Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lavadi vist two - Youth Motivation And SURPRISE!!! :)

Hello Friends,

It was a fine early morning when we started the day at 6.30 in the morning on 9th of April 2011. The day was beautiful to begin with and continued to get even better till the end. Rupesh, along with other volunteers Sunita and Vinita planned to visit Lavadi, The agenda for the day being as mentioned below-

·         To find out the learning levels of English of children from grades one to four.
·         To motivate and self organize the youth of the village to participate in betterment of the existing education system.
·         To assign simple responsibilities to the youth.
·         To gain an insight of the issues faced by the school teacher.
·         To identify the talents and interests of the children and plan for further training to enhance their potentials.
·         And a hidden agenda – SURPRISE! J

Taking the train to Badlapur via Dadar we coordinated the train timings and met at Badlapur station by 9.30. While waiting for Sunita who took a bus ride from Ambernath to Badlapur, we had a cuppa hot tea and some refreshments.

As soon as Sunita arrived, we headed to the ST bus depot to get the next bus to Lavadi which was at 10.40. Every minute was important as the teachers were going to be available only till 12.00. Unanimously we boarded into a Chakda to reach the village at the earliest; only to be kept on wait again because the 6-seater, according to the driver, was still empty (with only 10 in it then!! ) We decided to pay for the couple of vacant seats and the Tum-tum finally kicked off!!

Reaching the village we got off the Chakda, mobbed by a group of children getting in the same chakda as we. The ashram school children were now on vacation and happy to go home for a holiday. Chirpy bubbly chuckles and giggles all around sounded noisily melodious!


To our surprise we saw the village school was also closed, we met the 2 school teachers - Rupali madam & Kanchan madam - heading to the next village - Boradpada - for an important teachers meeting! They were all set to leave while we tried hard and convinced them so that atleast one of them could stay back for to be with us. Finally they agreed that Rupali Madam would go for the meeting while the other one, who, we later realized, is also the school principal, stayed back being with us.

Talking to her we gained a better insight into the levels of knowledge specifically in English. Taking the syllabus details from her we will now work on the summer support class for strengthening the foundation already laid. This we plan to achieve thru developing modules of General Knowledge, Language, Math and Art.The plan is to make sessions interesting and training kids.

We also got a feedback from the teacher about the ongoing computer lessons on weekdays. The teacher was a bit concerned about lending the school key to our elder students after the school hours. Her main concern was the responsibility of the school items and other elder boys/girls related issues. We assured her of all these things but it was difficult to make her budge over this. She suggested us to approach the education department in Ambernath and get a written consent for this off-the-hours-computer-class/practice in the school. (However she has no worries during weekends when LEAD is present).

While we conversed with the teacher there was a buzz among the children showing excitement to the presence to their favourite weekend visitors. While we worked the children were kept busy with a cd of Ramayan and some other animated stories playing on the computer.

After getting a feedback from the teacher, it was time for her to leave for the day. So now it was Rupesh and Vinita discussing further plans while Sunita left to call the youth group for the next session. Soon a little boy Bhanu comes in and calls us, “Madam ne saangitla paach minittaat yaa Renuka tai chya ghari.” So we headed to her house after having some fun with the kids.. There we see a huge group of children waiting near the house. Wondering to myself how there were so many children today I had no clue about the hidden agenda! A SOOOPER SURPRISE PARTY!!!! A secretly planned birthday party for me ..with sooooo many children and the entire youth gang and some parents. I was just speechless at this selfless expression of warm gestures of pure love just could not stop smiling at this hearty welcome! They all stood there smiling singing Happy Birthday to you!!! I had a birthday get-together the last night with my friends, little did I knew that the party would get extended in such a splashing style !!

It was indeed a truly special moment I will cherish for the rest of my life!!!

They made me stand at the door while one of the children burst the confetti balloon showering their love on me! As I entered the room my scanning eyes were seeing the beautiful and artistic decoration and the well decorated cake table lit with candles and fresh flowers was absolutely amazing. The entire room was decorated with hand picked flower bouquets and fan folded duppatas with a birthday banner and a hand painted design poster. The surprises flowing in one after the other left me spellbound.

The cake cutting, the beautifully made bouquet with peach colour cotton flowers neatly stuck in a basket looked pretty. The fresh flower gajras made by the girls made and put on our hair with tremendous affection. They bought a souvenir gift…so much effort went into planning this super event left me SPELLBOUND! It was all done in just one day's notice. Amazing efforts by everyone but the team passed on the major credit to their friends - Lalita and Rupesh.
Special thanks to all the children their parents, Sunita teacher, Rupesh Sir and LEAD for making it such a special day for me! Actually thank you seems a very small word to match my true feeling. We all had the chocolate cake bought by Sunita teacher J ( Thank you) Now we were to head back to the class and the girls say “Naaahii aajun kahi aahe!” J They get a plate of ‘Kande-pohe’ and a glass of soft drink and then we called for some more soft drinks and chocolates for the children. While we ate our meal, the girls Sayli and Deepa took pride in reading the detailed report about their visit to Juhu/Andheri. Indeed a lot of learning had already taken place! Loved every moment of the day and every gesture that made it special this is a gift to last for a lifetime!

Heading back to the school with the entire youth gang we started with the next session. Seeing their pictures on the Computer was nostalgic for them to re-live the moments of fun frolic and learning!

Our agenda was to motivate the youth to participate and take up responsibility for the betterment of the community by large. Playing motivational videos and giving them an insight about the activities of LEAD through videos and picture presentations. Till now, Rupesh Sir was just a college teacher for them, who had organized a weeklong camp in their village while Sunita and Vinita were his friends. Today was the first time that the youth got an idea about what LEAD is & what it does, understanding the essence of volunteering and making a difference in the human life.

We shared our views about creating a Youth Committee that would engage itself as a Support system to the existing Educational committee in the school (completely un-functional). Mainly their role being to encourage the younger children to attend school and help them with tutoring, story telling playing games and doing fun activities together.

Seeing the videos and listening to the pep talks given by Rupesh sir, the children were enthused and all geared up to take charge of their own life.

Now we have more helping hands to do the work in Lavadi! With all this it was time for us to head back and get the 5.10 bus to Badlapur. The entire youth gang walked us to the bus stop waving bye-bye at the end of a wonderful day!

You can check out the photos here:

We would love your involvement :) share your thoughts, views and suggestions with us :) we may get some more ideas to work better with the children at Lavadi ! Untill another episode of reports from Lavadi..... Cheers team LEAD !!

Vinita Shah
LEAD Foundation
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed unless it is faced."

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