Wizening Workshop

ImageOn the balmy afternoon of July 6 took place an event filled with warmth and smiles-CSA’s Activity Centre Workshop. The workshop was conducted by Miss Ramya Memon, a post graduate student of Christ University. It started with us assembling in the Mini Auditorium at 1.30 pm. We were grouped into six teams of nine or ten members.

The first activity required each team to list out 10 points to tackle a situation The situations ranged from ‘How will you make your class entertaining for the children to listen?’ to ‘How will you maintain the regularity of the students of your class?’ Needless to say, every team tried their best. This was a followed by a group discussion.

The next task was an activity based assignment. The idea was to earn money from the Christites to get food for the maintenance staff. There was a subtle change in the team set-up for the task – two were blindfolded, two were muted, two were made three-legged and the rest constituted the strength of the teams. The time stipulated was just half an hour.

Finally, the session was concluded with a presentation. It compelled us to think about the varying abilities of students, the language-barrier, maintaining the regularity of the class and so on. The session which was packed with fun, also paved way for self-reflection. We learnt the importance of co-ordination and team-work. It also helped us make new friends, which comes with being a part of CSA.

Reported by: Nishok U G, I CEP ; Edited by: Sharon Lewis, I B.Com (Hons.)

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Activity Centre Exposure 2013

ImageSeated by the window, in the bus, a student from the Activity Center from our very own CSA wondered how she was going to spend her evening. Waiting for the bus to move, two people came and asked her if they could share the seat with her. Knowing that the seat could only take two people she was going to refuse one of them but she looked around to discover that the bus was full and they had to adjust.

Travelling by the unadopted roads and seemingly moving lush green trees by the sides, the bus reached the destination. As she stepped out of the bus with a crowd of eighty-nine other enthusiastic members, she saw a small school. The school was not kachcha, as she expected. In fact, none of the houses were weak structured.

In front of the school on the stairs sat all those bright little children, with big smiles on their faces. Well, now would they have been allowed to escape the CSA tradition? Obviously not. THE BANANA DANCE! The kids enjoyed it and so did she and everyone else.

She went up front, and like everyone else did, she introduced herself to all the children and went up to a little groups of kids and spoke to them. Soon enough she joined a group of eight members and interacted with ten children. She went from one house to another; as every child wrapped her finger around their fragile hand and pulled her to their homes. It did come to her surprise that every child she met spoke English, where as she was worried the previous night how would she talk to them in their native language.

She was really astonished to see such talent in these young children. One small girl began to break dance in front of everyone and it was really an amazing sight for her. Well, thanks to the nurturing of CSA, these buds will bloom into beautiful flowers.

As she bid bye to all those children and sat back in the bus, she thought to herself, her life would have been complete if she hadn’t met them, but now that she had it’ll be a waste if she didn’t return to see them.

Reported by: Nikhil Shankar, I PSEng ; Edited by: Srishti Banerjee, I PSEng ; Photo Courtsey: Prasanna L S 

 

Activity Centre Exposure to Janakiram Layout: a journey to another world!

CSA Exposure to Janakiram Layout on July 7th presented an area both simple and compact, miles away, though not literally, from the glamorous material world. The setting transports you to a sublime state, where you simply enjoy the moment in hand.

The streets provide an atmosphere of both alienation and belonging, but not such that it makes you feel uncomfortable. Rather, it instigates you to spend hours in productive indulgences. I enjoyed the low ceilings and miniature furniture, which not only evoked a sense of nostalgia of childhood to creep in, but also fulfilled my passion for archaic items and locations.

The children there were more than welcoming, each of them flashing a broad smile at us. A mixture of eagerness, innocence, mischief and naivety invites you into their world of colour, inspiring you to live life in all its glory. Kids are adorable, and perhaps the best company you could ever have. Their straight-forwardness and innocence was refreshing and enriching.

The project area houses a second-hand store, One More Time, which sells old and used clothes, shoes and equipments to the residents of the area at a very cheap rate. Another shop, Anu, sells bags, purses and pen stands made from cartons and used tetra-packs by the women in the area. Their creativity, which translates ‘waste’ to ‘wow’, will leave you dumbstruck.

The area’s greenery was another magnetic feature. Although Bangalore does have an abundance of trees, there could be no more splendour than enjoying the ambiance of sitting under a tree rooted in clay and buried in sand.

