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.