Annie George(2017-18)Vidya Integrated Development for Youth and Adults
Writing this brings back all the memories of the first month I started my work at the Vidya organisation.
My work there has been fulfilling and has made me really feel like I am giving back to society in ways that very few and chosen people get the opportunity to.
My work there basically constitutes assisting teachers in classrooms, managing the class decorum and helping in planning their curriculum. My work may be routine and also may seem boring but in reality, it is far from it. Right from my first day at the organisation, my students have made me feel like I am truly at home. I recall the first day the children guided me into the classroom while holding my hands and introducing themselves to me. In my brief time at the organisation, I have learnt a great lot from the student’s. First and probably most importantly I have learnt to truly make the most out of all the resources that I have been given. I have learnt to respect life and respect the goodness in others without any need for selfishness and judgment. Lastly, I have learnt to accept my life in all the beautiful ways in which I can.
During my time at the organization, I have organised plays, framed test papers and helped in their curriculum. It has really given me a deeper sense of respect for the need and importance of education in our lives. Watching these children successfully overcome all obstacles has really taught me to be grateful for all the blessings that we have but has also motivated me to help the underprivileged whenever and wherever I can.
A young girl, Muskan, while introducing herself to me, told me of how her mother was the one who taught her against the wills of her family and made sure that her daughters were educated. Her mother being uneducated herself wanted her daughters to be self-sufficient and independent. This truly touched my heart. It made me realise how at every moment people want to get better in their lives and want to improve their standard of living. It is our duty and our responsibility to aid them in doing so. We need to collectively make a decision to make these changes for the betterment of these children in general but in society in specific.
Seychelle Maurice Cardoza(2018-19)TYBVoc Tourism
A gray old parent sits all alone,
Unloved, uncherished and unknown.
Sitting beside their broken door,
Dreaming of days past long ago.
When children played about their knee,
Filling the air with childish glee.
Tended by their loving care,
knowing the blessing of a parent's prayer.
But now they have gone, each to his life,
A girl to her husband, a boy to his wife.
Forgetful are they of them who sits here,
Silently wiping a tricking tear,
For striving for things in a life so brief,
Blind their poor eyes to their parent's grief.
But do they upbraid them in word or in mind,
Nor does their neglect to their seem unkind.
They will forgive and forget all unkindness they've shown,
This poor old parent who sits here all alone.
Digvijay Pandey(2016-2017)BSc IT
“Maa I want to come back”.
I still remember that day when I had just come back to Mumbai from Delhi after my first semester break. I was standing at the entrance of Mumbai Central Railway Station with my luggage kept on the ground, tears in my eyes and my mother on the other side of the call. I wanted to go back because I didn’t like it here in Mumbai but my mother somehow convinced me to stay here. Next day I went to college with an application to withdraw my admission but I somehow wasn’t able to submit that application. I decided to give it the next day. But that very next day I was introduced to our college’s Social Involvement Programme under which every undergraduate has to complete a certain number of hours by working with an NGO. Just like most of the Xavierites I was attending SIP orientation half-heartedly. I was assigned BANDRA EAST COMMUNITY CENTRE as my NGO and I was supposed to teach for a minimum of 60 hours to get the SIP credit in my result.
It was my first day at BECC as a volunteer. The senior students went for some kind of seminar so I had to teach 5th class students. They asked me to teach Marathi and the only word in Marathi I knew at that time was ‘Vapar Kara’. So I decided to talk to them and learn about their daily life routine. We talked for an hour and then I left with very little enthusiasm left for coming back again. However, I went again the next day and this time I got students of 10th standard free at that time. I was supposed to teach them Algebra and Science but I knew that I had a fear of public speaking and this made my first few sessions with them absolutely tough. But as time passed by I conquered my fear and also got comfortable with my students. I also started teaching Science and got my timing changed. Now this place was like a second home to me. After college, I used to go there daily and play with them. I loved spending time with them so much that I ended up submitting 200+ hours instead of 60. The director of BECC noticed the improvement in both the subjects and offered me to stay with kids and teach them. That year I declined this offer but still continued as a teacher. But then I realised that if I continued like this my academics might suffer. I knew that I couldn't spot teach them because those students were totally dependent on me for those two subjects and board exams were approaching fast. I had to make a quick decision and then I decided to ask the director if his offer is still open because that was the only way to save my academics without giving up on teaching them. He allowed me to stay and then I shifted to BECC. Now I used to teach them after college and then used to study for my own academics. The experiment was successful. I scored 3.43 GPA that semester and those people scored the maximum in mathematics and science in their board exams.
It has been more than 18 months with my NGO and this place really feels like home. It is my final year as an undergraduate and I don’t feel sad about leaving college but about leaving this place. This place has helped me a lot in growing and becoming a better person and I can’t thank them enough for this. I think when I leave this place, I am going to leave a part of me here and I know it is going to be worth it.
Through S.I.P I got an opportunity to be associated with Prayatna, One of the renowned NGOs in the suburbs. Venturing into this new adventure has been a turning point in my way of thinking. I am glad to have chosen Prayatna, as they indulge in enormous activities which helped me explore not only my surroundings but my inner self too. I taught underprivileged secondary students, prepared exam papers, ID cards, worksheets, Christmas cards, decors and even visited people in the slum areas.