There also seems a certain joy derived from living in close proximity with another. Your neighbour becomes more like family, each completing the one-big-happy-joint-family of the other. It is, basically, social networking in its most efficient form.

The exposure gifted me memories to behold and food for thought, action and words!

-Mridhula Murali, I PSEng

Activity Centre Exposure to Rajendranagar: a push to take a step!

This is the beginning of the expectantly long journey that I have taken up to experience one of the most known phenomena about India, also one that we are greatly ashamed to publicize– Poverty. To a layman, this word would translate to the beggars and hawkers that one commonly sees around every corner of the road. In India, every road doesn’t lead to Rome; rather every road brings you before at least one social, economic, political or cultural problem.

Every nook and corner of India gives you a different but worthy experience. If you have not come across all, you have not seen it all. On the 7th of July 2012, I along with many of CSA’s volunteers went on an exposure trip to Rajendranagar, a slum in the south-west end of Bangalore. This is not a neglected area in the eye of the government; it has seen a large amount of development over the last ten or so years. And the process goes on ceaselessly. We saw many few-storied buildings, packed with people living in spaces that we would have allotted for our toilets. And this was not the end of our worries. To gain control over the situation by even a tiny amount, some volunteers from our University and abroad had started a small school for teaching under-privileged toddlers from all ages.

Their mode of study is as good as it could be with the available monetary and human resources. Their libraries are not huge stacks and shelves of thousands of volumes occupying every inch of the walls, rather they have just one wooden plank hung on a painted wall with not more than a hundred books to read. Everyone’s wish would be to see themselves one day in the galleries of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. But unfortunately, the children are not so lucky to even see the inside of an aeroplane in their lives. They are provided with education from the state and are learning more languages than even those with which I am familiar. The children appeared quite bright and highly ambitious; they have an eager want and need to learn. They don’t want others to change. Instead, they want to become the change that they want to see in this world. God bless them all!

A lot of people depend on us; a part of our country depends on us; humankind depends on us. We should be ready to take on this responsibility. We do not have to take huge leaps for that, we just need to make successive steps in bringing up some small changes in the beginning and carry on with a hope, a belief, a pint of faith that the world will change one day, people will realize the truth one day, things will go a different way in the future… only because we took a small step today.

-Samip Velani, I PCM

Activity Centre Exposure to LR Nagar: a wonderful experience!

The Exposure to CSA’s Project Area on 07th July was a wonderful experience. It was not only a chance to meet and interact with the kids that we would be working with, but also an opportunity to get to know other volunteers of Activity Centre.

There were three buses that took volunteers to different project areas in Bangalore, and I got into the bus that went to LR Nagar. There was a HUGE turnout, with more than 65 volunteers in our bus alone!

When we reached the slum, we were briefed about CSA’s activities there. We were so many in number that we had to go and meet the children in batches of 20! The building that housed the sponsored children looked like a house, and I wondered how kids could be taught in such a small house. When I actually got to meet them, I was overwhelmed!

They welcomed each one of us with a loud and warm “HI!” and then sang songs for us. They then asked us to sing them a song, and it seemed that we were much more nervous than them, although they were just a bunch of six-eight year-olds. There they were- almost 20-25 of them- in a cramped room, without even a hint of resentment in their behavior or words! It was simply touching, and just the thought of teaching such beautiful, energetic, bubbly kids was exciting.

I interacted with a lot more kids from the area. The CSA senior volunteers are extremely helpful and friendly.

When we were about to leave, we were told that the people there had had a function that day and that there was an excess of chicken biriyani which they wanted to share with all of us. It was a very touching gesture, though being vegetarian, I couldn’t eat any! I was sad to leave the kids behind, and wanted to spend more time with them. Well, I’m looking forward to meeting them again, and I’m sure it will be fun!

