Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Field Trip - Rambus Chip Technologies

Raring to go, the students and staff of DSF’s Yeshwanthpur E&D center, trooped into a bus which arrived sharp at 9:45 am, looking forward to an exciting day ahead! DSF’s long time partner, Rambus Chip Technologies, had organized a day long trip to their office on Bannerghatta Road.

On reaching the campus, we were given a warm welcome by Mr. Murali and his team. An icebreaker session followed, with the students introducing themselves and talking about their goals and dreams. Unlike the previous batches, the students had varied goals. From doctors to sportsmen, engineers to IPS officers; their aspirations were diverse. The students’ determination to follow their own path was well appreciated by the Rambus team. When Chaithanya expressed his ambition to join the IAS and later enter politics, Mr. Murali was impressed, as, in his words, “we need young blood to rule the country.”  Following the icebreaker, the team played a few videos for the students, which left them inspired and motivated.

A couple of fun activities had been arranged for the group, the first one being a test of reflex. The students were divided into teams of two. Each team was given a scale with a meter. One in each team was asked to hold the scale while his team-mate waited in anticipation for the scale to drop. The swiftness, with which he caught hold of the scale without letting it touch the ground, was measured using the meter, reflecting his reflexes. Each student was given three chances and the first three teams were awarded chocolates.

The second activity was a test of concentration and balance. The group was provided with a paper cup, a metal measuring tape and a ball. Each student had to put the ball into the cup while balancing it along the tape. The student, who managed to put the maximum number of balls into the cup within 30 seconds, was given a prize.

The end of the activities saw broad smiles on the faces of the students, as they gleefully clutched their chocolates. As a token of their love and appreciation, the students presented the Rambus team with a special handmade card, colourfully adorned with their thumb imprints.

Starting the tour, the students were divided into groups of five, and taken to all the departments of the organization. They were exposed to the workings of the chip designing, software designing, lab testing, human resources and finance departments. They were also given a tour of the UPS and recreation rooms. The fascinated group, was explained the nature of work and functions, of each department and were encouraged to question and understand. The employees at Rambus, more than happily answered the plethora of questions that followed. As we toured the office, we were pleasantly surprised and humbled, to see DSF cards, plaque and pen stands, previously given to the Rambus team, displayed in Mr. Murali’s cabin.

An exciting and eventful morning left the students hungry- for food and more. Lunch was a delicious spread of various dishes, especially arranged for them, by the team. They had also arranged for more activities and games post lunch, ensuring that the students’energy didn’t ebb. Later, the group was also given instructions and tips, for playing table tennis and foosball, which they keenly absorbed.The team conducting the day’s activities, joined in on the fun and made it even more memorable.

End of the day saw the students drag their feet to the bus, waiting to take them home. Reluctant, to see a day filled with learning and fun, come to an end, they bid adieu to the hospitable and friendly team at Rambus.

--Meena Shankar

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In The Spirit Of GeneroCity

On a sunny day at the St. Joseph’s Indian High School grounds, preparation was in full swing as the city was all set to celebrate GeneroCity-2013, an event organized by United Way of Bengaluru. As the volunteers of the Dream School Foundation marched in with banner-spanner, coaster and poster in hand, our mission ahead was clear--- spread awareness. 

A multitude of stalls set up by a number of NGOs that varied in work from education to street children rescue, dotted the entire field; all in the hope of championing their endeavor. Right in the middle stood five wish-trees; NGOs pinned up their little wish-cards in anticipation of making their dreams and wants come true.

Our intention being telling the world what we do, we distributed mentor brochures, handy bookmarks and doled out information about our various programs. A quick quiz on education and all things related saw very few takers as some of them even scampered away seeing the word ‘quiz’ on a placard. For the general inquirer who sought information, bookmarks were given as a token of thanks for showing interest in our work. As the day progressed, on the main stage there were sprightly performances, complete with music and dance. 

As the event came to a close and the prize distribution was about to commence, volunteers and students of the Dream School Foundation prepared to spring a surprise on all those present. A small announcement by the Emcee had the audience turn their gaze to the centre of the venue. A flash mob! Lead by Supriya, the spirited performance had everybody’s undivided attention. Placards that read ‘Our Right to Education is Non-Negotiable’, ‘Every Child has a Right to Education’ etc spoke of the importance of education and was the underpinning of our mission at DSF. As the entire audience formed a semi-circle and cheered the enthusiastic dancers, a number of cameras captured the performance and the mood of the crowd. The show can be summed up as one that was energetic and lively.   

All in all, as we returned to our homes, we felt content for having told even if it were just a few more people, that the Right to Education is non-negotiable!

--Karun Gopinath

Friday, October 11, 2013

Remembering Gandhi

'Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one, ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth'

After a much-deserved holiday and having just completed their exams, students at the DSF R.T.Nagar Centre were in no-mood for ‘academic engagement’ ( very simple, textbooks were a strict no-no!)  Fearing physical harm, I still took the chance of asking our students to turn to page 86… in chorus, the response was a loud NO! Little did they know that they were in for a big surprise!  Veering away from the usual, a combined class of the 8th and 9th students saw an approximately 50-strong audience gather, giving us the ideal mood and timing for a talk on Gandhi. Starting off, we discussed and deliberated why Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was deserving of titles such as ‘Father of the Nation’ and the ‘Mahatma’.  Expressing eagerness and interest in knowing more, this class was one that was interactive and engaging. A documentary on the Mahatma was screened which shed more light on his nobility and impeccable discipline. At the end of this short-movie, a quiz was conducted which saw a clean-sweep by the girls. Poornima Holla, Programme Coordinator, presented each one of them with a small gift for answering correctly. 

All-in-all, with the close of this special class, each student seemed greatly influenced by the supreme sacrifice and qualities that captures the legacy of this simple man, which will bear impact on our minds and hearts, for generations to come.

--Karun Gopinath