Sunday, May 22, 2011

Origami Workshop

Clay Modeling Workshop

Dear All,

This is what I feel about clay modelling.

Clay working/modeling is very much engrossing activity and one forgets everything when involved in it.Clay is very much plastic in nature-it retains almost 100% of the impression that we impart on it and hence offers as beautiful medium for imparting shapes/images that we have in our imaginations.We are interacting with kids from poor economic strata,so poor that it is unable to absorb any problem raised by life as such.This 'subject' therefore reacts very effectively to activities like dance, music, play, drawings, dramatics, etc.It is proved that all these activities have therapeutic qualities in them. Clay modeling though it is one of them, very rarely attempted,especially in metros,where playing with mud is considered (and mostly is) as a health hazard.

So while interacting with kids in Borivali as well as in Airoli during the session I have observed kids' faces full of joy and exhibit creativity.They also show peace of mind and forget all possible tensions they have.Their eyes are simply glowing.Unlike their academic activity,of which they have tension of keeping every thing in mind and reproducing maximum while appearing in exam,is totally absent and they reflect simple happiness.
 I also have seen some kids complaining that they do not know,for example, how to make bird out of lump of clay,but after proper encouragement,they too are able to draw pleasure of creativity out of activity.

 In majority of the cases I simply wonder that they themselves aiming of making intricate models and at the end are able to achieve it successfully.You yourself can see kids making Ganesh idol and putting it in bullock cart.I would not have dared to attempt such complex target.I every time learn from these kids to set high aims and enjoy while working to attain it.

At the end of the session entire space we worked appears untidy but look at the kids; they are all busy seeing their own creation full of admiration and self respect, and talking to other fellow mates and commenting on each other's 'productions'.At that particular moment (and even during session too) they hardly pay any attention to outside world or to our instruction.It is really difficult and cruel role we play when we declare that," it is now end of this session'.

This activity is capable of making them aware of their own capability of contributing to creativity of their own standard and brings out self confidence in them.This activity has therapeutic  effect,(called ART THERAPY) and also widely practiced to open up subject when faced traumatic situation and is not at all in position to communicate or ready for counselling. 

We at LEAD/Dream India and similar thinking people are deeply involved to bring positive change whatsoever possible by us,for which we spend our time,efforts,money, perspiration,etc and there is nothing more satisfying for us than to see these kids with glowing faces and glittering eyes.

I forget that it is now late and I still have to travel back in crowded public transport and bit uncomfort due to tiredness or hunger or humid climate,because I got my reward(equivalent to Bharat Ratna) for the work I did.

Here are the snaps of the workshop:

Looking forward to repeat the session at Badalapur village.

S K Gawarikar

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Few lines about my experiences on my 1st day of LEAD Foundation

Dear Rupesh Sir,

I would like to share the most memorable day of my life with u………………….

Firstly I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity and secondly I would like to thank Sunita mam & those wonderful childrens for cooperating with me and to make me comfortable on my 1st day.

I called sunita mam on Friday for d sat’s schedule and we had decided to meet at around 12 pm at badlapur station. But Sunita mam had some work in kalyan so she told me either to leave my place after 1 hr or can go directly to the place. So I decided to go directly to the Lavadi village as per direction given by sunita mam. Mam told me to wait at sayali’s house, mam already informed her parents abt my visit. Luckily I met sayali wen I got down from the bus…she was in d same bus. I went with her to her place, sayali’s parents were so pleasing. Thanks to Sayali who served me lovely ‘kokam sharbat’, in such a hot temperature it was like amrut for me.

Then we went to renuka’s place. In the beginning I was bit nervous at the same time excited also but those kids were amazing, they make me feel comfortable and they have started chatting with me. They have also given short intro of them. When I entered renuka’s place I was surprised to see the kids wer doing some flower decoration in d house. They were running here and thr. I was again nd again asking them abt d decoration but they wer keeping mum. After sumtime I hv realized tht d kids wer planning bday party for their fav sunita mam. They have arranged so many beautiful things for sunita mam like flower decoration, sweets, gift and beautiful greeting card made by Rupesh. I am happy to see that those childrens are so creative and hardworking. And finally Sunita mam entered in d houses she was so happy to see everything arranged by those sweet kids for her. And our bday party started. After every second they wer given new new surprises to sunita mam and she was so happy. Lastly we had delicious poha made by renuka. And our party has finished.

