Monday, June 30, 2008

Deepam- How it Changed "ME" :)

One of Life’s important lessons learnt from the kids who have been a part of Deepam

I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if it's given from the heart. When the kids are talking, expressing, there’s no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what they're saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it. Most of us don't value ourselves or our love enough to know this. It has taken me along time to believe in the power of simple saying, "I'm so sorry," when someone is in pain. And meaning it. These classes have helped me do that. They have been an eye opener for me in more than one way.

When I was volunteering one of the classes at Nalamdana Perungudi I remember one child who used to have serious doubt on every sentence I was teaching them about MS Word. Initially I got a bit frustrated but later understood that the kid genuinely didn’t seem to have much knowledge and hence was inquisitive to know more. This incident was an eye opener and I learnt my lesson of being patient, listening patiently and again answering patiently.

I have even learned to respond to someone who needs help by just listening to what they have to say. In the old days I used to reach for the tissues, until I realized that passing a person a tissue may be just another way to shut them down, to take them out of their experience of sadness and grief. Now I just listen. It works the same when people are excited with something that has left them happy. Listening to all the good things they have to share and being there beside them is the best gift one can give another. I have been quite a talkative child and now teaching at Deepam has helped me to listen to all the queries, all the stories that the kids have to share. It has also made me change to certain extent at my workplace where I have started listening before I opine on something.

This simple thing has not been that easy to learn. It certainly went against everything I had been taught since I was very young. I thought people listened only because they were too timid to speak or did not know the answer. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well intentioned words.

Thanks to Deepam I have started listening ……..

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Its time to dream again...

New beginnings throw open immense possibilities - They let us dream . Last weekend , we saw a new beginning at Deepam - Deepam is partnering with Sneham ( the corporate social responsibility wing of Infosys ) to take the computer education to more kids. We had our friends from Infosys at our class in Besant Nagar on Saturday and straight away, they outnumbered our volunteers . We had 13 volunteers at the class on Saturday . It was great to see our little class room packed with kids and volunteers !!!!

Along with Sneham, we are going to start off our 3rd program next week, in Besant Nagar.

Thanks to Amreetha and Vijay for taking the initiative to bring Deepam with Sneham, Infosys !

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Volunteer of the Month

We are not even at the end of June but this month's ' Volunteer of the Month ' is a very easy decision.

When we stepped into the class this afternoon, the person's name was on the lips of the children - wondering why the person didn't come today. Goes to show the influence the person has had over the kids since the start of the session at Besant Nagar.

And the person also didn't shy away from initiatives - Along with Archana, she brought the idea of introducing some knowledge games to the kids. Importantly, made sure the idea got implemented - taking time off during a weekday to go hunt for the games , bringing them over to the kids and getting them to play :)

Thanks Meera ! You are our Volunteer of the Month !!!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Class at Besant Nagar !

Deepam started off its 2nd computer program at Besant Nagar. Thanks to Nalamdana, we have a clean place (with a great view of the sea ) where we teach the kids, at the Olcott Kuppam area.

Start Date : May 24 , 2008
Place : Olcott Kuppam, Besant Nagar
Class : Saturdays - 2 PM to 4 PM
Duration : 4 Months

Ram lead the class, taking the kids through an interesting path, trying to get the kids to open up and ask questions. He began by getting the kids to talk about the dreams and openly encouraging the kids to go after the dreams.


In a subtle way, he was making the kids think , leading them into areas they have never been before - the master at work ! It was a lesson for not just the kids - for us volunteers as well !! From thirukural to tamil movies, civil engineering to animation, input / output devices to MS Paint, the kids were taken through an interesting session.

The kids then had their "hands-on" session - they let their creativity free on MS Paint. It sure was a happy feeling to see the kids hooked on to the laptop, exploring MS Paint - they probably know more tricks with the tool than many of us do !!!



Personally, the class is a source of great joy . The times spent with the happy kids just whizz past ! Every time in the last 2 weeks, i had gone on near empty gas ( late night work .. ) but came out of the session charged up. The kids' energy levels rub off on us !! Their smartness keeps us on our toes . The class' also serve as a way to discover myself as a person - it teaches me to be patient all the time . This is a class where learnings happen both sides - both the volunteers and the kids learn :)

If you guys have the time, just feel free to drop in during the class.

Thanks
kk