The Oasis summer camp was held for over 150 kids from the Doddegunta slum on the 16th and 17th of May. The children belonged to the age group of 8-16 years. We had around forty interns and volunteers engaging them in various games and activities who were divided on the basis of their age groups. The two days which followed were fun, chaotic, memorable and absolute entertainment. The younger children engaged in a lot of painting. The interns and volunteers helped the kids make cards and design the cards with hand prints, painted designs and absolutely anything which made the cards look more attractive. The kids had a ball of a time and at the end of it, you could see mutli-coloured hands and painted faces and a smile on every face. The older kids had English assessments to evaluate where their vocabulary and language skills stood at, and what they lacked in the same. After this,they played a series of games like Bang Bang, Bomb the city, Tallest tower and such. Towards the end of the day, we had kids come up on stage and perform, which was a confidence booster for most of them. The first day, despite being hectic, was very satisfactory and a whole lot of fun. The second day was pretty similar with the kids being divided again,in order of their age. The younger kids had two sessions of Arts and crafts. During the first session we handed kids printed sheets of cartoons and they were asked to colour them. Though it was quite a task making the kids colour within the borders, everyone was involved and absorbed in the activity, and at the end of it, we had many sheets of vibrantly coloured cartoons and each kid was proud of his/her work of art,just as much as we were,of theirs. The second session was after lunch where the kids were given cut-outs of masquerade masks and added sparkles, paints and newspaper cut-outs to make the masks look fancy. The older kids had another session of assessments and they again had a series of games and a talent show to again bring out their talents. The talent show was the grand highlight of the two days,and served as a fitting finale. At the end of two days,everyone went home with a smile, a memory and an assurance that they had made a difference in some kid’s life.
On the 21st and 22nd of May,all of us went to the Crisis Intervention Center which basically houses destitute women, or women who have been rescued from all sorts of atrocities and women who have nowhere to go. It was a life-changing experience for me to go and interact with these women,especially since I am a guy. I learnt how strong women can be in the face of adversities and the unfair way in which society treats them. It’s an unsafe,dangerous world for them,and women are constantly armed with strength and spirit and courage. I saw it in these women over the course of these two days.
We engaged in arts and crafts where we made baskets,shoe boxes and wall hangings with them. We also played several games and danced a lot to popular music.During the career-based sessions,I was amazed at their ability to dream big and have the will to rise above their limitations. While participating in individual counseling talks,I found that many were not only vocal,but actively working towards their dreams in some small way or the other. While taking assessments,I saw how the women were aware of their weakness, but channeled it positively with their eagerness and enthusiasm to learn.
I have learnt SO much from them,and for me,these two days were absolutely unforgettable.
I know I’ve made a difference,and as they always say, U&I can really make a difference!
The summer camp at the Balakya Vidya Mandir held on the 23rd and 24th of May, was kickstarted with icebreakers and music and games. After pre-assessments were taken, the children were given a career-oriented session which focused on the various options they could avail of, given their circumstances. The response was extremely positive as each of the girls were given individual counseling following the session, following which,a potential career direction was given to all of them.
The fun part soon followed when they engaged in arts and crafts with bangle-making and colouring and making photo frames. The smiles on each of the girls faces was absolutely heart-warming!
Day 2 saw an even more energized bunch of children who were again assessed so that we could better evaluate their educational and grammatical strengths and weaknesses. After a fun-filled team activity,they enthusiastically participated in a personalized KBC game of sorts.The nail painting,tattoo-making and hair braiding that took place after lunch was imaginably the most well received by the girls, and marked the end of yet another life-changing and inspiring camp for them.
What I loved the most about this camp was the fact that each of these girls had a story of their own to tell,and needless to say,they were largely dark ones. In spite of their troubles,they were all smiles,always cheerful,and seemed to possess a never-say-die spirit. Just as they learnt from us,we learnt from them,and sometimes I daresay that we went home more grateful and awestruck than they did. :)
30th May and 31st May were the two days when we went to Karunalaya where we were met by an enthusiastic bunch of kids who were also very well-behaved (yes,this was a pleasant surprise to us!)
With energy levels high and buzzing and with all sorts of games and activities to keep our-starry eyed leading ladies and gentlemen smiling,we went ALL OUT in our last and final camp!!
Our team building activity was currazy! We actually formed the largest live caterpillar I have ever seen,and boy did they love it!
Then there was painting and coloring and letting imaginations and dreams soar wild beyond their horizons!
We even had a dream canvas,upon which our lil ones laid their handprints over. They then wrote their dreams over them and added lots of colour and glitter to it! It was absolutely mind-blowing!
Kudos to the interns and volunteers,and thank you U&I,for this opportunity!I loved every moment of it!
When I was first told that we would be working at the State home for Mentally Challenged Boys, I was quite apprehensive because, firstly, I had never worked in an environment like that and, secondly, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to handle the boys there. What followed at the summer camp however, was an experience beyond verbal description and the complete opposite of what I had expected! U&I held the summer camp at the State home for Mentally Challenged Boys on the 7th, 8th and the 9th of May and I like to believe we made a HUGE difference, the right way, in the lives of these boys. On the 7th , we took around 45 boys to Cubbon Park for a day filled with fun and games. The boys were super excited and enthusiastic about the entire outing and the happiness was contagious. I could see each intern smiling along with the boys they were allotted to, while the boys indulged in sliding, running, climbing and having an absolute ball of a time on their day out. The train ride kept each of the boys captivated as they held on tightly to the interns and laughed and clapped as the train made its journey around Cubbon Park. They waved at people who they passed by, and at the U&I interns who were standing around. Never before have I seen a bunch of kids as lively and infectiously happy as these boys. By the end of it all, we were all drained out, but even on the bus journey back, the kids continued to smile and clap and kept the entire atmosphere charged with positive energy. It was a memorable day, both for the kids and for the interns alike. On the 8th and 9th ,things got a little more serious as we put aside the playfulness and decided to get down to business. The Home the kids were staying in, was in dire need of cleaning and with the help of a few volunteers,we started our cleaning spree spanning across the dorms, bathrooms, clothes and nurses’ rooms. A bunch of us kept the kids entertained while the others indulged in the dirty business of cleaning up (quite literally,might I add!)
The kids had a whole lot of fun coloring, playing, dancing and mesmerizing the interns with their hidden talents and their contagious happiness. There was never a dull moment in the two days we spent there. The male interns cleaned the floors and walls of the dorms, bathrooms and nurses’ rooms till they were sparkling clean, while the girls segregated, washed, dried and folded the boys’ clothes, mats, winter wear and blankets. By the end of it, we had made a visible and evident change in the cleanliness quotient of the entire place. With the help of gloves, masks, mops and detergents, we sure had made a difference where it mattered the most for the well-being of the boys.
Thank you,U&I,for helping us be agents of the change we want to see around us!
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