Our Days at Samarthanam Trust- Inventure Speaks Out….

Inventure Academy students with with students of Samarthanam Trust  and other members of the Bridge India Foundation
Inventure Academy students with with students of Samarthanam Trust and other members of the Bridge India Foundation

Inventure Academy’s Community Outreach program is committed towards making a difference in the world they live in and are ready to explore any opportunities that arise for sensitizing our students. Bridge India Foundation’s values of sensitizing youth for inclusive growth was in sync with our own core value of ‘Encouraging Sensitivity’. Thus started our relation with them and the Samarthanam Trust which supports the visually impaired, disabled, and underprivileged to keep in pace with the rest of the society by providing quality education, accommodation, nutritious food, vocational training, placement based rehabilitation and achieve personal independence.

Senior students of Grades 11 & 12 are engaged in a year-long interaction with students of Samarthanam Trust helped by Mr. Rao, Mr. Ahluwallia and other members of the Bridge India Foundation. They help them understand some of the concepts in their curriculum and talk to them about banking services, railway travel etc. Recently, our Middle & Senior school students, who were not part of the Outbound Trip, had a week long interaction with students of Samarthanam Trust. Some of our students were profoundly moved by their experiences at Samarthanam.

Here are a few of the experiences shared by the students of Inventure Academy.

Going to Samarthanam was a very humbling experience for me. What made it so different is that it was small instances in my trip that impacted me deeply, not the fact that it was a school for disabled children. The children of Samarthanam were so curious, and smart that it was almost easy to slink into their world, to be their peers and their mentors. But, there were moments in my three-day trip that truly humbled me, that revealed to me that there was indeed a world of difference between them and us – and it had nothing to do with being physically, or mentally challenged.

For instance, when we handed out small packets of Parle-G biscuits, the children thanked us profusely – some even tried to shake my hand. Or even when we taught them lessons, they listened to us with rapt attention, even enjoying them!

The difference lies in the fact that these children are grateful for even the smallest of things – whereas we overlook such things, as being insignificant. And, seeing that really changes you, and how you view even the most mundane parts of your daily routine.

Who ever thought that handing out Parle G biscuits could change your outlook on life?

 – Namrata Ramesh, Grade 11AS B

When I first went there, I found that even though most of the children had disabilities, they still had the strength and energy took keep going and keep learning. They only knew Kannada, and very little English, but they still made their best effort to understand us. They were so happy after we had taught them. It made me think, if they can be happy even with their disabilities, why can’t we?
We have a lot more than them. They have lost so much already and yet they continue to give all they have. It made me think how blessed we are and that we should never take anything in life for granted and be happy with what have.

– Nandika Mishra, Grade 6C

I had a great time at the Samarthanam Trust. We taught them meanings of certain words in English. We also taught them Origami and they taught us how to make paper roses. It was really fun helping them to learn and watching them grow as we shared our ‘Joy of learning’ with them. We all left with smiles on our faces and it was really hard leaving them on the last day as we all became very close with all the children. I felt that I had given them something in return for this wonderful experience. It was an exciting, fun and fantastic experience and I can’t wait to go again next time.     

– Amisha Deb, Grade 6C                                              

I am new to Inventure Academy and an exciting 1st week has passed by at Inventure Academy mainly due to the exciting experience at Samarthanan trust. I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this trust and recommend others to do the same. Meeting less privileged students is a worthwhile experience. Even though there was a communication problem we had a few eloquent Kannada speakers which filled the barrier. We played many games with them and also taught them various concepts from the subjects of science, math and English. Seeing them learn and gain knowledge is heartwarming. I do hope I can experience the moments I shared with these children again. They have taught me to be content with life and also to be patient.

– Pranay Bhootra, Grade 9 IG A

I really enjoyed the experience at the Samarthanan as I got to interact with the children there. We found out about their lives such as their parents occupations on the first day we really enjoyed Chechu’s stamp collection. On the second day we visited the Samarthanam School. Over there Chechu gave us a lecture on leadership and we played a game based on leadership. We played many games on the second day with the children of the Samarthanam trust. On the third and fourth day we taught the students’ subjects like Math and English. We however had difficulties communicating with the children. Luckily some of us could speak Kannada and therefore helped us communicate with them.

Over all we all really enjoyed the experience at Samarthanam and on the behalf of all my fellow students; I thank Samarthanam trust and Bridge India foundation for giving this opportunity to help the underprivileged students of the Samarthanam trust.