-Alekha Acharya, II CEP

Masti Ki Paatshaala:)

Tight hugs and wide smiles…this is the kind of welcome any of you would receive if you go to the Christ PU College to take tutions for the tiny tots there. This year, CSA has introduced tutions for the children of the workers on the Christ University campus. Though a small group of around twenty shining faces, the children are a varied bunch differing in age and capacity. Apart from their academics, they show active participation in co-curricular activities, their favourite being theatre.Their  enthusiasm and energy  is almost addictive.Teaching them is a pleasure, and at the same time,  a challenge. While most of them hardly knew their alphabet at the beginning of the year, they have made great improvement since then. A few can spell several words by now!  The antics of the volunteers as they struggle to communicate with them in bits of broken Kannada is a sight  you wouldn’t want to miss 🙂

Gracias… Thank you… Thanksgiving… Welcome…

 

On the day which comes once in four years, the Centre for Social Action Christ College, organised a programme nomenclatured Gracias. It was an arena for the sponsored students from the Rajendranagar to express their thanks to their sponsors. This was the second edition of Gracias, conducted once a year.

On the 29th of February, almost all of the sponsored children of Rajendranagar trooped in to Christ College. These children were beneficiaries of the sponsorship programme of CSA. Various classes in Christ College, as well as outside people, sponsor education, health and clothes for these kids. And now, these kids were putting up a programme to show their gratitude to their sponsors.

All the sponsor classes and individuals were invited to this programme. But we never expected the huge crowd which turned up to watch the event. And as a few kids sang Hum honge kaam ya… (“We shall overcome…”) the rest of the group of 130 walked in a neat line into the auditorium, inviting thunderous applause. Heartened thus, the kids put up a beautiful and wonderful show.

Johny sir, the co-ordinator of CSA, gave a very enlightening speech about CSA, Rajendranagar, the activities of CSA, and difference the activities made to the area. His speech was followed by a photo presentation consisting of pictures of the Rajendranagar slum, taken by Sacharias. This was followed by the programmes by the kids.

The programmes included a western song, a hilarious, but informative play on girl child education, a dhandiya dance and a Norwegian classical dance. One of the sponsored kids, Kiran, gave a speech about how the sponsorship affected his life. Nivendra, a CSA volunteer, also gave a speech about his experiences with CSA.

The audience were quite inspired by the show and actively gave feedback in the form of appluase. They joined in the rhythm of clapping during the Norwegian dance, and also encouraged the kids by giving heartening applauses at the end of each programme.

The prize distribution for all previous Activity Centre events followed the programmes. And after the entire programme ended, the kids, along with the volunteers headed to the Birds Park to have lunch. The kids hung around for another couple of hours, playing, singing, dancing, and having fun…

As the day ended, every kid had a huge smile on his/her face. Every volunteer was tired, but even they sported cheerful smiles. The programme was organised by the Norwegian exchange students. They did the MCing as well. Kudos to them for a well organised programme, which pulled in a huge audience, and made the children happy!

Project Areas – an update…

Malur Project           

Bishop’s
Conference of
Italy

* Children’s day
celebrations

– Village wise cultural and sports competitions.

– Panchayat members, parents and school teachers were
invited as guests for the finals of the competition

* Self Help groups
for women

– More than 128 income generation programmes like:
livestock, petty shops and food stall, etc.

– Training in small business activities.

– Banks have come forward to work with these groups.

– Collaboration with Hindustan Lever Ltd. (HLL) to start
dealership for daily, consumable products. E.g. toothpaste.

K. Gollahalli
Project Area

* Crèche for children

– attracted more than 25 children,

– provision of pre-school education, nutrition and health
care.

* Self Help Groups

– regularly accessing loans from banks for setting up
various small businesses,

– initiating discussions to get benefits from local
government,

– have been taken for exposure on new variety of sheep
rearing.

– Cluster Level Association (CLA) is training SHGs and
building links with banks.

Rajendranagar
Slum, Koramangala

 * Child Sponsorship Programme:

– Talents day

– Tests

– Film Shows (At field & PVR – Tare Zameenpar)

– Personality Development workshops

– Drawing Competition

– Craft work

– Regular Classes

– Monthly Parents Meeting – Class wise

– Counseling assistance

– Distribution of New year gift (T-Shirts)

* Self Help Groups

– Regular Meetings, Savings, Credit Activities

– 100% External loan repayments

– Payment of Child Sponsorship fees

– Five SHG’s have taken responsibility to conduct school
wise monthly meeting for the parents of sponsored children
and fees payments
are made at the meetings.

– Housing loan repayment collection & payment to CSA

– One new group formation

– HIV – AIDS Awareness rally & programme on 1st of
December 07 at Christ College Auditorium

Hoskote – Chetana

This year there were appreciable rains resulting in
satisfactory crop yield & created better employment opportunities for the
village poor. The farmers have gained in the crop yields wherever they adopted
appropriate soil & moisture conservation techniques- implemented under CFCD
project.

