Sunday, 18 November 2012

TCF 3rd Day - Hero Speakers

Before I start I must tell this past week was very intense for me and seriously depressing so I was looking forward to new and 3rd day/Milestone of TCF’s Rahbar program. This ‘Milestone’ was about two real life heroes who from very humble beginnings made it big. This day was about their stories and how they dreamed to get education and how education made the difference in their lives. I needed to hear them out; I needed to learn a thing or two because even though I tend to work hard, I give in easily at times too. So this day was not about just the hero speakers and kids but about me and other mentors as well.

Winters have arrived finally and Lahore’s very cold so getting up at 6 am in the morning is the hardest thing for me to do but this was one day where I just had to do it and make it there because I was anxious. It was exactly when I got to Model Town’s TCF office that I met two Hero speakers ‘Zubair Sameer’ and ‘Humaira Sardar’ who made it there courtesy of a friend; Maham as she arranged everything for Nurpur campus. I think around 10 am we were all at Nurpur campus and all groups consisting of kids and mentors now were gathering up at terrace where we were to listen to both Zubair and Humaira, about them, what they do their lives, their humble beginnings and their fights with whatever the life had to throw at them. It was great. It wasn’t just about the kids but about us mentors too.

First it was Zubair Saleem’s turn. Now this guy is from Kasur, is 22 year old and just doesn’t share first name with me but age as well so I was looking forward to listen to him. This dude is a hero seriously. He told us how his grandmother was suffering from a disease and how his family had to sell everything in house even the last Television set to take care of entire medical expenses so this guy had to complete his schooling a bit late. He recently completed his FA and got admission in BA so this guy is learning his trade while working for NGO and making difference in and around his community. This guy picked himself from the scratch and made it big.

Next one up was Humaira Sardar who too is from Kasur and like Zubair, she has faced a lot of problems herself and still made it through. Her family couldn’t afford no education so all six siblings had to work with father to make ends meet but she was always adamant that she needs to study in a school so her parents allowed her so not only worked being a child helping her father out but she studied day and day out and now she’s done with her bachelor’s degree and plans to study abroad as well. Her story is more courageous I must say because her father used to taunt her daily as in why was she studying in the first place because she could have easily worked and made money but she fought her father and relatives. She suffered for years and now she has made it. She fought well. The best part was a fact that both hero speakers connected well with the kids and us mentors. I was seriously impressed. 

In the end, this day was special and I needed this motivational uplift myself. I must admit that no matter what I do and how much I try to connect with kids every week, these two did it quite easily because in these two heroes speakers, they saw fighters who fought battles day and day out and never gave up. I don’t know if I can do it but I need to learn a lot from them.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

TCF 2nd Day - Defining Success

It’s been a week since my second day with kids or rather ‘Sunshine’. I was busy this week so couldn’t get a chance to write about it. But the experience so far has been so much overwhelming that I must write about it, it’s been that great. I am new to this ‘mentoring’ experience but so far I believe I’m learning equally like the kids. 

The second session or ‘Milestone’ was divided in three parts or categories; Community visit, Soch Sey Taqdeer Tak cycle and Success & Failure. I must confess one thing that unlike other mentors I did not at all print out or go through the divided milestones as most have done because every Saturday I see most of them going through notes, reading it again and again so that they can share whatever they have in mind with kids. It’s a great thing and that is why I’ve decided to write certain things on a piece of paper that I will carry along. It'll certainly help me. But the great thing so far has been the cooperation from my co-mentor Raza Zaidi who’s been brilliant so far. He too has been lazy on the ‘notes’ part but the guy has way with the words, Kids love him.

In the morning I have to go to TCF’s main office in Model Town and from there on,have to gather along with other mentors in Defense so It took more than hour for this entire exercise to happen but we did make it to Nurpur campus in the end. I was bit surprised because only two kids; Sajawal and Momin were there out of total six. It was shocking because previous week only two told me about going out on a wedding but another two didn’t make it as well but that doesn’t matter because the community visit was wonderful in the end. These kids had to act like our guides and had to walk us through the nearby area and tell us about it, their village, their area, their families and how things there are. Another reason it was great because they had brought along food which we had later on during discussion hour unlike other groups. The whole community visit was great because here we weren’t discussing something very serious and everything was casual and seriously as I’d like to say, we were all ‘CHILL’ so for next 30 minutes, it was us mentors, these two kids and amazing community around TCF school and not only this we even took photos. Check the photo beneath this paragraph. It is great,isn't it ?

