Saturday, 27 August 2016

A young Volunteer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Michelle (Greenwood High, Grade 9 Volunteer)  
It was in the middle of my summer vacations when my mother told me that Somya Aunty had asked if I would like to volunteer in the government school she works in. I had agreed as I wanted to experience how it felt to teach students and help teachers. On my first day, I was introduced  to everyone who worked in the centre. It was a small building with two rooms, with children who were looking at me with curiosity. Some wished me ‘Good morning’, while some tried talking to me, but I couldn’t understand Kannada and they couldn’t understand Hindi or English that well so we weren’t able to communicate.
 All the aunties, especially Preethy Auntie and Mani Auntie would give me work to do, which mostly included cutting and sticking and making TLMs (Teaching-learning materials). At first I was disappointed; thinking all I had to do was cutting and sticking stuff of little use. I had expected more but I forgot about it after I was told the reason why Gubbachi was founded. In a few days I realised the importance of such materials, without which the students would be unable to learn without actually understanding it. Thus after that I took pride in doing such things which indirectly helped the children learn and enjoy school.
Every day when I came to the centre, all the children would wish me ‘Good morning Miss!’ which made me feel delighted as I felt that they accepted me as a friend. Some girls even had started calling me ‘Akka’. It gave me so much delight at the fact that they liked me even though I wasn’t able to communicate with most of them. Once as I had gone to Mani Aunty’s classroom, all her little students came running to me saying ‘Good morning Miss’ and crowding around me. A few little girls kept on holding my hand even after Mani Aunty had told them to go back to their work! I could not help but feel intense happiness at seeing their enthusiasm.
All the teachers were extremely supportive, always keeping work ready for me when I arrived at the centre. I feel Somya Aunty went out of her way to tell the teachers about my art and craft skills. I really appreciate her effort as everyone trusted me with anything to do with art and crafts. On my last two days Preethy aunty asked me to guide the students to make beads by quilling a necklace. One boy about my age named Vikash talked in Hindi, thus I helped him whenever I could. Lunchtime was always fun, as everyone shared food with each other, which reminded me of my friends in school. We would also have stories told and topics discussed, so I always had a wonderful time.

By volunteering to be a teacher’s assistant, I learned more about the condition of my community, made new friends with teachers and experienced the immense hard work put by everyone to educate children who can’t go to school. I know I will always remember how the children wished me good morning and accepted me, along with the teachers, with open arms. This experience is a memorable one and has inspired me to do more such things in the future.

Friday, 26 August 2016

My Experience as an intern

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Deepanjali (Intern, Bhoomi College)  
I have been associated with Gubbachi for 2 months for internship as a part of Holistic Education Course at Bhoomi College. I distinctly remember the first day I walked in; a room full of cacophony: children making noise and occasionally walking in and out. I was a little nervous and quite clueless. As the day progressed some of the teachers spoke to me about their expectation and my understanding. I was asked to just sit and observe for a day. The very state the children were in startled me. It was different to hear about under-privileged kids and it a world’s difference to see them. Throughout the day I couldn’t stop thinking about K.T. Margret’s book “The Open Classroom”, the school was just a live experience of that book.
As I spent more time, I saw the struggle the teachers/administrators go through to keep the place up and running. A very inspiring bunch of people across all age group work at Gubbachi. Most of them spending their own resources to see these kid, have a better life. We have had some interesting conversation on various topics during our lunch break and it is beautiful to see teachers discussing pupils with so much awe and interest.
The curriculum at Gubbachi is designed to evolve and strives at keeping the child’s interest, psychology and cultural background as priority. Best practices of Nali-Kali curriculum followed by government schools and teaching methods of alternate schools are adopted and improvised to suit the requirement of these kids. It is very interesting…. there is a constant reiteration to keep the environment, child-friendly. Also, a lot of thought goes into understanding the psychology of children, given the troubled and deprived background they come from.

It is amazing to see children of Gubbachi, the gradual change in behaviour, attitude and confidence from the time they walk in, to the time they are ready for mainstreaming. I look at Gubbachi as a space not only for learning, but space of healing, bonding and sharing joy. When one is part of such endeavour, there is lot of healing happening at a fundamental level. It is very beautiful to see, how these kids teach us adults how to bond and be joyful. They might be deprived materialistically. And, to some extent psychologically, but their capacity to spread happiness and love is phenomenal.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Changing Perspectives

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 - Shreya (Volunteer Student, St. Josephs College of Commerce)
Over the last few weeks, I, Shreya Sarda, have learnt a great deal after working with the children that study at Gubbachi Learning Community. I felt extremely honoured when I was accepted by the organisation, and was invited to work with them and their precious children. Initially, I assumed that I would be working in a regular school of sorts. But into the first 2 days, I came to realise that this school was none like I had ever experienced before. The entire school is run on pure passion and is driven with such strong morals and goals. It truly was a great feeling to work amongst such respected social workers.

I was assigned a variety of tasks and fortunately, all of them were within my forte's of talent and experience. The whole experience of dwelling amongst the children for the past couple of weeks has opened my eyes to a whole new manner of thinking and understanding a child.
During most of the Arts and Crafts sessions that I would conduct for the children, I witnessed so much teamwork and joy, it really moved my heart. Laughter and happiness fills this organisation as the children are so well looked after and are always plenty occupied with fun learning activities. Since these wonderful children were eager to learn Math and English, I was assigned to educate them on both these subjects. My observations showed me that the children are extremely capable and the potential for them to learn and grow is immense. Their grasping power and their ability to receive my teaching really astonished me.

Each day was not only a new learning experience for the children, but also for myself.
I found a great deal of change in the way I looked at things and thought about them. Spending two weeks with the students of Gubacchi truly opened my eyes to a greater cause that should be worked towards. Nomita and Mani were excellent guides and they were always right around the corner to adhere to my every doubt. They made this whole experience a lot easier than it would have been. 

What have I learnt from working at the Gubbachi Learning Community?
Well firstly, this entire experience has taught me the true value of the education that we the privileged members of society receive. I was also shown that education doesn’t necessarily have to revolve around modernisation and technology. But the basics are what will see you home any day. Teamwork, dedication, perseverance, eagerness and the sheer will to succeed is what each and every child at the Gubbachi Learning Community is driven by. And I find myself ready to step into this situation and be a part of the change that will help enable the underprivileged educate themselves.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

After a break

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Team Gubbachi 
... we have been steadily chipping away. It's just that we missed sharing our reflections and learnings! We also missed sharing the experiences of our dedicated team of volunteers and volunteer students. Every one of them is enriching our lives and getting enriched through their interactions with the children and the community!
It’s been almost three months since we shared our journey. We dropped off when we were busy with the summer camp…which was a roaring success with the children AND the facilitators. We bridged our first batch of children in June, we mobilised water connection in the school, started work on English skills of Higher Primary children, we have started full time support of grades 1, 2 and 3, we have strengthened our curriculum…and more. We will start sharing the posts every few days…and we promise to be regular. Apologies to all our blog followers for “missing in action”…Believe me: we were in ACTION!