17/03/2007: It was a typical saturday morning. Weekend had started. This time other volunteers couldn't make it to Mobile Creches. Our new member, Sandra who is from Germany was really keen to go to Mobile Creches to meet the kids. So we reached Mobile Creches by 10:30 a.m. As there were only two of us and around 30 kids, it left us a bit perplexed as how to catch the attention of the kids. Normally we divide the kids in a group of 4-5 depending on availability of volunteers and go through what all they have learned in past few days and asking them few questions, clearing their doubts etc.
Sandra is still in the process of getting familiar with Hindi, so that she can interact more freely with the kids. So to keep the kids engaged we finally thought of teaching the kids how to answer if someone asks them in English, "What is your name?" The idea was that if Sandra asks them the same question, they would be able to smartly answer in English. All the children were told to sit in a circle and we started with a kid at random among them asking, "Tumhara naam kya hai?" He replied just by saying "Ajay". Then I had to tell him that you reply by saying, "Mera naam Ajay hai". He repeated it in a bit slow manner.
Then we asked the children that do they want to learn speaking in English and all replied in unison that they want to. So I asked Usha to stand and repeat with me that if someone asks her, "What is your name?" , then she should say, "My name is Usha". To that she tried to say slowly "My.......naam.......izz......Ushaa". But it was a good effort and she tried to improvise it too. Thereafter, each one of the kids was asked to stand and answer in the same way. Some of the kids were feeling too shy to speak. Some of the kids were saying in a very nice manner. For some it was sounding greek and latin. But at least it enabled to catch their attention.
Meanwhile some of the children were playing with Sandra, and were saying ,"Didi, Idhar aao naa!". Sandra really likes to be with these kids and even kids want her to teach Hindi quickly :-) . They were teaching her that a Cat is called "Billi" in Hindi and a Rabbit is called "Khargosh".
Later on we asked two of the kids to come at the center of circle, and to follow the simple exercise:
Ajay: "What is your name"?
Suraj: "My name is Suraj".
Suraj: "How are you?"
Ajay: "I am fine. Thank you."
Many of the children repeated this exercise. Few of them got a bit stuck while trying to repeat the sentences. Some displayed amazing confidence.
But it left me wondering that how much effort it requires in teaching just 4 lines of English to these kids. In the coming times how much learning and education(and the quality of education) is going to be possible for these children, when there parents have to keep moving from place to place every 2-3 years to a new construction site in search of some work. How many of these kids would be able to come out of the labour class, and get a chance like other privileged kids to learn computers and speak fluent English? Or would they become the next generation of labourers due to the lack of education even though they want to study and go ahead in life? Sometimes I really feel lucky that I was able to get a decent school education. How much education would be possible for these children? And what as educated individuals can we do for these children? Should we leave things for them on their fate?? Or can we come forward and do something worthwhile for them??