Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Social responsibilities towards our society - What I learnt at STS

St Thomas School, New Delhi, has been actively participating in social services since many years. As an Indian citizen, and a human, Thomasites are taught about working for the society, and for the people in need, is of utmost importance in a person's life. I have had a few personal experiences, which have played a pivotal role in my personality development. I will pen down a few of them here. 

1. National Literacy Mission (NLM)

NLM as a Government of India initiative has involed a lot of social groups, and education institutons to attain the goal of 100% literacy. Read more about National Literacy Mission Programme. the middle year students of STS used to follow  "Each one teach one". I helped Jyoti, daughter of my maid, in attaining reading and writing skills. Jyoti used to wash utensils, and help Geetha aunty (my maid). Sometimes she used to sit with me, and ask about school, teachers and friends. I used to give her some books. She used to love the pictures, and make up her own stories, because she did not know how to read. In class 8, when I was handed over the NLM kit, I got the opportunity I was looking for. I used to teach Jyoti every Wednesday and Saturday. She completed her basic reading an writing in around 6 months. STS held a special convocation for all the kids/ adults who had completed the books and workbooks provided by NLM. Jyoti accompanied me to shcool that day. She received a certificate of literacy. I was a proud teacher, a proud Thoamsite. 

TV advert promoting NLM

2. Social Service every week - Class XI

When I was in class XI (I think I need a reference here, this could be class IX or X as well. I will confirm and correct if needed), we used to go to a nearby slum to teach the kids. One daunting task, trust me, this was. I recall going door to door in the slums, the small jhuggis, sitting there, talking to the ladies, trying to get the kids out twice very week for an hour, to study simple reading and writing. This is not a movie scene, sometimes I faced doors shut on my face, sometimes parents with folded hands. Any how we did manage to gather 50 kids, and started teaching them. We used to sit in a Janta Flats park, and hold the classes there.  

A morning in a Delhi slum

We held a celebration on the final day of the program. I can never forget the shine I saw in the yes of the proud parents. Amidst laddus and samosas, there was cheering for STS girls. :) 

3. Tamana School 

As a tradition, class 12 students service the society for a week. I am not sure how it happens now. In my years, a couple of sections used to go to the blind school, located at Lodhi Road in Delhi. A couple of sections used to visit the old age home. And the Science section got the opportunity be be at Tamana School. (Tamana is a non-profit voluntary organization registered in March 1984, created solely with the purpose of helping the cause of mentally challenged, multiply disabled and autistic.) It was a life changing experience for me (year 1996). I spent 3 days with the students, learning how to love the sunlight, learning the colors all over again, learning to eat, learning to love. They were around 8 - 10 years of age. I met a few of their proud parents as well. I went out with them to play. I recall loosing in the balance game. What innocent fun it was. 

Back in 2007, I went to watch Taarein Zamein Par, with my husband. The movie is about a dyslexic child, and his art teacher, who volunteered in a special school as well. The song I present below, could be one of the closest to my heart. It brings tears to me, whenever I watch it, or listen to it.  

My mind meanders into thoughts. Is it really difficult to have a heart? 

Title song: Movie Taare Zameein Par (2007)

This post is dedicated to the A-to-Z blogging challenge - the largest Blog Challenge in the history of Blogkind. My selected theme is "memories of St. Thomas' "- my Alma mater. This is the nineteenth post of the challenge, and is linked to the letter S: S for social responsibilities: learnings at STS.. 
Linking this post to UBC too.