All the Day care nutrition centres are handed over to the
local community for the self management.

Women’s Meet was organized for showcasing their unity &
preparing the platform for forming the federation.

The women’s federation has been formed & members are
being trained intheir roles & responsibilities.

The activity centres have become a hub for honing their
learning skills & developing their personalities. The child’s &
mother’s health is being treated with utmost care.

There is a noticeable improvement in utilizing the health
facilities implemented by the government agencies.

With a little more support and effective linkages to various
sources including the government, the Committee based organisations will able
to meet all the needs of the community.

Taare Zameen Par – Kids day out :)

It was a fine morning. There were eight people in front of The Forum, Dairy Circle, Bangalore. All of them sat calm, but looked tensed. Was it tension, or was it excitement? The early crowd who were loitering around in front of the mall queued up in front of the metal detectors at exactly 9:30PM as the mall opened its spotless glass doors. The eight remained – a few sitting on the muddy granite walls, a few standing, and a couple pacing around with mobiles. And then one girl screams “What???!!!!”. And they all run to an adjacent petrol pump.

 

Was it a planned operation by terrorists to destroy The Forum?
Was in a suicide bombing attempt to destroy the most popular mall in Bangalore?
Was it the Delta Force in mufti planning to take on a dangerous delinquent?

 

No ladies and gentlemen, no. It was in fact, a much more dulcet, and yet much more exciting event.

 

It was Movie Day for the kids of Rajendranagar slum. And they had just arrived in the adjacent petrol pump – and the volunteers of Activity Centre, waiting in front of the mall, were rushing to meet them.

 

In a short while, two neat queues of kids, all shouting, talking, and jumping in excitement, and sporting their CSA t-shirts, formed in front of the metal detectors. The security guards talking cryptically into their walkie-talkies hovered nearby, but there was no need, for it they were a perfectly well behaved group(ahem). Soon they were inside, and the reptile-like queues were snaking towards the multiplex PVR movie theatres on the top floor of The Forum, escorted by equally excited Activity Centre volunteers.

 

They were here to watch Taare Zameen Parevery kid is special – a new and popular Bollywood movie, featuring Aamir Khan. The movie is all about a kid having severe dyslexia, and how his teacher trains him to be like any other average student. Since the movie revolved around children, we thought that it was the ideal one to be shown to the kids or Rajendranagar. We also thought that we would help the kids have a ‘multiplex experience’.

 

So in the two neat lines converged into one, as they entered Auditorium 7 of PVR Multiplex. They were taken to their seats, escorted by CSA staff and volunteers. Lights dimmed. The movie began…..

 

time passed like a dream… an excellent movie… an excellent company… the kids loved it…

 

3 hours later

 

The auditorium exits opened, and the kids poured out, with tears pouring from their eyes. A few of them were smiling. A few were trying to wipe off and hide their tears. They had loved the movie!

 

They were all in the same sad mood from the movie, so we took them for a tour of The Forum. When they had regained their excitement, and laughs had replaced the tears, we decided that it was indeed kind of late, and we escorted them to their bus. Before they left, they quietly slipped us two Thank You cards. 🙂 One for our Johny sir, and one for the PVR movies manager.

 

It was such a heart warming experience. The kids had loved the movie. And we loved that we had been instrumental in giving the kids an oppurtunity to love the movie!

 

We would like to specially thank PVR Movies, who gave us a 30% reduction in the tickets, and provided us with free snacks. Spurts of happiness radiate from the Rajendranagar side. And we… We revel in these spurts 🙂

Activity Centre does it best!

Activity Centre began with a bang! With around 50 volunteers in the group, tuitions are taken by volunteers every weekday for the sponsored children of  classes 4 to 10 of Rajendra Nagar.

In addition to regular tuitions, Activity Centre’s main aim for this year is to incorporate curricular and extra – curricular activities simultaneously. As a semester activity, they organised a Health Camp on July 28th for the kids. Dr Prashant , Dr Shakila from the Kempegowda Institution of Medical Sciences (KIMS) attended over 125 kids. The kids had a complete health checkup and their medicines were also provided by CSA.