Friday, November 27, 2009

Ek Saral Bhaasha

14th September 2009, a new initiative was born.

"Saral". Simple. Powerful.

The background or the force behind this initiative was as simple and evident as its name.

Institute of Management, Nirma University has many sites within the university campus which are under construction. Workers who work there, hence, tend to form settlements around the campus. These construction workers have been here for a long time now and as the construction work continues, it is definite that they will be here for quite sometime.

These construction workers have children who are seen playing around the campus. These kids are deprived of the basic facilities, leave alone basic education and most of them have never even seen school. Many of them do not even know of the name of the city they live in. The girls in the house majorly take care of the housework and do not have anything else to do. These kids thronged the tennis courts and the basketball courts during games and always showed interest for involvement.It was clearly seen that these kids needed to be provided basic education but they had never had a gateway for entrance.

To facilitate this entrance, ‘Saral’ was born.

The initiative took its first steps by talking to the family members and convincing them to involve their children in education. A good response wasn’t received in the start but as there was no restrictions on the kids and with persistent efforts from the Saral members, the kids were brought under the arm.

The sessions commenced with simple games which focussed on both the physical and mental development of the kids. For example, the kids were made to form circles and count alternatively in Hindi and English – ‘Ek Two Teen Four’. This not only added the ‘fun’ element but also helped increase their concentration.

Later, as the rapport between the kids and the Saral members built up, studies were introduced. Oral recitations were begun with information given on the nation’s name, the city’s name, counting on fingers, poems. General etiquette such as greeting the elders every morning was also incorporated in the study schedule. Basic cleanliness such as washing hands before every meal was advised.

Due to this, many children have become regular students, and they also have improved exponentially from not knowing anything to reciting poems, to being able to count and speak days of the week.

The classes are held every day for one to one and half hours (from 1745 hrs to 1915 hrs) everyday with Sundays being fun days when cartoons are shown on laptops to the children. Saral is now implementing the formal way of teaching with proper boards, distributing notebooks etc. It plans to continue this well charted out plan and implement its objective.

As the prayer that is said at the end of every session goes:

“Hey bhagwaan, do vardaan, padh likhke, hum bane mahan !”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fun and Games....

12th November 2009, it was time for fun and play for the mess workers.

Sankalp organized a session for the mess workers wherein instead of the usual sessions of studying, a game was played. The game was simple and enjoyable. Paper balls were provided to the workers and they were supposed to throw the balls into a vessel kept at some distance. They were supposed to make teams of two each, out of whom one would throw the balls and the other would assist in giving the balls.

The game turned out to be a lot of fun and it increased the camaraderie between the workers and even between the workers and the Sankalp participants. Cheers for their team, shouting, laughing resounded throughout the mess. The session turned out to be very enjoyable indeed. It also broke the ice for new workers and got them involved into the Sankalp initiative.

Another session, successful and many more to come….

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Revive and rejuvenate: Mess workers take lessons of Art of Living

Sankalp took a step further towards its goal to improve and rejuvenate the life of poor people by arranging an Art of Living workshop (sessions) between 14th Sep09 to 18th Sep, 09 for mess staff from both the messes technology and management for one and half hour.Under the guidance and cooperation of Art of living Teachers, a special customized course has been designed to beast suit the need of workers. This course was conducted by Mr.Praful Gangal with Mr.Kantilal Amin and Mrs Madhukanta k. Amin, two volunteers. From Sankalp, Ekta Shah, Nandini, Gagan and Dinesh helped in organizing the program, motivating workers to join it and explaining to them the significance of this course. The course was a success as it took off with 16 students on 14th Sep and by the end 19 mess workers had devoted their time and agreed to adopt meditation and yoga as a part of their daily routine.

The course included pranayam, meditation and yoga which would help to develop physical and mental well being. This was a self-development and stress reduction program that empowered mess worker to face life’s challenges gracefully. These workshops equipped the workers with skills and techniques that would help enhance the quality of their lives. This session helped the mess workers to start to live a stress free and happy life with a calm and peaceful mind.

It is said that food includes all “Bhaav” (quality) the person making food has. Thus, the workers would actually be able to make healthier food if their minds were calm and peaceful. The workers were also made aware about their addiction to tambaku; cigarettes. Other topics covered in the course were effectiveness of meditation and yoga to gain control over common diseases, to increase self control and stamina and to help get inner peace which would help them achieve success in their life. Workers also learnt the eternal sense of spirituality that is beyond bodily senses, time and world. The workers also sang songs in these “Satsang” sessions, which proved to be a showcase for their talent.

All this would not be have been possible without the support from the institute and administration department.