When our bus pulled up along the jagged, uneven sidewalk of the TC Halli Government school– for our first day of Community Outreach- my mind was swirling with curiosity. What would the children be like? Would they like me? Would it be difficult to communicate with them?
I quickly pushed my thoughts away, as I spotted a crowd of giggling kids enthusiastically waving at us- bright, happy smiles spread across their eager faces. I found myself smile as I noticed their genuine eagerness and excitement as they grabbed our hands and pulled us inside- chattering happily. Honestly…I was really surprised and a bit overwhelmed by their friendly and happy attitude. I had never done anything like this before, and I had always wanted to do something to help our community. I was curious to see what this experience had to offer me.
I set my bag on the table, and pulled out a colorful picture book, choosing to sit in front of a young girl in fourth grade. She beamed as I opened the book, and I noticed her eyes widening at the sight of the colorful pictures. Her bright eyes were filled with curiosity as I flipped the pages, listening attentively. As I glanced at the gray walls, and dull environment- I knew how she must have been feeling. She lifted her hand and slowly traced the picture as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing- and it seemed like she had drifted into her own world. But then- as if just remembering that I was there, she glanced at me cautiously. I smiled encouragingly, and she replied with a shy smile. I spent the next hour flipping through the colorful pages, and watching her enthusiastic expressions, as she tried to pronounce each word.
We came to a page filled with a bright scene- with various animals scattered around. I spotted a cat, and she peered at it carefully. Recognition flashed in her eyes, and she looked like she was trying to remember its name. I decided to test my Kannada- to test my general knowledge- and to see if remembered anything from all those third language classes. I pointed at the cat. “Biku.” I told her, confidently. She giggled, clamping a hand over her mouth. “No- Bekku.” She corrected, smiling. I blushed, and decided to stick to the English.
The time I spent teaching and reading to the children left such a deep impact on me. At the end of the visit, I felt emotionally attached to them, and so moved. I really wanted to do something for them, and I guess the best thing I could do was, teach them English. I was so touched by how sweet and affectionate they were, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a batch of kids so excited to learn something new.
I think this is a truly a great step Inventure is taking – extending a hand to the rural community, and encouraging us all to help these kids. Looking at the conditions there, and their simple way of living- you can’t help but admire their strength. You can’t help but feel a sense of determination- a need to help the ones less fortunate than us. I think there’s actually a lot we can learn from them. Community Outreach is a beautiful, and special experience that all of us can learn from, and remember forever. It was like breaking out of the cushioned surroundings we live in, and experiencing the conditions of those less privileged than us- which opened up a new perspective on the life and people around me. More than the feeling of knowing I was doing something to help the society was the sense of pride and happiness I felt after the visit. Making others happy really make you happy. No matter how cliché it sounds- it’s true!
We sixth graders really enjoyed the experience, especially because it was an entirely new experience for all of us. Here’s what we have to say:
“I feel that the community outreach is a great experience for us to learn about our community and conditions. But what’s more important than just social awareness is the pride and joy after helping less privileged children. It’s been an amazing experience for me and my classmates. The
bright smiling face of the children as we left was one of the happiest moments of my life!”
“I found community outreach an enjoyable experience. We met other kids who spoke a different language and thought in a different way. It was such an amazing experience and the kids were so sweet. We found it a two-way learning session. They taught us some things, and we taught them some things!”
“I loved the experience as it gave me an opportunity to connect with slightly less privileged children. I enjoyed teaching them as it gave me a chance and a hearty feeling that I was helping and making a difference in my society.”
“I think getting to visit a government school to make kids happy and have fun- and also to interact with them; it’s just so special and touching. I hope we spend all our SUPW periods this way!”
By – Mitali (6B)