Saturday, 22 December 2012

TCF 6th and Last day - Everlasting Experience

This specific blogpost is dedicated to not just kids in my group but also mentors and coordinators at our Nurpur campus. This entire Rahbar mentorship programme belonged not only to me, my co-mentor or our group 'Sunshine' but others as well because everyone played their part really well. Though the major part of dedication still lies with the kids in my group. Momin Raza, Muhammad Fayyaz, Zeeshan Riaz, Sajawal Latif, Bilal Ali and Aqib are special and they all have a great future ahead of them InshAllah. I do believe they know its only hard work that will pave way for better future and to be honest, hard work is deeply instilled in them. I am sure they shall fight every obstacle out. InshAllah!

As far as mentors and coordinators are concerned then I've to specially thank them because all of them have been a great support over the past 6 weeks. I must mention my co-mentor here as well; Raza Zaidi who has been a brilliant co-mentor and I seriously enjoyed mentoring these kids with him. The guy has his way with the words unlike many and I'm sure kids will learn a lot from him. Maham who's not only a dear friend but coordinator as well have been great throughout as well and along with Ahsan Bhai, another TCF Legend and coordinator as well; have done something amazing and that its really hard for me to put into words. The way these two have coordinated everything from usual sessions to LUMS visit to almost everything,its just beyond me,its just great. They're legends indeed. Tuba, another Legend here has been brilliant and very helpful as well and since she's working for TCF as well then whatever she's and entire administration at TCF's been doing,its just great and looking back at the entire experience I think I will definitely volunteer again. Also Uncle Shaukat and another Omar farooq, two mentors. I must admit I envy them because these two have done a great job, even more so than I did with the kids. From what Ive seen, the kids love them. 

Moving on, I will miss these kids. I seriously will. Over the past 6 weeks, I have grown attached with them. Going to their school in Nurpur every Saturday not only gave me a chance to see how these kids study and work in an environment that is completely different from kids their age back in the city but also taught me deep sense of humility. Everything is new to me and I will cherish each and every second that Ive spent with them.. It was just another day and again we mentors gathered at the campus. Firstly we had to go through the entire recap-session of what we taught the kids in previous kids and we had to do it in a jiffy this time. Gladly everyone of them had remembered about every cycle from 'Soch-sey-Taqdeer-Tak' to 'Victim-creator' cycle. I was glad. Next up were letters that they wrote to themselves about their goals and aspirations and how they can go about achieving them. This was the usual part. The best part was yet to come. YES, THE GIFTS ! We mentors had decided on getting them a gift and that is exactly what we did. We bought interactive atlas and stationary boxes for them. I personally love atlases. I grew up with them so I just knew it what to gift them and I did and the kids loved them. Hopefully they'll brush up their geography skills with these atlases.

Next up was ceremony organized entirely by school administration. Kids had prepared a brilliant skit and it was amazing and darn funny. Not only this we mentors were presented with certificates as well so this was a personal 'YAY' moment for me so 'YAY ME!'. Mentees too were awarded certificates and not only this they even gave us mentors a parting gift as well. It was special. It IS special and I am so happy right now.

What was more astonishing is a fact that even though it was all fun and cheerful but emotional as well. After all this, I saw two young girls from fellow group actually crying for their mentors. Maham was their mentor and seeing all the energy she possess, no wonder the girls were crying and no doubt they will miss her. I had only heard about it but today saw the emotional outcome today as well. It only gives us an idea regarding how we're making difference in their lives. I am not claiming i am making a difference the way others and coordinators have because they've done it way better but personally for me, this entire session was brilliant.

I did learn a lot and hopefully I will volunteer again because its great. Being a university student and part time worker,I took this as an opportunity to get away from usual things but now I think about it, its more than that. Rahbar is indeed about change. Its about a change we're all collectively making. Its NOT a get-away-programme-from-busy-life,its NOT. Its life cycle in itself and I enjoyed every second of my time with kids, mentors and coordinators. Its special.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

TCF 5th Day - Life goals and Career plans

Its been 4 days since the session on 'Life goals and Career plans' with kids. Yes I am late 4 days for this blog but then I was busy with my university but I gotta do this because I have been loving it so far at this current session. This is second last day of entire Rahbar session and I'll miss these kids so much when we're finally done this coming saturday. Moving on, This previous session was about kids having to realize their dreams with respect to their set life and career goals. Okay I must admit that this session was rather tough because everyone like always since generations upon generations had set upon becoming Doctors or Engineers. There was no other option. But I was ready along with my co-mentor Raza Bhai to make sure they look at other professions as well which may turn out to be more successful for them.

