Monday, September 29, 2008

Student Volunteers Meeting

Volunteers Meeting

Hello frnds..
sorry this email also has again becum a huge 1... ;-)

It was a good discussion on Sunday with Ameeta Iyer and her husband Ramesh. Also some valuable ideas were aired by Arun, Kailash, Beena, Dipti and Pravin. Below are some of the points which were discussed:
This Saturday we got much good news from our NMMC school teachers.
Firstly they were happy that our kids are progressing well and appreciated the efforts taken by our passionate student volunteers. Above all they discussed their plan to start up ‘Setu varga’ (bridge class) for 2 categories of students—1) who approach school after the admission process 2) whom they find are more intelligent and hence can be bridged to the upper classes rather than 1st standard. So there are chances that some of our baal wadi and class one kids getting bridged to upper classes directly as appropriate as per their performances in their tests conducted in this special class. They also said that it’s mainly because of all our activities with these kids that have made them think of this creative idea. In fact they requested us to get some more such kids who want to study in the school & they will be immediately admitted in this class without any affidavit stuff. I have come across 2-3 kids who can be benefited by this initiative now. Congrats to all of us !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Regarding Sarika.. 12-13 yr old, excellent brilliant girl who stopped going to school a week back because she and her parents kept demanding that class one is too low for her. Secondly they also have some attraction towards the nearby institute called Premdan, a place run by Mother Teresa community. It is mainly a house for disabled (physically and mentally) women and children. However they conduct some activities like teaching, sewing clothes etc which they keep it open for slum kids too. Also these slum people get some donated food, clothes etc from this place. After hearing from school teachers about sarika’s absence, I had tried a lot to convince/persuade for the formal education/ long term picture but virtually gave up after being humiliated and ridiculed by them. However continuous queries from some of our highly motivated volunteers again energized us & made us more determined and thanks to arun & Kailash, we went to her place again on Sunday and could some how persuade their parents and sarika for meeting the school teacher regarding this setu- varga. Hope they would have gone today !!!
Talked about laxman again – the 6 yr blind child , because of whom we could not admit the brilliant most energetic girl of the area—saroja…. Her questions ‘mujhe kab school mein daalega???’ still resonates in our minds… our efforts of taking their parents to blind school in worli have failed twice.. !!!!!!!!!!!
Two more such eager girls Madhuri and Eingatti … bogged down by the burden of their younger brothers/sisters…. We have to start teaching them too asap………….
Our student volunteers are too disappointed a bit as they will have to stop this tution activity from 1st to 12 th October due to their exams…… A big question before us..
Wont it be dangerous to break this hard-earned discipline/rhythm of the kids about this attending tuitions???????????????
The only possible way to root out the above obstacles/circumstances is continuous Flow of Volunteers. We will have to get more and more number of dedicated and passionate minds by talking to bodies like sosva, Ivolunteer, karmayog, Teach India etc…………

Then again there will be again some camps etc for student-volunteers !!!
Sorry, gone bit out of the track..
Then we also discussed among us to have a word with ours frnds/ neighbours/ colleogues for the toys/books/ clothes for our kids over here..... CLOTHES IS THE HIGHEST PRIORITY HERE ESP for GIRLS…………

We have some teachers coming in from my school (Navodaya English high School, Mulund).. me & beena have talked at gr88 lengths about this activity to them. The question they ask us now is we want to contribute to this project. What will be our role?? Of course the role of volunteer is implicitly open to all of us/them. But lets think if we can tap these experienced mentors for further adding some value to our project here…??
They will be coming in diwali vacation to meet these slum kids…

We thought of having some medical checkups for these kids & kind of making their health reports…. Pravin, my school mate who is also the team member of this project now is a Doctor. So we will be having a good support from him.

Then we should also think of some extra-cirricular activities for these kids.. identifying & nurturing their skills !!!!!!!!!!! so if some drawing/ craft / music teacher?????

Finally All 5 of us divided the 15 student volunteers among us so that the interaction with them becomes easier. We have also told the student volunteers that the founders of DI will be speaking to you soon ;-)

We need to purchase blackboard/ duster/ chalks/marathi charts etc for our tution places…
Ya.. very important.. Ameeta Iyer…this energetic lady, founder of New Era foundation NGO and her husband (he is into corporate training soft skills counseling etc…) have till now helped us a lot by providing us the place for tution classes in the evening, she has also promised for providing some training for our student volunteers thus making them better teachers for our kids & organizing some workshops like English speaking, career counseling etc for them may be at very nominal charges. They also promised to help counseling the parents of our slum-kids. Obviously a holistic approach!


Regards
Rupesh

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