Now its a study time so Sunita mam started with the introduction session of them and finally ended with mine too. In the meantime she explained me everything abt whatever covered till d date from English to computers and goals which we should achieve in d future.She had also given me an information abt our airoli project and
the contribution given by you in the project and also information abt some of our volunteers involved in the lavadi project like vinita mam, abhinay sir, nimit sir. Then she started with the English lecture. Sunita mam brought some green environment ka leaflet. She told each and every kid to read first 2 lines given in tht leaflet. And she explained them how to pronounce each word and meaning of each word in Marathi and told them to memorise each and every word. In d meantime kids were telling us abt what they have learned in computers (cut, copy, paste, save functions) from Nimit Sir. Then sunita mam started with some short sentences given in d “Rapidex english speaking book” and told them to read those sentences and now it’s a revision time. So she was asking them those sentences in Marathi and they have to give answer in English.

Those kids are so intelligent and the grasping power of those kids is so strong. After asking again and again they understood those sentences properly. Especially I have noticed tht Rupesh, sayali and renuka were giving answers instantly. Deepa was in a sleepy mood but she was also trying to give answers. We have write all those sentences on the black board so tht they can revise it latr. So that we can ask them all those sentences on the next sat and they can give answers. Vijaya and sachin have already note it down in thr notebook.

Its 4.30 now...and kids wer excited to go to some haldi function so mam decided to leave now. In the meantime renuka told us to wait as she ws making black tea for us. Then we had awesome “black tea”. Finally the most beautiful day of my life comes to an end and we left renuka’s place @ around 5 -5.15pm. and after 40-50 min ka timepass on the bus stop we catch the bus for badlapur station and reached at badlapur station and sunita mam took autorickshaw and I took the train to kalyan.

Rupesh sir really I had a great time. Thanks Once again to you and sunita mam for giving me this opportunity.

I think we can do lot more on maths and science section. We can improve the same by asking each and every student what is covered in their syllabus and what school peoples are teaching them and then accordingly we can improve their skills. We will concentrate on computers also. As per Sunita mam's schedule we are going to teach them internet also, so those kids will get more information about changing world also. As i have seen there is some electricity problem so the computer is not working properly. Sunita mam told me there is no earthing facility, so running computer is dangerous also. It would be more helpful if we can call some IT person / electric contractor to check this.

I am looking forward to work with “LEAD” in the future ahead in an efficient manner.

Thanks, Regards,
Kajal Gaikar

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dental Camp for Airoli kids

Hello friends,

LEAD had organized the dental camp for its Airoli children on 15th May 2011.Dr. Neha Gupta, a dentist from Powai was scheduled to arrive at around 4 pm, though the kids arrived much before. We could connect with her, special thanks for the efforts of Ashima from i-volunteer (an NGO that tries to connect the volunteers with different NGOs)

Rupesh, Kailash and Swagata were also present at the center. Dr. Neha started interacting with the kids meanwhile Rupesh went to pick up remaining kids .By 4:30 pm all kids assembled in the center.

Kids were divided in two groups to manage them better. Dr. Neha showed a presentation on her laptop along with a video describing “How to brush your teeth” for first group of kids. With help of this presentation Dr. Neha explained to the kids:

* Why do we need teeth?
* When to brush the teeth?
* What we need to brush the teeth?
* How to hold the toothbrush and how to brush the teeth and gums?

This was indeed an interactive session. After the video, Dr. Neha asked questions to evaluate their understanding. Kids amused her with humorous answers. E.g. to her question “Where will you keep your toothbrush?”, one of the kids answered “In my house!” ;-) After first batch finished with the video, the same was replayed for second batch. Meanwhile to keep the first batch kids engaged, Rupesh played the animated video of Alibaba on the center’s Desktop. Second batch kids also found the video of dental hygiene entertaining and informative. Now all the kids agreed that they have two new friends “Toothbrush” and “Toothpaste”. Dr. Neha told kids that they will be featured in the next presentation if they maintain white, shiny, clean teeth. So they promised to brush teeth regularly the way showed in video.

