21 Aug Volunteering Stories from Kolkata
“Di, what is your relationship with us? You are our big sister, right? “, demanded 13-year-old Ravi. Quite angrily. Now our volunteer, Shraddha, who had just refused chocolates that her students were trying to give her (to be polite), was stumped.
The children of Saujatya Shelter Home for Boys had received chocolates and biscuits after a corporate event on a particular Saturday and the computer students wanted to share those with their “didi” who had gone to teach.
Now Shraddha had to accept them, all the while laughing. When another kid, Aditya, offered her biscuits, Shraddha took them without hesitation. It was her favourite, she confessed later. Seeing this, Ravi quipped, “That’s more like my real sister”. Later Shraddha said, “This is my motivation for never missing the classes – the bond can never be replaced and now I feel like I belong there, it’s one of the most precious moments I have had in Bhumi, while teaching.”
A few weeks later, some 5 km away, the students of Tiljala Shed celebrated Independence Day, like other Bhumi Kanini students, by making PowerPoint presentations and Word Documents on the theme ‘Independence’.
The children were excited when their Annu di asked them to make Independence Day postcards. Some of them suggested adding cautionary messages like ‘save water’ while others wanted to promote ‘Education for all’ through their postcards. They even added slogans in Hindi. Annu said, “It feels very nice to see the efforts they put in to make beautiful postcards. Their thought process, teamwork, discussion on topic before starting any work, everything, really amazed me.”
The rapport that we, the current volunteers of Kanini, chapter Kolkata have with our children is almost perfect. They wait for their weekend classes almost as eagerly as we wait to go meet them, chat with them a bit and impart as much knowledge as we can. Bhumi classes are little rewards that we wait for during our gruelling week and it energizes us for the next week ahead.
Contributor: Rima Chowdhury, Volunteer
Bhumi’s Ignite Programme at shelter homes, supported by corporates like Oracle, BNP Paribas, Flex, and IM Gears Pvt. Ltd., provides supplementary education through weekend volunteering.