Now when we came back from community visit, it was ALL about the food. Yes we had Pulao, chicken roast and of course coca Cola and man it was delicious <3. Now we were bound to discuss other two categories. First it was the ‘Soch sey Takdeer tak(Though to Destiny) cycle’ . I must insist that I had only read about the cycle once and I’m not exactly good with discussing every bit of what information we’re provided. I think having that casual discussion with kids is better, way better and explaining them in simple words is quite easy for me to make my point go across and I think this is where kids did understand the entire cycle. Not just this, they easily explained the entire cycle in correlation with the life of a robber, an educated man and even Dr. A.Q.Khan.  I’m not saying these kids are perfect but when they explained in their way, and then it made sense to me at least.

After this we moved on to another part about success and failure and here I was surprised again because these two kids had an idea about it. They knew it that success and failure depends on individuals.  Personally the whole idea of success and failure changes from time to time. The great thing was, these two kids knew it that success and failure both come naturally and what was more surprising was a fact they knew one has to stay grounded if successful and work hard if failed. I gotta admit I do have high hopes from these two kids.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

TCF - The New Experience

I like volunteering and have bit of voluntary social working experience as well. I’m one of those guys who are still learning a lot about it. I have always believed it’s an art, almost like a duty to people out there and one has to master it to make a difference. So In order to make a rather more ‘constructive’ difference, I decided after some ‘pushes’ from a very dear friend ( :P ) that it may just be the thing for me. So I ended up volunteering for the first time at TCF, 'The Citizens Foundation'. I volunteered for their Rahbar program which is basically a mentorship program. Yesterday was the first of 6 Saturdays that I spent with some brilliant and very interactive kids.

First I would like to thank three people, Maham, Tuba and Ehsan bhai. Maham is a personal friend of mine and along with Ehsan saab has been volunteering for quite some time. Tuba though works at TCF and she has done an outstanding job so far, seriously. These three are great and they completely made it easy for us ‘mentors’ because doing it for the first time, I was initially quite jittery and all but they have been so helpful.
Personally I hate waking up early because I am very lazy. The only thing I’m never lazy about is perhaps sports especially football but I was actually looking forward to being there on the first day this past weekend. The administration at TCF have divided every Saturday in 6 parts known as ‘Milestones’ because whatever we achieve with kids is nothing short of a milestone in itself. So waking up at 6 and being there at a designated campus with other mentors especially your co-mentor is somewhat tiring but we made it to our designated campus in ‘Nurpur’ near Border. Yes NEAR BORDER! My co-mentor is Raza bhai who’s a cool person too, very chill and in a way like me.

Okay now let’s get to ‘real business’ .The ‘interaction’ with Kids. So around 9:30 or perhaps at 10, we were at the Nurpur campus. So the very first thing we did was to go into the class where our groups of kids, 6 of them were seated. I entered and was bit irked when all of them called me ‘Sir’ and I was literally shocked because for all I know, I’m student myself like them kids. So for the next two hours I was with these kids who were great.  This day we had to know about each other as the designated milestone was divided into different activities completing the two hours. First we had to play the game called ‘Web of yarn’ which I remember, I played last time when I very little, even younger than these kids. It was fun because my co-mentor started with the yarn and from him, each and every student started to introduce themselves one by one. They told us about their homes, their parents, siblings, what they like to become, what sport they like, what subjects they love and hate and I personally believe this was the most interesting part because I wanted to know more about them. They all had one thing in common and it was the continuous use of ‘Bhainsein’ or ‘cows’ because they’re all rural so they all talked about cows so that’s exactly what I did when I introduced myself. ‘Merey paas bhi gaoon mein bhainsein hein’ and I could see in their eyes being all awe-struck, perhaps they thought I’m one of their own but then they were smiling and I think that matters more.

First We had to create a name of our group but they had already chosen it for themselves and it was ‘Sunshine’ and well they liked it and they rejected my suggestion of ‘Red devils’ so in a way I’m stuck with the name. We moved on to another short session where we had to make a distinction that we’re not their teachers and I personally wanted to make sure of it because they called me ‘Sir’ so it was in a way great telling them that we’re like them. Today they are students, yesterday we were in their position and I could relate still because technically I am a student so two or three of them kids opened up to me, asking me how did I reach university. They wanted to know how they can become Doctors, Engineers, Airlines pilots and even bankers. 

Next week we’re hoping to visit their community around us. Hopefully it’ll be great. The whole experience for that day for me at least was great and I’m looking forward to more time with them. I bet it’ll be great.