11 Oct A Hi5 during the Joy of Giving Week
It was a singularly pleasant day in the garden city of India with an air of hope for all and sundry. That being said, it wasn’t yet another normal (lazy) Saturday for a few students of NMIMS, Bangalore who had volunteered to participate in this wonderful event Hi5 Club organized by Bhumi during the Joy of Giving Week.
A handful of us rendezvoused, as agreed, in the morning and travelled to the place where we had to wait for a teacher at a place called Iblur after which we were to be taken to the ‘crèche’. The teacher was on time and after the customary exchange of cordialities, we were taken through what one can call ‘nomadic tents’, the occupants of which were construction workers.These workers move from one temporary home to another as and when the location of their work changes. For this reason and also that they do not have the means to, their children do not go to school.
Recognizing their predicament, some NGOs try to bring education to them at their sites. One such NGO is ‘Sampark’. Teachers are sent to the locations of such temporary camps on construction sites where they spend time imparting education and knowledge to their little ones.
These appointed teachers are kind and patient enough to assist these students by setting up ‘crèches’ amidst the tents and provide them the elementary form education which they otherwise would be deprived of.
When we stepped into one of these crèches after a fair amount of walking, we were taken aback for a moment to see so many kids patiently waiting for their teacher to show up. An inexplicable feeling took over when we realized the eagerness with which these children were waiting for their teacher. In all fairness, these kids, should also be sent to schools like most of the “urban” kids, but sadly, their parents find it difficult to do so.
Well, we were determined to do what we could for these kids before us in the best possible way we could. Without further ado, we got to know the names of some of the kids as the others were a shade shy to open up to “alien characters” (us). We in turn introduced ourselves to them and got down to helping them to understand and learn the building blocks of language and mathematics.
There were kids from all age groups ranging 2 to 12 and so they were accordingly divided and each of us catered to the needs of particular groups. To be quite honest, it did require some amount of patience to sit and help them out, but to a large extent, it did give us that feeling of happiness when we were with them. Some kids were fast learners and were particularly enthusiastic to learn and continue learning whilst there were others who were none too keen to learn, as mentioned later by the teacher.
There is an assistant who helps the teacher manage the kids on a regular basis and there she was going about her chores this time, boiling milk for the kids. Most days many people take for granted that they have needs quintessential to a sustainable life in abundance and that there are many others who face the dearth for such needs more often than not. Some NGOs have enough funding to provide the kids with milk and biscuits and maybe basic food.
A serious food for thought that demands positive action.
Back to where I left off, the kids were made to sit in a circle and were each given half a glass of milk and 3 biscuits. After thanking the Almighty for this particular meal/drink/snack, the kids quietly consumed the milk and biscuits.
One could see unity and discipline being inculcated in these kids when it was time for some play/outdoor activity. We engaged the kids, in the game of passing the ball which they thoroughly enjoyed. Once that was done, we engaged them in some singing and dancing which was equally liked by them. At the end of the day, they were treated to 5-stars which they were more than happy to polish off.
And that made our day and also, theirs. It was an incredible experience for us all just to be amongst them. And when it was time for us to leave, some of the kids even asked us when we would next visit them! A heart-warming moment, it was.
But life goes on and we had to part with these wonderful children. We hope to be a part of these activities, once again, for it gave us joy when we gave to them a kind of happiness.