Thursday, November 30, 2006

“Maaya” Kannan

Around six months back, I had the opportunity of meeting Kannan, a student of the RT Nagar Tamil School. The occasion was the Lucent Day at the school. By the end of the day, I realised that it wasn’t just an opportunity…in fact, it was an honour to have met him.

I am sure there are countless stories of him that the volunteers at his schools would have, but for me, just a single day’s interaction gave immense insights into various aspects of him. It was a truly amazing experience…and here I try to recount a few of the multiple facets he possesses.

The first thing that struck me was the ease with which he ragged people. They could be his teachers, his fellow students, volunteers, chief guests…it didn’t matter to him. If he found something funny about them, he would go ahead and crack a comment right away. And this was done, not because of a lack of respect, or any malice…it was just the way he enjoyed his life, the way he perceived everything as something that would bring a smile to him, make him happy.

Then came an exhibition of his helping nature. The chairs had to be arranged…call Kannan. The stage had to be set…call Kannan. The shamiana had to be dismantled…call Kannan. School wasn’t just a place for him to study, play and leave. He took part in all the activities, and helped arrange everything. He helped people out of his own free will. In many ways, it was a double gift. Not only does the person being helped get the benefit of Kannan’s hard-working nature, he also gets to listen to some of the wittiest comments.

If the above qualities somehow gave the impression of Kannan being someone not that interested in studies, one couldn’t be far off from the truth. Instead of talking about his academic records, marks in exams, etc. I think this small incident should be enough to let you know how seriously he takes his studies:
All the students who had attended the function that day were given a gift. The gift was two huge slabs of chocolates, something that would have most boys his age very happy. But he turned to me and said, “idhikku badhila oru geometry box kuduthirndha evlo nalla irundhirikkum!” (Instead of these (chocolates), if you had given us a geometry box it would have been so nice!)

In between, there was the charming bit of innocence, when he was hesitant to pose for a photograph as he felt his “aayisu koranjidum” (his life would reduce). But his eagerness and enthusiasm for all things won over, and he came to us at the end of the day, requesting for a photo of his to be taken. He also wanted it delivered to him in a week’s time…which was duly done, and a geometry box was also given to him for good measure.

And finally to yet another feather in his cap. He was telling us about how he had played kho-kho at the district level, how he worked on his muscles, how he practised a lot on his running…and the fruits of all that labour has finally arrived in him being selected for the State level 400m sprint! Here is My3’s mail on this:
Kannan (std 7th RT Nagar Tamil school) qualifies for STATE level
400m run !!

Anyone who has ever visited the RT Nagar Tamil school could not have
missed this kid. An enthusiastic youngster - " School Headboy"
welcomes you with a broad smile and stick in hand (which he claims
he does not use for hitting, only pretending to hit:-) ) Catch him
working confidently on the computer (thanks to Sunand & Thiru),
making ppts and docs. Speaks some English, always keen on learning
more. Entrust a responsibility to him and he is sure to deliver.
With this all-round talent, he certainly has the potential to go
well ahead in life!

He won the block level, taluk and district level 400 metres and will
now compete at the Karnataka level. He gets Rs 5000, complete sports
gear and training for a week from the State Athletic coaches.

All of us at DSF wish him all the best for this race and hope he
also does equally well in the long and gruelling race of life! And
maybe here, we have a role to play, to ensure such kids do not fall
back in the race of life!
I think I need to re-emphasise this – it truly is an honour to have such a kid amongst us. Let’s wish the best in life for him.

He is truly set to achieve magical heights. All the best “Maaya” Kannan!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

At the Navrang school..

Try reading a textbook lesson to a kid and then a story to a kid. You'll be surprised at the receptivity of the kid when you are narrating the story. Their minds can easily grasp even the most complicated words and understand any message through a story. This is what happened this Saturday at our Navrang School.

Most of our volunteers were missing at the School on Saturday. So Kavya and I decided to read stories to the kids from class 1 to 6. All the kids from the silent to the talkative, quiet to the mischievous loved the story being read to them. In the course of the narration, we revised our WordsWorth clusters whenever we came across any remotely connected object in the story. E.g.: The appearance of the sky in the story made way to revise our nature, animals, baby animals and colors clusters.

At the end of the story, we picked some kids to volunteer and narrate the story to us. These kids were so smart that they remembered every scene of the story. The sheer confidence with which they spoke could have put any adult to shame in public speaking. The kids forced us to continue the reading session for a second story to be read to them. Avi, who joined the session later, suggested that we should have someone with a loud voice read the story.

However, the kids loved the session and we were also able to integrate our WordsWorth session into the story.

Like icing on the cake, we had a different set of notes in our wish box and one of them was ‘we need story books and story reading sessions’. We felt proud that we had satisfied their wish even before we had read it.

Guys, try it out in your schools. This is similiar to the Hippocampus sessions but not sure if all the schools are having these regularly. Also this works better because the kids can relate to you as a volunteer and you would have developed a good rapport with them.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Wish Box...

Inspired by the Navarang school folks... who came up with the idea of a Wish BOX...

We put up our Suggestion BOX today in the malleshwaram school....

And our first suggestion ... was a well written note in English -
" I want to learn and read English" , Student, IV Standard ... :)