I work for Agastya International Foundation, which is an education trust that work to improve science education in schools. This is done by working with government run schools and is also within the existing schooling system. Therefore, the summer vacation is when we actually become innovative and try to find ways to conduct various camps and other activities for children as well as the adults. And this year we were privileged and lucky to work with two different organizations for the same. We worked with an NGO called Vidya (which works with schools run by Bombay Municipal Corporation) and helped them with a few concepts in basic science and it was successful. This was a normal experience for the people from Agastya. There was nothing different. It was fairly an easy game for us.
In the month of May, we decided to conduct camps for the children in Snehasadan – an orphanage and shelter home for children. Now that was a different experience all together. The children were curious to know something new. They were attentive during the sessions and were obedient to the instructors. But there were few kids who were lost in their own world. So, one day I decided to spend some time with them when the instructor wanted a day off. I got to spend time with them talking, answering their queries, telling them my story and also listening to their stories. One had not seen her parents for a long time, some did not know who there parents were. Most of them didn’t have a place to go back to during the summer vacation. One had a burned face (I didn’t ask her the reason for it). A few had some kind of mishaps in the past and so on.
That day, I realized that I had so many opportunities and a lot of people who would support me and love me always. And also, the stereotypes the children had been dangerous. Now I understand them better. I will not judge them by the way they behave or look. Everyone has a different story and the stories are not always happy stories. And the situation they grew up in or the events they have witnessed in life – all these have made each of them different from each other and the people like me who has a very normal happy life.