August 27, 2008

More Volunteer to Teach India

BANGALORE: Corporates, students, individuals and family members - all had a relaxed day out on Sunday attending induction programmes at various places in the city, discovering more about how they would go ahead and Teach India.

He didn't know much about why he was here, but threeyear old Neel Reddy ensured that his parents, Bhavani Prasad and Meena Reddy, made him understand whatever was spoken during the induction programme with the NGO Dream-a-Dream.

"During my short stay in the US, I had been part of a similar movement teaching children to read books. Those book sessions got us bonded and we started knowing more about each other. Hope to do the same again in India," says an excited Meena Reddy.

"I too had a similar dream... Didn't know how to start or where to go... Just saw the ad and rushed here... " - The midmorning session with Dreama-Dream echoed many such reactions amongst volunteers and also paved the way for effective partnerships taking their dreams as well as those of the under-privileged children a step ahead. Together, they were certain - not just curriculum but they would work on teaching more of lifesupporting skills that include art, activities, civic awareness, sports and even computers.

Similar enthusiasm was also seen at the induction programme with the Born Free art school at Bal Bhavan in Cubbon Park.

Who can make a better impact than the children themselves? In this regard, the organisation had its students interact with the 200 volunteers gathered at the auditorium gearing up to teach them in the coming days.

These students from the Born Free school had a lot to say about how creativity and varied interests got them back on the track of education. Santosh , passionate about horse riding, opted out of school during his early days.

However, one final day, he did step into a school, trying to follow a horse called 'Anbu' ; Anand, a tender coconut vendor , whose passion is dancing, is learning dance and also some basic letters and numbers ; Kiran, once a ragpicker, is now keen on picking up lessons on how to read and write; Satish, a child soldier at Chattisgarh - the gun in his hand now replaced by the painting brush; the bold and excited Jayaram , also nicknamed the 'Bond' for having once stolen close to 20 kg bullets and visited almost all police stations in the city, is keen on learning lessons of good living.

Even before submitting their enrolment forms, the volunteers began talks on the agenda, syllabus, subjects, students . Their biggest concern - how do we bring these kids on par with the privileged ones?

Not just volunteers, members of the participating NGOs have also been impressed with the response to the movement so far. John Devaraj, who runs the Born Free art school, said this was the first time he had witnessed such a mass volunteering effort.

This would go a long way in teaching India the right way out of illiteracy , he said.

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