05 Apr Pongal with a touch of colour
We all remember what it was like in school to have seemingly endless hours of classes, with one eye on the watch and ears ready for the bell, while the teacher went on and on. Though these classes made up most part of our school lives, it is funny how when we look back, it is the sports days, annual days and cultural fests that we remember the most. Not only did these events give us a much deserved break but also helped us in bonding with our peers and our teachers. The very teachers who otherwise had a formidable image suddenly became an integral part of all the activities and to this day we cherish the valuable time spent with them.
So why should Bhumi’s classes be any different. True, our primary goal is to teach. However, we volunteers don’t want to be remembered in the sole capacity of teachers. Nor do we want our weekly sessions to turn into drab lectures that students try to wriggle out of. Besides, we figured that organizing a fun event in our centre would also earn us a few brownie points! 😉
The occasion of Pongal presented us with just the opportunity we were looking for. We decided to celebrate it by conducting a poster-making competition. Though unsure about the response this would evoke from the students, we decided to give it a shot anyway. To our relief, the announcement was met with great excitement. A volley of questions was thrown at us about the theme, the date of submission, and most importantly the prizes that would be given away 🙂 After answering all their questions, we departed, happy that we had managed to stoke the interest of the kids.
The next time we met for class, we were greeted with rolls of colored chart paper. We were glad to note that many kids had turned up with posters. As they handed in the posters to us one by one, we volunteers couldn’t wait to see what each one had in store. And as we took a look at the posters, we were amazed by the time and effort that had gone into making each one of them. The competition had brought many kids’ latent creativity to fore and we were going to have a tough time choosing the best poster.
After much consideration, we came up with two winners – one from among the boys and the other from among the girls. It was decided that we would announce the results in the following week and mark the occasion as YMCA centre’s Pongal celebration.
The following week, we asked the kids to wait patiently for the end of class before we could announce the winners. What we didn’t tell them was that we had planned to award all students who had participated in the competition. At the end of class, we began calling out the names of all the participants. It was great to see all of them come ahead to accept their prize and eagerly pose for the camera. However, the highlight of the event was seeing all the other kids clapping and cheering for their peers. We felt assured that the next time around, the number of kids participating would only increase.
The Pongal celebration was a good attempt at bridging the gap between volunteers and the students. We are elated that we managed to pull it off. Hopefully, we’ll organize more events in the future and have all the kids in our centre contributing in their own small way. Overall, it was a wonderful start to a promising year ahead 🙂