Amidst a valley created by tall skyscrapers, nearly 100 kids settled down eagerly in four little rooms of Samridhdhi Bridge School in Bellandur. Not for them the worry of a very hot sun, and its effects. They were here to play, learn and have fun. And they did all this as part of the Sunday Camp conducted by the Together We Can collective of NGOs, of which Pratham Books is a partner. We believe we can nurture and resource the children of Bangalore for a self-sustaining life, over the next 5-15 years.
Volunteers from Baale Mane had the children singing, dancing and playing games. Volunteers from Akshara Foundation engaged the children with Lego building blocks. Spaceships, rockets, apartments, and even a 'diamond shop' got built in record time.
The creations led themselves well to a storytelling session with a volunteer from Pratham Books. Quick sketches on a board led the children to make up some more exciting stories. We had three storytelling sessions for children of three different age groups.
We started with Haathi ka Bukhaar (Elephant's Fever) in one group. With the older group we could use the same story to talk about hygiene, temperature and mercury. We also played with our story cards. Some of the children who had been in the bridge school for over a year could read the Hindi cards. In the older group, the story cards got converted to 'money'! Different story cards represented different denominations. The class became a 'bank' and we could share a few basics about money. This reporter was a little distracted by a little fellow who ignored her totally and instead applied himself fully to the task of tying a balloon to a pole. But a storybook finally got him too. Aha!
While the children thought they were just there to have fun, they unconsciously learnt to read, comprehend, write and translate from Hindi to English, or English to Kannada, and in some groups from Hindi to Bengali too!
Volunteers from Liter Of Light were also at the school to see how they could brighten the lives of these children with their pet-bottle-based solar lighting invention.
Representatives from Centre for Education Innovations were present to work on connecting CSR groups to Sunday camps.
The good work done by Samridhdhi Trust and its teachers was evident in the way the children communicated. This Sunday Camp was a few hours of Sunday well-spent by all. So much to do, so much to learn!
Photo credits: Ramesh and Sridhar of Akshara Foundation.