This quarter we'd like to share the story of our ever-smiling Anamika.
Anamika came to us from an adoption agency in March of 2002 when she was just 11 years. Owing to her being a slow learner, the possibility of her adoption were extremely limited.
Settling in well at Karm Marg, she blossomed into a very affectionate and caring young lady. She retains her childlike innocence which makes her very lovable. She has a very cheerful personality and is very sensitive to all. Shy with outsiders, she prefers to stay in the background doing the work assigned to her. Very fond of dressing up, she loves to be a part of all the group activities.
Along with the other special needs youngsters, Anamika attended Shaurya Centre for Special Needs youth in Delhi. Her interest in cooking and baking has now led her to complete her three year training there successfully.
She is now 25 and is employed as a Kitchen Assistant at Karm Marg as we felt that sheltered employment would be in her best interest. She is working very responsibly and is happy to be earning her own money. She enjoys baking too and we are planning on starting a baking product line which she can work on and we can help market.
This quarter is usually accompanied by the heat of the summer. Summer holidays, excursions and workshops are what keep the children excited and productively occupied.
This year we provided an opportunity to our children to go to other NGOs for an exposure visit and understand different ways of learning. We organised a separate trip for the smaller children to visit the NGO Aavishkar in Himachal Pradesh.
There they explored learning Science and Maths through innovative and creative games, stories and practical experiments. It was a whole new concept of learning and the kids really enjoyed the interactions immensely. They came back with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas to apply to their current study patterns.
For the young adults, we organised an sort of an exchange program to the Space for Nurturing Creativity in Uttarakhand. It required quite a journey in the bus after a stop over at Rishikesh and then an hour's trek uphill on foot. That journey itself gave all them them a time to bond and have fun with each other and the staff that accompanied them. It is run in a totally different way. There are 25 children staying there with a lady called Archana. It's a self sufficient way of life in a remote village. No one goes to school, they learn everything at their own home. Music, dance, yoga, cooking and craft are some of the areas they excel in. The children are all self motivated to practice the skill they enjoy on their own everyday without any prompting from the staff.
Our children were also very impressed with the whole concept and liked starting their day early with meditation and yoga. They have been replicating this throughout the rest of the summer holiday and have also been going for walks everyday at 6 am with Shabila, our alumni and staff member.
The whole idea behind this visit was to observe, absorb and adopt similar ways of working, discipline, time management, daily routine and how to manage all the challenges while maximising output with minimum resources. We feel this exchange has been really a huge eye opener for all the youngsters and the accompanying staff members.
While there, a series of workshops were also introduced by our talented in house KM team to all their children and staff. Jewellery making out of cloth, stitching bags form old cloth pieces, paper bag making and wall mural art were some of the in-house workshops that kept everyone creatively and productively occupied. This exchange of ideas and skills have been mutually beneficial for all children. Knowing that they too have skills they can teach and be appreciated for, has been a great morale booster for our youth.
In the first week of May Karm Marg organized a 'Life Skills' workshop at the Senior Secondary Government school in Kheri Kalan village, Faridabad. Conducted by our partners Modicare we've started with class 11s. Many relevant and necessary topics were discussed in the workshop like peer pressure, life skills, HIV/AIDS, and personal hygiene. The youngsters were very attentive. There were many participative and interactive discussions. The feedback from them was very encouraging as they said they understood each topic very well and welcomed many more such workshops.
Shabila organised a natural homemade soap making workshop. She used easily available and natural ingredients like neem, tulsi, lemon and multani mitti. Each child had a great time making a soap for themselves. Along the way they were also told why other commercially made chemical soaps are harmful for their body.
Ten of our creative children went to Creative Adda at Dariyaganj to participate in Dhamaal Chawkdi peer to peer learning program under the guidance of Shikshantar, Udaipur. Our children got to chance to explore so many different craft, science, music and other workshops. Kabaad se jugaad, Jewellery making, candle making, Solar panel were their favourite. Our very own Rihana and Shama conducted peer learning workshop of Jalkumbhi where they taught how to make jewellery and mats with the help of jalkhumbi (weed).
Our 'Library Project' for local primary schools is also going well.
We continue our weekly four hour session of storytelling and craft followed by the children borrowing books as per their interest and returning it back after reading it.
Deepak worked hard and graduated from Modinagar College of Art after a four years Bachelor's degree course with Distinction. We are looking for options for further training for him.
Vipin, Govinda and Iqbal have got an opportunity to receive training in the Radisson Blue hotel in areas of Services and Kitchen for six weeks.