– Hamza Ali, Grade 7B

Honestly in the beginning we weren’t expecting this trip to be fun at all, in fact we were about to miss school but we’re glad our parents forced us into going. In those few days we encountered kids who we thought we would teach but instead they taught us a lot. The first day wasn’t too fun as after a certain point we got a little bored playing activities, but during the free times we met lots of kids who were exceedingly adorable, kind and happy. We overheard many people mentioning about how dull the paints were but we really think that the happiness in those kids lit up the school. Those kids taught us that being happy don’t need material, you don’t need to be the richest person, and you just need to feel blessed that there is always someone there for you.

– Anchita Aurora and Ishita Gupta, Grade 7A & 7C

We went and taught various subjects such as Biology where we taught the students about  the Digestive System, Physics where we taught about electricity and atoms and with the help of one of our classmates all of this was translated in Kannada. It was comical the way we were teaching – we would move our hands up and down trying to explain a concept and they would just nod, though it was obvious they didn’t understand much. In the end, we got things pretty fluid and managed to teach them a fair few concepts.

The kids were nice and were encouraged to learn. They are as capable as us but do not have the opportunities to fulfill their potential. Their living conditions are appalling – I gagged when I saw the state of their restrooms – and it amazes me how they are still content and happy, they are always courteous and polite.At the end of the day we distributed Diwali diyas to all of the kids. This put a smile on their faces. We waved our final goodbyes as we boarded the bus.

You never know one of these kids might end up being the prime minister of India – such is the potential within them.

– Paul Francis, Kunal Anand & Ashwin Nair, Grade 7C & 7B

I am actually very happy that I got the fantastic opportunity to go to Samarthanam trust on the 15th, 16th and 17th of October. It was loads of fun and I felt like I came back from Samarthanam trust on Friday being a better person
Firstly, I got an insight on how less privileged and differentially abled kids are living and how we should be grateful and mostly happy about all that we have and the great life we have.
Secondly it was such a pleasure knowing that we got to put a smile on these children’s faces and I can’t wait to do it again. Teaching the kids was so much fun and I felt that even though there were a few issues everything went super well and we learnt that the kids are actually very intelligent and smart. We learnt many life skills and this has been a beneficial experience on our part. We were happy to donate resources, books, stationery etc to those kids and cannot wait to go again. I would like to thank everyone who arranged this trip and made it possible. We really enjoyed!!!!!

– Divya Viswanath, Grade 6B

When I chose not to go to INME camp, I was told that we’d be doing Community Service for a school named Samarthanam. I felt very nervous, but that’s just me. When we reached we were introduced to a teacher and a man named Chechu. He told us we  would be playing games. All of us were happy to oblige. The feeling was mutual amongst the Samarthanam kids. I actually didn’t expect that. I saw that many of the kids over there were different, some were disabled too. Still they were happy to meet and greet us. We played a game based on luck; smiles all around when they weren’t out. And then pass-the-ball-over-the-head-and-underneath-the-legs; that was where they all got extremely excited. All of us were determined to make the passing chain complete, so it was a frantic rush to finish, full of happiness. Then was some group drawing; they were humored by some, and awed at some. When it was all over I thought “Wow, that was fun”.

– Siddharth Sharma, Grade 6A

On October 16, unlike the previous visit, we planned the activities and arranged for the resources. There is a feeling no one can describe when I saw the brightness in their faces. They were so excited to fold and maneuver with a piece of paper to create a piece of art. After we had some fun with Origami, we decided to do some academics. Here was the twist: We were the teachers! We taught them a few English words related to environment, which was part of their syllabus and even sang a few songs with them. A few of the Inventure girls were nurturing the younger children who were severally disabled, which was nice to see.

Overall the trip was very enjoyable. We saw how happy these children are with what they have, we realized how fun yet how tough it is to be a teacher, and at the end of the day, everyone had a smile on their face.

– Gokul Balaji, Grade 7C

Samarthanam is a home for children with special needs but when I looked at those children I did not see any difference between us. Over there, we created strong bonds of friendship which would last forever. Teaching them was a great experience and opportunity for us to learn. I also loved all the leadership activities which were really helpful. The way we helped the kids, young and old, through their less fortunate lives was great. It brought smiles to all of our faces- the kids from Samarthanam and the kids from Inventure Academy. This was an eye-opening adventure and it was absolutely incredible.

– Aditi Raju, Grade 6C