Blog » The joy of LEAPing
August 11, 2013
By Raunaq Kalia
Our Project Head Raunaq Kalia provides an account of the time he visited a Leap classroom in our Second Phase. Much like the classroom session itself, it is full of happiness, fulfillment and of course, learning!
It was a bright sunny Saturday morning. It was going to be a day full of surprises but I wasn’t expecting any of that as I made my way from Vidhan Sabha Metro Station towards M. C. PRY School.
Even as I made my way to the classrooms which I was told were on the first floor, I could feel the excitement and hubbub radiating in the atmosphere. Climbing each step, I felt more and more nostalgic. Seeing so many kids in uniforms and the screaming and shouting, I could not help but go back in time and watch myself in school; carefree and satisfied.
On the first floor, all I could see were more kids and hear more noise. Nayanika Varma, the project coordinator for this classroom of Project Leap, was hard to find. She was caught in sea of little girls, who had surrounded her like little ants feeding on their most treasured sugar crystal. When I entered the room, all I could hear was “Bhaiya! Bhaiya!” The kind of welcome you can only get at a place like this! Elisha Patel, the Teach for India Fellow in that class, tells me that he is preparing the kids for the Inter school Academic Day that is scheduled to happen the next week with events like creative writing, recitation and a quiz. He also tells me how the authorities have always been very supportive and that the Principal is the one who should take the credit for that.
I was then taken to another classroom where Becoming I volunteers were preparing the students for a Spelling Bee Competition. The volunteers had conducted an array of activities with the kids and as a result of which they had opened up to them; forgetting problems and social barriers that they have to live with at their homes. Anushree, who is a student at NIFT mentions with broken smile, “When it’s time to leave, I am really going to miss all the hugs that I get when I come here.”
All through this, a little girl keeps me accompanied; bombarding me with questions – “Why I was visiting? Why was I talking to her teacher? Would I also teach them?” I just smile at her and enjoy the attention. I go down a flight of stairs and meet another amazing person – Aman Kaul, the other TFI Fellow Becoming I volunteers were working with.
Both the TFI Fellows admit that they have benefited immensely from the help provided by the Becoming I volunteers. “On days like these when we have to prepare 80 kids for so many competitions, it’s a relief to find that we have charming and talented kinds like them giving us a helping hand.”
I had been in the school for over two hours and I still wanted to talk to the kids, sit and watch them learn and take in as much as I could from this experience. But, alas, it was time to leave. All the kids had start to pack and the same curious girl came with a rusted key and announced “Chalo, band karna hai ab” (I have to lock up the room!). I walked out of the room with a smile on my face that did not seem to vanish at all. Nayanika probably read it on my face. “These kids are so attached to us now. We came here in February and they really have opened up. They tell us about their parents and their lives. Every time I come here, there is this feeling of immense warmth and love. I will really miss it.”
I went back home with the fond memories of two dedicated teachers, a team of wonderful volunteers and a kid who took my autograph. I couldn’t help but feel special.
Project Leap was started in 2012 and now has chapters in Delhi and Chennai. Our team at Leap had never even thought when the project was started, that one day we would see all our efforts take up shape so brilliantly and that too in a span of mere months. We are currently in the commencement stage of our fourth phase.
If you’re interested in being a part of Leap Phase 4.0 and looking forward to working with kids for a period of three months – August to November, keep following our Facebook Page and Website. Volunteers can choose Dance, Music, Art, Theatre or Sports as the activity of their choice and will be sent to classrooms accordingly. At the end of three months, Becoming I Foundation will organize an Inter School Festival where the children will showcase their talent.
To apply to be a volunteer, fill in the form here.