I started off as a science teacher at ACTT and this year I have been working as the Human Capital Fellow, in Kolkata. Dream Camp has been a word that has left every MADster intrigued, including me. Last year, I could not attend Dream Camp due to certain family issues, and as a result my kid stopped talking to me for over a month.
After a year long wait I had the chance to look forward to attending the Dream Camp with my kids and it is highly possible that I was way more excited than they were. But sometimes life gives you a strong blow just when you are the happiest. A few weeks prior to Camp we came to know that ACTT, one of our centres, was shutting down due to lack of funds. A few days went by before I could accept what had just happened. No I still have not come to terms with the fact that my second home, my ‘temple of love’ will no longer be.
That my kid, who could top a college exam, could be struggling to survive tomorrow, haunts me still.
But given the situation, our best bet was to do all that we could for our kids to make their last Dream Camp, a good one. Next came the need to design different set of sessions for them, since we could use this as an opportunity to prepare them in some way for the world outside. I was a teacher of Class 10th and deep in my heart I knew that even though my kids had very passionate dreams, most of them made little distinction between hobbies and career choices.
Moreover they hardly had any idea regarding the path that would lead to their dreams.
This concern with the aid of a little brain-storming, gave birth to what we call the “Dream Path Session”, where we sat with the kids to not not just zero in on what their career goals were but also to help them research on how to go about achieving these goals. College Entrance Exams, Courses, Job opportunities, future employers, skill sets, we researched on everything. We even told them how important it was to have multiple career options.
Once the session was in full swing, I took a back seat and let the mentors work their magic. Sitting in one corner was a girl who’s heart was overwhelmed with all the passion in these young eyes and all the love around. Her eyes were about to burst with tears but somehow she managed to get a hold of herself.
That girl was me.
A little later two kids – Mahesh , who has been the naughtiest and Rajesh, a thorough gentleman, expressed that they wished to be social workers one day. Since it is my goal too, to work in the social sector, I sat with them to understand what exactly they wanted to do. They then started talking about how there were a lot of children who needed love, care and education and that they wanted to give the millions of other children like them the same.
Mahesh said, ‘ MAD er didi dada ra jaa korey orokom kichu kortey chai. Erokom bodh hoy aar keu korena.’ This roughly translates into, ‘ I wanted to do something like MAD didis and bhaiyas. No one else probably does anything like that. ‘ I kept talking about possible colleges,courses and skills we would need in this field. We even did a closure activity where the kids drew a pyramid with blocks in which they filled things they wanted to be good at, things they were already good at, and other little blocks that made their life.
At the top of the pyramid, they placed what they really wanted from life. All the kids were beaming with joy and a spark of confidence in their eyes and all this while, my heart was swelling with pride and I wanted to go out and cry loudly. I had come closest to the feeling people describe as – fulfilling. All those late night calls for Dream Camp preparation, the hard work and all those tears later, I know for sure that wherever they might be tomorrow and whether or not I’m physically by them the seed has successfully been sown and the blossom is not so far.