September 25, 2010

Art workshop with municipal school kids

Agree or not, we all live in a box! Confused? Let me explain - everyday we wake up, get ready, go to office, start our computers, drink tea, make tables, write reports, attend meetings, come back, eat, drink and sleep - this is a box life!

So, how can you break free? Well, there are many ways which can explore depending on your areas of interest. E.g. I blog here at maktion to fulfill my creative satiety. It's not that I don't get opportunities at my workplace but in life some of our interests get fulfilled only when we look out of the box! Today, I could fulfill one such interest which I'd like to share. I will remember this day (Sep 25) as I got an opportunity to be with school kids from a municipal school as a volunteer for their Art Workshop!

I got to know about the art workshop through someones retweet on Twitter via @aditirawat where she had tweeted "looking for volunteers in school on 24th and 25th sept for an art workshop. Just bring yourself and have fun with kids and paints!" Upon seeing this, I wondered how would it be to be with these kids who deserve good education as any other kid should? I read Aditi's Bio and it mentioned 'Teach for India fellow' which gave me the push to inquire more. After exchanging some tweets and mails, I got myself registered for the art workshop!

I had to be present at 11am, got a little late due to traffic at Andheri (MMRDA -please build the Metro line fast, the traffic sucks!). Finally I reached Anand Nagar English Municipal School, Dahisar (E), Mumbai and went inside. The noise was so random and vibrant, it reminded me of my old days at school! I looked here and there and someone shouted my name 'Arif, is that you?' It was Aditi, the Teach for India fellow. She took me to Class 2-B (a thought: 2-A, 2-B, 2-C, didn't we pride ourselves with what section we were in? I've mostly been a -A student!).

As I entered the classroom I saw butterflies! ;) ..beautiful kids I mean! They were already on with some activity, so I just walked around their benches and was trying to figure out what they were doing. I was clear in my mind that I will be absolutely interactive and I will be one amongst them to understand what's happening. I went from bench to bench, said "Hi!" and talked with the kids. I asked them what are they making to which 2-3 kids looked back at me and replied "We're making a star!". I looked at the object - they were pebbles on which these kids were painting in pink, orange, yellow, green and blue color.

The collection of painted pebbles called 'Stars' by the kids! Really great.
I kept moving from one bench to another to give equal attention and check their progress. I talked to them, heard them out, gave them tips, laughed at their jokes - boy, everything was so happening and cheerful! After painting they left their stars to dry at one place. Throughout this, it was great to see their actual class teacher encouraging them and helping them when they needed. In between, they got their meal and started giggling amongst themselves. Some kids opened up and talked to me about shapes, stars, moon, sun - basically the objects that they had in mind while painting.

Trust me, if I have to sum up my experience, I'd say "Very satisfying with the shining stars!". I really appreciate and congratulate the Teach for India fellows - Aditi, Prasun, Shikha, Sumit and Rukmani for the thought process, efforts put in, patience shown and personal contribution towards making this workshop so wonderful and ultimately serving the purpose of enlightening the lives of these kids. During recess, I had a pep talk with them on their personal experiences, value-adds, how they measure progress in these kids, etc. Really, it's a challenge to teach these kids and requires sincere efforts and commitment coupled with passion for self-motivation. It's special people like these who can take India ahead.

Despite paint in my hand, I did manage to click a few pics from my phone which will narrate the rest of my experience with the kids:

Initially, the kids were wondering who I am?

After some talk, the kids opened up and conversed freely!

The kids explaining what they were doing.

After pebbles, came the time to paint faces! Run!

Active boys - The 3 Idiots?!

Yes, yes - active girls too!

Special request - 'Click me, please, please!'

Totally painted - Kids in Green!
If I have to sum up in 140 characters, it would be:
My experience at municipal school art workshop: Kids were very inquisitive, receptive & beautiful. A priceless experience, 100% satisfaction.
If you found this post interesting, then I strongly recommend you to volunteer for such workshops with these school kids as a little contribution from you can make a big difference to the lives of these kids! And how do you that? Simple - get in touch with Aditi on twitter @aditirawat and you can also join their Facebook page (click here) where you can see workshop photos, discuss, ask questions, etc. Do spread the word on your Facebook, Twitter network as even that will count if you can't make it yourselves. Remember, if you do go, you'll bring down the stars (Taare Zameen Par)!

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