that we learned from each other.

In the end, I hope I was able to open them to new ways of thinking, doing and questioning things. They already were a eager lot, and I hope I spiked their minds and hearts with the endless possibilities of a good education.

I will forever remember this experience and will always think of these kids with pride. Beautiful angels – so young, so eager and so brave to learn things so foreign.