Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Gubbi Makala Habba 2017

                       - Somya (Curriculum Support & Operations)
I can do ANYTHING!
Children’s Day is special. It’s special because children are special. Every single one of them. At Gubbachi, making children feel special is a way of life. They are the centre of our universe and all our actions. But, let me not digress. This post is not about our philosophy on childhood, learning, teaching and such. It is about conspiracy. Universal conspiracy that makes things happen for us at Gubbachi.
Our very own "Chacha Nehru"
A few weeks before Children’s Day I tabled the idea that we do a Habba - this year. This was our usual daily lunch discussion time. I saw some excitement but mostly, “what now?” kind of looks. I had no idea what we should be doing. But did not want a – ‘photo-op only’ moment for any organisation. Did not want the children to feel patronised, the opportunity to gain from; but to be the focus. Wanted them to have fun. Fun at the bridge centres and the host government schools- definitely together. And I wanted the teachers to be the cause of the fun. Last year, we had done various things at the bridge centres including taking some of our older children to Kathavana and encouraging them to choose and buy books (with a small pocket money provided by us).
Let's do it together
In our morning stand-up meetings I started nudging the teachers to come up with ideas. Many ideas were put forth but nothing closed. The D-day started drawing closer. I started to panic … somewhat. I wasn’t really doing anything about tabling the idea to the universe - we circulated a whatsapp message calling out for volunteers and donors. We had barely sent in the messages that we started receiving mighty positive responses.
The sweet treats!
Two home-bakers thought it was a wonderful idea to make cupcakes for all the children. All of 210+ children?! We were overwhelmed. People we did not know started donating small and big amounts towards the cost of material and the works. Local governance representatives took up the cost of Shamiana and such. Volunteers started pitching in with their time and effort. We did our huddles to think through Habba stalls. Mani wrote us a script from the fantastic children’s book “Catch the Crocodile”. Teachers were practicing.
SwaTantra at Kodathi
The teachers designed the activities, the space, manned the activities, guided our volunteers, participated in the skit, gave the children unconditional love and care, ensured every child is made to feel special. We are extremely proud of our team and the team work. We were on a roll.
But, what’s a Habba without a mega dose of music and performance. We reached out to SwaTantra and to Pramod for music at the two centers. We also reached out to Himanshu to give our children (and us) a taste of juggling. The children loved the music and the juggling. We were not mere consumers but creators and participants. We were teary-eyed. (These experiences warrant a blog post in their own right).
Pramod creating music with the children
at Sulikunte
We had achieved what we had set out to. Happy, excited children!!!!  
 It would have been just an idea if not for the wonderful set of volunteers who took the time out of their busy schedules to pitch in. Standing ovation to Arpita, Roopali, Beena, Shilpa, Shalini, Abha, Sindhu, Radhika, Vasundhara, Subhasini, Reema, Sapna, Priya, Jayanthi, Meenakshi, Geetha and the team headed by Sapna from Confident Bellatrix. I am sure I have missed a few. People just dropped in to volunteer…A big THANK YOU to the many anonymous volunteers!
Some fun getting painted!
What is a children’s event without an ample dose of sweets! Thank you Marzia and Garima for the cakes and cupcakes.
And, to all the donors who have relentless faith in our work and us. Especially to the ones who earmarked funds only for Children’s day! Thank you Shalini, Neha, Rohit and Arpita.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

My Acquaintance with Gubbachi

                                                         -Arpita Bhattacharjee (Gubbachi Volunteer)

About 3 months back, in September 2017, I started my volunteering journey with Gubbachi Learning Community (Gubbachi). I decided to teach Data Entry Operations to a thirteen year old boy who belongs to a migrant worker's family from Bihar. I was told he had started learning English about eight months back and initially I was skeptical whether he will be able to understand the complex terms and concepts of Computer Studies.  But looking at the work that Gubbachi has been doing for the past couple of years, I thought I must give this a shot.
Learning together is always fun
The first day I met this boy, he greeted me with a wide welcoming smile. His body language told me he has a lot of positive energy and the passion to learn. That’s all I needed as a tutor - the will to learn.
Within the first couple of weeks he amazed me with his ability to learn technical concepts very fast. Though I have to often work on his retention and memorizing capabilities, but nonetheless I have to applaud his efforts and learning abilities. Our class takes places at a corner table in a room which is shared by other younger kids for their afternoon activities and games. Though the room gets noisy sometimes, but my student and I are so focused on our work that we rarely get distracted.
In about ten or twelve classes, he has picked up the basics of Computer and has started working on Word Processing software. I feel this is quite an achievement. I am happy to make a small difference in the life of this smart boy who without the intervention of Gubbachi would perhaps have been lost in oblivion.
"Can I Beat my own score"

On Nov 14th I participated in the Children’s Day celebration. The day was filled with various games, activities, music and food and the children of Gubbachi and the Government School, Kodathi (where the first centre of Gubbachi is located) had a lot fun. I could also meet and connect with other volunteers who were there to support. What struck me was the care and affection with which all the kids were handled. The kids hugged their teachers and though everything was getting done in a very disciplined and orderly manner, there was no need of any rebuke or harsh words. What prevailed was absolute harmony, smiles, joy, fun, love and affection. I am sure this is not a school where there are dropouts or absentees but a school where every student waits to come, have fun, and learn.