By Somdatta Roychowdhuri
It had been hanging on the board for a while, that poster. All of us had checked it out – you don’t see that kind of creativity displayed every day. It said in bold “GO MAD”. Little did we know how much it would mean to us in a matter of few weeks.
An orientation, a recruitment drive and a training later, we were all set for the D-Day: Ice-breakers.
ACTT, CMO (Girls) and CMO (Boys), were the three centers where we were to teach a total of 86 students of age group 5 to 15. The volunteers were paired up and allotted groups comprising 7-8 children.
All of us had our first impression jitters moments! The volunteers wanted to impress the kids and vice versa. :D However on arriving at the centers all of our inhibitions seemed to vanish and we readily got along fine (and fun!) with the kids.
Icebreakers are incomplete without games and activities, and as planned earlier, we organized fun activities for our kids, like musical chairs and ‘colourman’. It was super fun and the children were more than eager when we had our round of intros.
We memorized their names really fast, something that never fails to please kids (and adults, alike!). Later, all of us were even more surprised when some of them went on ahead and performed some acts for us (skits and dance being the major shows).
As the icebreakers progressed (and so did the smiles), most of the kids had already found themselves their favourite volunteer ‘didis’ and ‘bhaiyyas’. The essential part of the Icebreakers was the distribution of the textbooks that we were to use for the current academic year. The kids were absolutely delighted and inscribed their names on the books there and then itself.
Before we left, all of us stood in large circles and “chicken danced”!! While some of them were shy and needed encouragement, the others were ‘bindaas’ :D. When it was finally time to go, the kids stubbornly refused to let go until we promised to be back the next week. They even asked us to put it on paper and sign our names for them, as they weren’t convinced.
And for our part, we can’t wait till the next weekend when we go back to them.
Formally, our first classes… something we shall remember forever! It feels great to be superhero-like in the eyes of our kids and somehow the caption on the poster in college sounds possible – “You don’t really need a cape and tights to Make A Difference.”