After making all kids aware of the importance of their dental health, Dr. Neha started with the dental check up. Each child was examined carefully. She also made detail notes of any tooth problem they had. I helped each one of them to rinse their teeth using the mouthwash provided by the doctor that was very enjoyable for them. In fact they wanted to do it once more. Few kids were hesitant to sit in the chair for check up. They were scared that doctor was going to give them injection. However they agreed after being convinced that it won’t hurt at all. After check up was done, all kids lined for the snap with Dr. Neha. Kids were so excited that it took almost 10-15 minutes to click one photo. After photo session children thanked Dr. Neha and left for home. Then Dr. Neha arranged the check up reports in three groups:

* One who need immediate treatment, these kids have major teeth problems and doctor advised that they should be taken to dentist ASAP. She also took their reports with her and vouched for making arrangements regarding their appointments with D.Y. Patil Dental hospital, Nerul
* Few kids have minor teeth problem which can be taken care by better habits as explained by doctor in her presentation. If possible they should also visit dentist for their treatment
* Other kids have good teeth and should maintain the same with regular brushing habits.

In the end, Kailash and I expressed our gratitude to Dr. Neha on behalf of entire LEAD team. Dr. Neha was also very happy for having opportunity to spend time with our kids. She discussed with Kailash regarding the various activities LEAD has been initiating and showed her interest to participate in the future events.

Here is the link to the snaps:

Thanks & Regards

LEAD Foundation

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Aptitude Testing and Counseling for our Lavadi village students

Hello Friends,

This Saturday (14th May) we could pull off an activity for these rural students that assumes a very high significance for every SSC student & his parent...

Thanks to one of the LEAD posters put up in one of the societies' notice-boards in Sec-15 Airoli, a guy - Mr. Suresh Deshmukh called me up one evening expressing his intention to volunteer for LEAD. I met him and tried to connect him with our sec-14 kids but he expressed his inability to handle the younger kids. He told me that he is a teacher in one of the schools in Airoli teaching class-9 & 10 students & can teach the elder kids. Also, he is one of the trained personnel from the Institute of Vocational Guidance & Selection, an institution recognized & funded by Govt of Maharashtra that organizes an excellent, comprehensive & Free 4-day career counseling program for limited number of SSC and HSC students every year, based on the first cum first serve basis.

So I immidaietly shared the details of our Lavadi project with him - esp. the SSC students and then he guided me to approach the main office of IVGS near St.Xaviers college. He warned me that we were too late and hence I had to turn up in their office premises on the next day itself to speak to the Education officer with a written application requesting to organize this test and counseling program for some of the most needy students of this state.

The lady though initially refused to budge, as we were late & there were no question papers left but then agreed to support looking at our work and passion to guide these village students.
She called up Mr.Deshmukh to organize this program within the village itself. Considering that we were late and the trainer was going to come to the village itself that too just for 10-12 students, it was a SUPER NEWS for us !!

However, this guy Mr. Deshmukh wanted to finish off this 4-day stuff within a day itself and hence we went to meet his colleague in Ghansoli who is also involved in this work. It was a real task for me making him convince about our genuine intentions for these rural students. Why are you doing this work? What made you go there ? You are doing all these without any fees ? How do you get time ? And what not !!  but finally, I could satisfy him to his fullest and now he is more excited about this project ;-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Scientific Trip

Hello friends,  

It was not an ordinary Sunday, because on ordinary Sundays we don’t get up at 6.30 in the morning. It was special because we along with our evening batch kids were going for an excursion to Nehru Science Center & Nehru Planetarium and we had to be at the center by 7.45 am. The kids came in early by 7.30am- all well dressed and waiting for their teachers to arrive. The kids were super excited and the teachers were all ready for the day. (Amruta Teacher, Deepali Teachers because there were two Deepalis -Sadanand Sir, Rupesh Sir and Lakshmi Teacher). One of our volunteer Kailash's daughter Manisha too had joined this bacchha-party!

We had lots of snacks and water bottles with us. But we still had to take the Breakfast & Lunch packets. Carrying everything would have been difficult. So we just took 2 bottles (kids had brought their water bottles) and few biscuits and cakes. The humidity level was high so was the energy level of kids. We made pairs of kids and started the trip. On the way we collected the lunch packets from Vasanti Aunty. Just 10 mins walk and the kids were already thirsty. They finished around 5-6 bottles of water at Vasanti Aunty’s place (we picked up our food for Lunch from Vasanti Aunty’s place). We felt we should have taken more water bottles. In next 15 mins we were at Airoli station. Both Deepali teachers meanwhile joined us. Rupesh Sir also came there with Breakfast- Idlis & 2 new members (???) We got the tickets and went to the platform No 1 .Here we divided ourselves in groups, so that each volunteer could take care of 3-4 students. And now it was time for introduction of these 2 new members. Both the boys introduced themselves to the group in English.
Antaryami- has given his 12th Commerce exam. Learning Computers and soft skills in Sion. (Program conducted by an NGO-Each one Teach One) Ajay (Antaryami’s brother)-has given 10th exam.

