This summer vacation, I ran classes for a group of 14 children in the Kannamangala village. This is the story of their dreams. And of what I learned while teaching them.
The first class was in a room that served the combined purpose of a bedroom, kitchen, and living room. It was generously offered by the family of Shashank for me to teach the children of the village.
There were 14 of them - 7 boys and 7 girls. I knew some of them from my earlier interactions with them. I had volunteered to teach them in the summer vacation. And when the vacations came, it was time to fulfill that promise.
Santosa endu: The dream to be happy
The children are from different grades -- and have different abilities and talents. But they all have something in common: the desire to learn, and as one child put it in Kannada "Santosa endu" -- to be happy.
People always ask me 'why are you doing this'.? My answer is very simple 'I am doing this because it gives happiness' . It were those fourteen smiles that gave me the motivation to push myself beyond my comfort zone; it gave me the motivation to go beyond my bubble. In those five weeks I have received a tremondous amount of happiness and self satisfaction. Every time they said "Darsh Bhaiya" I felt accomplished not only as a mentor but as an individual.
Prayāṇa- The journey
Each kid has a dream. It can be doctor, engineer, singer, dancer, painter or even a sportsman. No matter what the dream is we believe that education is one the most powerful tools to realise it. If we were to educate them, we had to build a concrete foundation. We started our first class on April 8th, in a house which served as a classroom, bedroom and a kitchen. Initially we had 6 kids, in our first class we started of with teaching them the basics such as common words and phrases. So our journey began, a journey which had only one purpose; to realize those kids dreams through the power of education.
An introduction to possibilities
One of the most important things of any language is introduction or introducing yourself. For the next 4 days I only focused on making their introduction extremely strong. Now if anybody asks them "What is your name" they can comfortably respond to it. In the first week I also learnt some important skills and qualities such as leadership skills, management and organization skills and preseverence. No matter how hard the question was those 14 kids push themselves cause they were fueled by the desire to learn. So now it was my job to push myself and be the fuel that powers their desire.
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts (of speech)
Once the foundation had been laid I had to stretch their boundaries further by teaching them how to use the parts of speech in their daily vocabulary. It was important for them to understand what words they use, when they use it and why do they use it. Parts of speech also helped them describe a place, person and an object. Once again if I insisted them to challenge themselves that meant that I also had shift into another gear. I started to increase the duration of classes, I had to give them more frequent tests, I had to research more about the topics. It took a lot of handwork, but that didn't stop me from pushing myself. Every time I felt that I couldn't do it I closed my eyes and imagined those 14 smiles, especially the little Harshita's. That was enough for me to push myself. I also thought by doing this I making their dreams come true. It is those dreams and smiles that have given me the motivation to get out of my secured cocoon of luxury and go out there and make a difference in this society, irrespective of how small or big the change is.
Interactions in the real world
Now it was time to go big. It was time for them to learn more practical skills which will help them in their future immensely. Skills such as manners ordering food in a restaurant and even asking for directions. With these skills they could utilize their learnings to it's maximum. They could be more efficient and better speakers, by doing this they could also learn how to win friends and influence people. It was an enriching experience for me as an individual since to also taught me how important these skills are in our modern world.
The hunt for passion