Hyderabad was getting hotter, I always cover my face completely when I come to office, so much that, one literally has to search for one visible portion of my face, so that I do not get tanned. And then my eyes fell upon on the bare bodies of a toddler barely months old and her brother who must have been about a year old, both sitting on the ground and begging for alms. The sight was saddening, frustrating and to comfort myself I took out a biscuit packet from my bag and offer it to them. As I turn around I see 4 kids standing behind me, with their hands rubbing against their flat tummies asking me for help. But I don’t not have so much to help. So I console myself telling I did what I could and I can’t do anything more.
But the sight and plight of these little kids did not leave me. They haunted me in the night, I was unable to brush away their thoughts, it was true that I couldn’t help them with money, but one thing I know is that Education is power. So why did I tell you the whole story? Well, it was this which pushed me towards doing something for kids, who are our budding future. As luck shined upon me, I found a great platform, Make A Difference (MAD) to reach out to the kids, and got a chance to teach less advantaged kids English. My weekends became more eventful meeting kids, teaching them, nurturing them and putting a smile on their faces.
My most memorable volunteering act was when I got a chance to stay back with my students for a day. It was not an outing or a picnic with my kids but it was living their life with them and being them every moment.
I teach at a center in Koti, where I only and only faced problems. The classes are conducted upstairs, between which is the kitchen and the bathroom. The bathroom is literally a huge puddle of dirty water which has been leaking out drains whose repair is always promised but never done. So there is unbearable stink, no lights in their rooms and dusty beds. I am generally the hygiene freak and can’t handle shabbiness at all but yet one thing which kept me going through was the undying passion and welcoming behavior of our kids.
So we the Passionate teachers remembered all our promises, rewinded all our thoughts, and realized “We were here to support them, we were to bring a change in their Lives .. We were not here to just teach them English , but to make a difference in their lives, we were here to mould them to be good and teach them our experiences too !! So we felt we were supposed to bond with them and treat them like our little brothers and sisters.
It was time they became our friends and so we decided to spend a night at their hostel, and make them feel at home. Kids were shocked seeing us at their center even after 9 and their happiness had no bounds when we told them that we will be staying there.
Initially I had a lot of apprehensions in my mind, but I had to uncover their emotions, sit next to them and counsel them. We never oofed a bit about the stench because we never wanted our kids to feel even a little bad. But among all of them, there was one kid, Rakesh, the youngest of all, who seemed very different. He did not go unnoticed, on the first week, he showed a lot of interest to learn, but to our surprise he became quietest in the next class. He did not say a word, we felt; he is a kid and could be in a bad mood. The next week, went super awesome; he had just seen, Ega( a 3D telugu movie) and liked to be called only nani(the hero), and he did his workbook even after the class time. But this was not for long, he seemed very silent in the next class again, we tried talking to him, given that we were close now, we thought he would react. But all in vain, he did not want to talk and in spite of our efforts we realized that, if he did not want to do something, he would not do it.
Though Rakesh still remained a mystery, we got to know, Rakesh’s father had passed away and did I tell you, his mom had died when he was just a baby. His uncle supposedly hits him and scolds him very badly, and also he has his brother staying at the same centre and who studies in the Primary section. So a little kid of 9, who has undergone so much of trauma, we have to handle him even better and eventually we will become his best friends. For now all we want is to take care of him.
I can just say that day was one of the most memorable days of my life. The hospitality we got that night from those tiny tots was overwhelming…!!
On a positive note We came to know a lot about other kids on that day … there were many Story Writers, Poets, Scientists and Artists. Seeing their work We really felt proud to be their teachers We have another master plan lined up and it is We stay at the center once in a month 🙂
Every Kid is really like a sapling and this is not some philosophy but truth. You do not nurture it, it dries and eventually withers away. It’s my pride to say, I work for an organization like Oracle, since apart from its invincible technological presence but the expanse of the volunteer activities it takes up. Be it the ORA FORA, Clothes drive, Diwali celebrations with NGOs selling handmade candles, and not to forget the Volunteer activities conducted in innumerous schools for underprivileged children. It is also heart rendering to see so many of my colleagues who have taken up a child’s responsibility without any apprehensions of money.
We spend thousands on our needs, do online shopping which is mostly to buy something which is in excess, we eat junk and spend money but kids who have lost the support of their near and dear, for whom every person they meet seems like a evil monster, waiting to pounce upon them, to make them disabled for begging. A few fortunate ones become a part of NGOs, where they are reborn again.
They have lost their childhood somewhere, you can help them find it becoming a child yourself. Don’t stop believing J