(LEAD has helped these boys in their education by making arrangements for their educational fees. On advice of Rupesh Sir they are learning computer and soft skills that will help them in future)

We took the train to Thane and from there a fast local starting from Thane. The train started and along with started the most popular game- Antakshari ;-) From recent songs to Marathi songs to old Hindi songs. We were amazed to listen to those old songs!!

Singing, giggling and clicking photos the time passed really fast. We got down at Byculla station and took a bus to Nehru Science Center. Rupesh Sir had already made the ticket arrangements a week back. Since we had a show at 11.00am we decided to have breakfast-Idli and chutney.

Faces were glowing and eyes were trying to capture everything. We headed straight to the hall on 1st floor for a 3D show. The special Goggles were On---Lights Off and soon we were in midst of hissing snake, crazy rats, neurons and blood cells. Curious and scared kids were making hand movements in air. This thrilling show ended after 20 mins. ”Teacher bhiti watli!!” said most of the kids.

Then began our tour of science center. Nine galleries and 2 shows in just 4 hours means we had to be quick. The guide started explaining the exhibits – The 1stgallery – Science for children -- but it was difficult for her to manage 20 kids…So we again made groups and started explaining.

Funny mirror reflections, white and black plate (concept of radiation), many needles (pressure concept), face on plate and so on…..Kids were so excited that they could not decide which one to watch first and which one to watch second.

Next we had a show –Tara Mandal”. A mini planetarium! We had to crawl into a tent like structure. The guide took us on tour of various “Nakshatras” (constellations) and told us the interesting mythological stories to remember their names and positions. We enjoyed the night sky ambience and learnt about stars, planets, constellations etc. in the interactive demonstration in an inflatable planetarium dome. 

After that we had a movie show- Science Odyssey – Projection on a dome shaped screen with fish-eye lens projector to give you an immersible experience. We were shown a movie on protection of Coral reefs. It was Colorful, exciting and informative but at the end some of the kids started complaining about the headache.

It was almost 1.00 pm- Lunch time! Vegetable Pulau, pickle and Kokam sherbet…now everyone was feeling better.

After lunch we moved on to the next gallery- Sound & Hearing. It was very noisy –full of all sorts of sounds. Kids went around beating drums, blowing pipes and walking on piano. Time was running out. We moved to the next galleries – Light & Sight - and then Human & Machine “Ye sachi ka hai kya?” asked kids after seeing the brain specimen. They shook hands with a statue to hear “Hello, and made the movements of a skeleton with the help of stick (concept-right side of brain controls the left side of body)

Kids had great time seeing the working models. But as many of these concepts have not been taught to them in school they could not appreciate the models in true sense.

We had a Hindi show at 4.30pm at Nehru Planetarium. So we could not see other galleries. We had to bid bye to the Nehru Science Center, thanking the 3 wonderful guides. Waiting for the bus now in the sun, we were yearning for water. So we had some juicy mangolaa at the bus stop.

We reached Nehru Planetarium at 4.15pm. The cool entrance hall helped us relax and then we headed to the dome hall. Lights Off…. few stars in the sky…and few more…and many many more……constellations…..origin of universe…planets…sun…..death of star…all these in the backdrop of stern and and then …Lights ON….

After the show we decided to go to Haji Ali .We decided to make the kids walk & experience the wonderful feeling of walking by the roaring Arabian sea rather than taking a bus. But with every step the distance appeared to increase, but some photo-sessions on the way were a good relief. We covered the stretch up to the main circle only. But learnt that there was lot of rush on the connecting road. We dropped the idea. Now it was time to return .But how??? Buses were crowded and no taxiwalla was ready to come to Byculla station. Luckily we got one taxi and subsequently the other two.

Took Kasara fast local and came back to Thane. And then from Thane to Airoli. Bid good bye to everyone. Now left were Amruta and Rupesh at Airoli station with the kids. Rupesh arranged rickshaw for Rupali who stays in Sathey Nagar & took Airoli gaav kids along with him in another auto. Sec-17 kids went on their own.

And the extra ordinary Sunday thus came to an end ;-)

Here is the link to the snaps:

Thanks and Regards
Amruta Lokhande
LEAD Foundation

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fun in the Garden on 1st May

Dear All,

Please find below link for photos of 1st may celebration by LEAD.

It was great experience for all of us.