During the heavy rains in Chennai, many volunteers went to Bangalore to work or just stay safely. I was one of them. I stayed there for one week, waiting for the situation to get better in my host family and project.
With four other volunteers, we conducted English classes for three days in one of the Need Base India Foundation shelters. This non-profit organization founded in December 2009 is a foundation for child care and development. There are many different projects for the rehabilitated street children which are made to provide them care, protection and education. Most of these children come from highly deprived and dysfunctional backgrounds and are not able to live a normal life. That’s why Need Base India Foundation did “School Motivation camps” first and after built shelters for long-term programs.
We went to one of these shelters for boys and tried to conduct English classes to children from 5 years old to 15 years old. Since we were 5 volunteers, we split the children into two groups: one with the oldest and one with the smallest. I was teaching to the small children, but it was difficult for many reasons. Firstly, there were big differences between the ones who were able to read and write in English and the others who could not even read the alphabet. Secondly, it was really hard for them to focus on the lessons. They were always shouting and trying to get out of the classroom. I think they need time to adapt themselves to this new environment which is very different from the street and everything they are used to. Despite these difficulties, we tried to make them remember the parts of the body and some vocabulary such as the names of vegetables and fruits or the colours. After these three sessions, they were able to remember the parts of the body and for some of them to write them down in their notebook, so it was a good result afterwards.
But the most interesting times were the playing times. You could see the joy and happiness on their faces when they were playing games with us. We did big games with all the children and for example, you could see the oldest ones helping the smallest ones to get the ball; it was really nice to see this solidarity between them. They are all like a family with its part of violence also, as brothers who fight against each other. I hope they will be able to live a normal life and get love from their surroundings.