The joy of volunteering

A couple of months ago I received an email saying that there was a need for volunteers to be a part of ARISE Project Schools. The email simply read ‘Calling out for volunteers who are interested to teach’. I opened the attachment and there was a timetable mentioning the school, class, subject and time to be chosen as per our convenience.

‘This is something I can do. Anyway I’ll be free during day time’, I thought to myself and registered my name for it. Three weeks later we were called for a meeting. We were to teach in a Marathi medium government school every day for an hour. Different volunteers chose different days and a final schedule was made. I chose to take up English sessions for class 5 students.

I’ll admit, I was nervous. I have volunteered at summer camps for kids before, but teaching is something else. And to top it all I don’t know Marathi. So I knew that I would have to translate to Hindi to make them understand. (My Hindi is not that great either). Luckily for me there was another volunteer with me who knew Hindi quite well. We shared the one hour by taking 30 minutes each.

The kids were extremely enthusiastic. Tech Mahindra has been taking this initiative for the past few years. So the kids came running to greet us. A quick handshake and ‘Hi Didi! How are you?’ was all they said. The sessions went quite smoothly. Yes, the kids were noisy. Some of them were school dropouts and had difficulty in reading the words. But they were all keen to learn. And truly speaking I learned a lot from them too! So far I have only taken two sessions, but the kids’ smiling faces when we tell them ‘Good’ or give them a pat on the back for reading correctly or even appreciating their neat hand writing is priceless. I’m looking forward to take up more sessions for the entire academic year.

Last Thursday these kids were invited to TechM campus for Diwali celebrations. They were made to paint diyas and taught to make lanterns. Towards the end of the session they were given some snacks and then made to light the diyas around the Rangoli made by the employees. It was a three hour activity and ARISE volunteers along with Josh team monitored the whole thing. Pictures are always better than words. So here are some moments captured.

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The kids painting diyas and making lanterns

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Look at that dedication on his face!

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If it were me I would proudly show off too I guess!

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The colours that brightened up our office

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Rangoli made by the employees

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TechM at night

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With some of my class 5 students

After the lighting of diyas all the kids danced to some energetic Marathi songs! Needless to say the volunteers joined them too. Never had I imagined that volunteering for something would be so much fun and satisfying. I had to come three hours early to office sacrificing my sleep, but honestly speaking I did not mind. That night when I was returning home in the cab I had a smile on my face. No, it was not because we had got our payslip earlier than expected! I was just replaying those three hours spent with the kids over and over again in my head. It really is true. At the end of the day memories count, not money!

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