Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back to School...

Saturday morning 5. 45 am! I don't remember when I saw that last. May be on a vacation to witness the Sunrise or decades ago--to get ready for school! On Feb 25, 2012 it seemed like I was reliving my school days. I was up in the morning and running to school! And all this thanks to the lovely kids of Navjivan school, Mumbai.

Though my association with the school was temporary and I met my students only on Saturdays over 4 months, we spent a lot of time having fun. I was associated with this school as a voluntary teacher on the Teach English Project, part of an initiative by an NGO, Dharma Bharathi. Thanks to the socially aware organization I work with, I met this NGO through a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. The introduction was through another reputed NGO- ivolunterers.

The project concluded on Feb 25 with a gala Annual Day function. The venue was an auditorium in Chembur, Mumbai and students from 12 schools that have been adopted by Dharma Bharathi participated. My students stole the show on that day. We had three performances-- a drama, duet song, and a group dance.

The group dance set the stage on fire and the audience requested a repeat performance. So, these little bravehearts waited till the end of all other performances and a rather lengthy awards ceremony to go up on stage again. They were tired, hungry and some even sleepy. But the combined energy and positivity they exuberated was exemplary. The enthusiasm to go up on stage again kept the tired faces smiling.

At the end of the program, we volunteers teamed up again and the whole gang returned back to our favorite Navjivan school laughing and singing all the way. The to-and-fro bus journey was great fun and the children never got tired of yelling, giggling, smiling and pulling pranks :). I totally understand how satisfying and yet tiring it is to be a teacher and manage 50 odd students in a class!!! At the corporate world. we make such a hue and cry about team management and project management and blah... but managing Class V to VIII students is quite a challenge :p.

When we bid adieu to the students, all of us felt very bad. Ankur Goyal from our team got the Best Volunteer Award from our school.

Prakash, Ankur, Nehal, Mahesh, Ritu, Prateek, Rakhee, Suneeta and I- along with all other vounteers - were thinking how fast these 4 months had passed. Kudos to Ajay Dhooth--the coordinator from our school who made this event a grand success. He also bagged the best Project Coordinator award at the function. 

Last but not the least, had it not been for Kajol Basu--our main support and the organizer of the whole event on 25th Feb, our students wouldn't get a chance to perform. Kajol worked relentlessly over months to bring us all together, impart sessions to us on how to teach, seek feedback from us at regular intervals and send us training material. Hat's off to the tenacity and determination, she surely qualifies to be a new age social reformer.

I hope we have another program with the students again next year. All volunteers thought 4 months was quite less to bring the children totally up-to speed with an almost new language. So, investing at least a year would be more meaningful. So, I'll wait till next year's plans open up.

Till then, I wish my students luck, love and laughter! God bless the angels always. Amen!

Here are some pics I clicked to capture moments from the D day and on the final day of rehersal:
Bharatmata- the showstopper of the group dance
Make up session

Sankesh who played Hindi Professor at the play
The awesome children as audience
A glimpse from the Group dance

and another
The 'porey porey' boys set the stage on fire

The Drama team in action

Magic show for the kids
Dance Rehersals

Volunteers chit-o-chat

Grabbing a quick bite

Naughty and lovable young heroes


  1. So lovely to see the pics...!!! Proud to know you dear!!! :)

    1. Thanks Brindha! And the feeling is mutual :)