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Working with children is one of the most satisfying experiences I ever had.
I complained about the lack of motivation, or the frustration I felt doing some jobs. Well… this is the total opposite case 🙂
In the morning we go to the ‘kindergarten’, which is basically the only form of school children coming from underprivileged families attend, and in the afternoon we go to the slum in Sangolda.
One big problem of the Indian educational system is that they put a great accent on learning by heart and not necessarily on understanding, on thinking things out (I am, of course, aware this is sadly the case in a lot of countries). This leads to a poor understanding of what they learn. For example: they learn words, but don’t know what the words mean; they know the alphabet, but are unable to read, they know the numbers, but can’t correlate the symbol with the word.
It is a challenge for the volunteers to break this circle. The couple of hours we have per day seem insufficient. However, the satisfaction you get when you do see results is totally worth it.
Coming back to the children living in the slum, I must say: They constantly surprise me! Our program is the following: We arrive around 2 p.m., they gather up (it takes some minutes until they all come), say a little prayer, meditate a few minutes, then we start to teach. Most of the time we concentrate on English, but we also do some maths, geography, science. It depends on the level of each group (the kids are divided according to their English level). After this we have a short snack pause, then we play volleyball or football. Most of the time volleyball (yuuhuuu! 😀 )
One day, one of the boys (14 years old) offered me one of the 3 biscuits he received. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this willingness to share mind-blowing. It is also not the first time it happened, as I already told you.
To be honest, I think these children teach me more, than I teach them.
(In Sangolda, our ‘classroom’)