By: Supraja Subramanian
Edited By: Raichand
It was the day before Diwali and our college had generously given us a holiday. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect, I must admit, because it was the same day that we were to take our kids for a one-day placement activity. So off we went to NMAMIT, Nitte for Pathshaala ’11! It was organized as part of their tech fest by AURA in association with MAD.
After failed attempts at playing anatakshri on the one and a half hour ride to the venue, the girls spoke about their school and the boys confiscated our phones mastering the art of fruit ninja. (Note to self: download interactive educational games for the next placement activity).
It was 10 when we reached NITTE. The girls from Baalika Ashram who had reached before us had already had their breakfast and were waiting for us at the Sambharan hall with the colourful files that they just got. Without much ado, the kids were divided into groups of 20 each. They were taken to different classrooms where the NITTE students were giving talks about various professions. The kids were also given a hand-out about that stall for their keeping.
First up was medicine. They spoke to the kids about responsibilities of doctors and nurses and what they have to study to become one. This was followed by a short skit by the volunteers.
The kids participated in a quiz where they promptly answered all the contents of a first aid box. To wrap it all up, the kids got to become doctors, hearing each other’s heart beat. They looked so cute in the oversized white coats, stethoscope in their ears!
They spoke to the kids about the building blocks of engineering (literally with bricks). Each branch was explained with models and tools. Being their home ground, the volunteers were able to provide ample information to keep the kids hooked.
This stall had the most show of hands for the introductory question “who wants to be a teacher?”
The kids were told about what to study and what different kind of teachers they could become.
There was an interactive video session detailing the latest advances in the defense sector as well as the various career opportunities that the kids could avail. One of the NITTE students dressed up as an army officer, interacted with the kids.
The kids showed the most excitement while entering this classroom. They were told about different kinds of music and were shown how to play different musical instruments. The kids were encouraged to sing songs at the end of the session.
This was everyone’s favorite classroom. Not only was it their favorite hobby but also they got stickers of their favorite sport here.
The volunteers were taken aback with all the prompt answers that our kids gave. Cricketers’ names were bouncing off the walls every time the T20 championship photo came up on any slide. “Sachin, Shewag, Ghambir, Yusuf,” they all screamed. And it was not just cricket!
The kids spoke about chess, badminton, tennis and of course football. When asked “do you all know any football player form India?” Manoj got up, and with a lot of confidence and said “ME!!”. The volunteers couldn’t stop applauding.
Here they talked to the children about different art forms like Dance, Music, Photography, Animation et al followed by a origami workshop where the kids were taught to make cute, small characters out of paper.
Before lunch, the kids were shown a small skit by the theatre group about social work and how we can do small things to make a difference.
The kids then ran out to have lunch giving their most valued possessions; the files to the volunteers in-charge instructing us to keep them carefully till they finished eating. They ate superbly quick so that they could go back to the stalls they hadn’t gone to yet, that all their other friends were talking about.
One could smell excitement everywhere in the canteen!
It was 3 when all the kids had finished off with their stalls and were brimming with happiness seeing their files filled with awesomeness. And that’s when they found out; it was time to go to the computer lab!
After the kids were taught to use paint and notepad, they were allowed to play computer games.
Everyone was busy with their heads glued to the screen typing, drawing and erasing. There were colorful houses, mountains and smiling faces but most of it, I must say, was modern art.
Some children typed out all their friends’ names. Then kids began to play: Road rash, chicken invader and Balloon shooter! Most of the children then started to defeat their annas and Akkas at road rash!
It was 4 and we were back at Sambharan. The day was about to get over and the kids knew it was time to go back. Their faces beamed up with excitement when they were all provided with a stationary box each.
Then the kids spoke about their experiences through the day. It was so heartwarming to hear all the happy responses and smiling faces say: “Thank you akka, anna.”
How is it Diwali without sweets? Or how is it Diwali without lighting deepas? Sweets in hand, the kids went to light the deepas.
Finally it was time to go back. Smiling faces said goodbyes to their newly found favourtie akkas and annas. When we finally boarded the bus, all the children sat, content with their treasured files and geometry boxes in their hands. They discussed their experiences throughout the journey, till we reached back to the centers.
This was one day that neither the children nor we volunteers would ever forget. This Diwali was not only a festival of lights but also festival of enlightenment and learning.