Initially we divided kids into two groups in order for them to guess and tell us about all sort of careers and I had to write them one by one on black board. It was fun because at one point they decided to turn the table and make us mentors guess the careers they had in mind. From obvious Doctors, Engineers to careers such as environmentalist, architects, Civil servants, computer engineers etc, these kids definitely had other ideas...except all of them either wanted to be Doctors or Engineers except two kids because one wanted to be mathematician and other Banker. This was almost like a breadth of fresh air for us because mostly no one wants to be a mathematicians because one has got to be  real good at mathematics to be one and this kid 'Zeeshan' was good at it so It was great over all. The other Kid 'Fayyaz' who wanted to become Banker needn't worry as well since my co-mentor Raza Zaidi himself is an investment banker so all sort of questions were thrown at him and guy just knew how to answer.

Moving on we had to discuss about life throwing all sorts of 'Mushkilaat' at us because lets be honest we dont always become what we want or yearned all our lives but the main point is that life eventually goes on and that it is'nt that bad after all. Its a journey and no matter what happens, no matter when ever we stumble we always have plan B's and C's that take care of us and we move on. This is exactly the case with careers because if we dont get to study something because of reasons, we can always look at other professions because other careers are equally great and important as well. Here we reiterated again and again that success will only come when you choose something you like and you enjoy it till the end. Alternative plan regarding career is very important and I think the kids learned it quite well.

In the very last we mentors again had to reiterate a point which correlated along the lines of 'Soch sey Taqdeer tak' cycle except this one was about Life or as milestone puts is 'Recipe of Life'. Here the main emphasis was on them kids being all complete only when they equally take care of their family, community and friends with their career aspirations. 

Again this session was somewhat tough. Its not like I dont want kids to become Doctors and Engineers and InshAllah they will become whatever they yearn but I must reiterate here that they do have an idea about other professions. These kids maybe different from many kids their age group but their dreams equally matter. Can they do it? I believe InshAllah they will :)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

TCF 4th day - Exposure Trip

It's been two weeks since TCF's Hero speaker session which I and kids thoroughly enjoyed and now with Rahbar session in its 4th week, we had another milestone coming up and this one was about Exposure trip. This trip was about encouraging kids about different careers ahead of them. Growing up not many kids gets to know about other careers since almost all of our families expect either us to be Engineers or Doctors and any other profession is mostly a no-go. I was seriously looking forward to this trip and for various number of reasons. Our venue for today is a university we all would love to get into but not all of us *ahem* me *Ahem* can get in. Yes we went to LUMS. This was one trip I'll never forget.

Finally, December is here and Lahore is darn cold so waking up early and this time 'really' early, followed by full on jogging session; isn't really my thing but did it thinking Ive to be fully prepared for this one out. Last time I did this was when we used to play weekly football matches early in the morning so I used to spend an extra running session way early just to get into groove. First all mentors had to gather at Nurpur campus where two transport buses were hired to take us to LUMS. So timing and punctuality was something that was very important because Travelling to Nurpur then LUMS and then back to Nurpur before finally reaching our designated pick points required a lot of patience and perseverance and If we were a lot patient, you should've seen our coordinator today. The man did a great job. First from Nurpur we took kids straight to LUMS where university administration had already made a wonderful arrangement for students to know about their 'National outreach programme' and of course campus visit. The whole NOP session that included a short video sub-session as well was great and this programme outlined everything out to students since this is made for those who cannot afford a university like LUMS. The idea about this university among general populace is that its for elite class but that is not at all the case and these kids who had no idea about a university let alone LUMS, clearly knew now what sort of great future they can possess if they choose to work hard and get here. After the NOP session, we all were shown the entire campus especially the respective academic departments.

I must tell a little instance here which just made my day. There is this kid, Momin in our group 'Sunshine' that in my opinion has that 'spark' in him and even though others are very special and great as well but I seriously believe this kid can actually go forward. Today after the NOP session when we were walking off to dining center, I noticed this kid thinking a lot so I asked what was he thinking. He told me he actually believed he can get in. Though he was quite surprised when I told him I was rejected by LUMS but I tried to tell that no matter what happens, 'hard work' is the only thing that can take him forward so he quickly reaffirmed his point that he can get in and for me that just made my day. Not only this, he was quick to calculate his chances as well considering his 9th board exams are quite near so he believes he's in a position to not just apply but get financial aid as well. The kid maybe quiet but when you start to talk to him, you can see that burning fire, that spark in him and that is great.

 I may not be the best mentor out there since there are many better one's already there making a big difference but seeing just one actually dreaming great things and actually working hard to achieve it, is just great and even though its a wish but I hope it does come true. Not just for one kid but all of them.