No doubt, it has been a bumpy ride but I can say that it was amazing, right from day 1, when the children would not pay attention to a word I would say to now, when they connect with me, sharing even their minute details of their life. The smile on their face made me feel so happy and satisfied. I would say that the best experience was the home visits. All the volunteers were given the task of visiting people and getting acquainted with their lifestyle, their problems and note down the specific help they required. I would speak to them on a one-to-one basis for a minimum of 50 minutes. It gave me immense joy to be their representative – to put forward their troubles and needs to the management of Prayatna. We keep hearing about the poverty prevailing in our surroundings but we will never know the real truth till we step out of our comfort zone and personally go out and talk to them. We are privileged to have so many things but we’ll be truly happy when we share what we have- Monetarily, Socially and Spiritually, with those who are deprived of the same.
Tutoring the children
Volunteering for the Akanksha Foundation gave me the opportunity to meet, interact & work with many creative, energetic & kind people. I had an amazing time completing the tasks assigned to me which consisted of Chart making, tutoring the students, assisting the teachers during lectures and class activities, helping the office staff with administrative work & organizing interesting events like Dandiya, Garba and Dahi Handi. These helped me learn a lot of new things, improve my interactive skills and create many fond memories, making it a meaningful and educational experience while at the same time, working for a good cause. S.I.P. is that small push that every student needs to move from thinking only about themselves and their careers to helping and caring for others thus going back to society what we received from it.
Jahnavi P Pandya(2015-16)FYBA - B
I am a student from FYBA, and I just wanted to share my experience with SIP in Sneha Sadan (Orphanage - Behram Baug, Jogeshwari - West).. Some of my friends from your eco class told me I should email you about it.. I want to express my gratitude to you for giving the students such a wonderful, life changing opportunity.
The sister in charge of this house had given me the responsibility of teaching 6 young girls from 1st to 4th standard (and 2 came in later),, & I had taken permission from her to allow me to also teach them about values, behaviours, counsel them too as we got I got closely attached to these girls very soon.
(Mentioning my experience in brief..) one day, I heard from some of the girls imagining what the theatre would be like.. And so I promised to take them for a movie in the theatre, if they studied well and improved in their behaviour.. And surprisingly, they do it very obediently! With permission from the sisters and father Noel from the main office of Sneha Sadan in Chakala, I started planning for the movie. I wrote an appeal on Facebook saying that I want to collect Rs. 7000 to take these 31 girls for a movie. Unexpectedly, many many people took great interest, liked and shared my post which got viral online, & I managed to collect around ₹ 92,000 for them!
A family friend from London (Mr. Ajit Makwana) gave ₹35,000 for shopping (₹ 1000 or a little more for each girl).
Another person (Rajen Shukla) from US gave ₹13000 for the picnic..
A lady from America during her India trip, visited these girls and gave me ₹20,000 for household requirements, buss pass, uniforms, etc for the girls..
And many others gave some contributions from ₹300 to ₹1000, including Asha Ma'am and group of people from London gave around ₹11,000 for an outing..
And there are also a few people who want to adopt these girls by financing all their needs..
With the support and help of so many people, I planned for the picnic, booked a bus on 25th November, left early in the morning, first went to Santacruz Garden, had domino's pizza for breakfast, then went to the beach, my friend Elizabeth (from Mithibai college) and I, got completely wet in the water because we asked the younger girls to remove their frocks and have fun in the water! WE had gola there, went for lunch at Pappilon restaurant in Irla where I spoke to the manager who gave us 30% discount, and also gave us the entire a/c restaurant, after which we went for a movie in Juhu PVR, to who's a manager I had spoken in advance and he gave all these girls free Pepsi & Popcorn! After the movie, we went to the mall and later had Chinese for dinner. In the theatre and mall, some people behaved badly, but we somehow managed, but overall it was a wonderful experience!!
In December, I took them all, in 3 parts, for shopping to Lokhandwala.. It was a great experience, going there.. They have become a family for us now! Me in their life gave them 1 family member, but I have 31 family members now.. Since childhood it was a dream for me to go to an Orphanage and know about the children there, but I had never thought about being so close to them.. I also went to some of my other friends' SIP to spend time with those kids and got some cakes, clothes and chocolates for them..
In Sneha Sadan, for Christmas, we also ordered lunch and cake from the remaining funds. The rest amount was used for buying a printer, cooker, etc for the house, and I still have around ₹20,000 left which we have kept for other needs like a bus pass or some educational course like animation which some girls want to do.
But all this was certainly possible because our college gives us an opportunity like this.. I am truly grateful from the bottom of my heart, to you, Roshel ma'am and Jennifer ma'am, Sister Goretti from Sneha Sadan for giving me the opportunity, freedom and permission and an entire family!
Kanak J. Malu (2019-2020)
I can surely say that my S.I.P. at the orphanage will be remembered by me as a life changing experience as it is filled with emotions and sentiments. I feel lucky to have got the opportunity to help the kids at SPARC Shelter Home. My activity basically involves teaching and helping the children in academics and having quality interaction with them in order to improve their mindset and viewpoint on various things in life. I feel after completing my initial hours, if I can inspire and motivate them that would be my biggest achievement. I just want each one of them to dream big and work towards achieving the untapped potential that exists in each one of them. My first interaction was with a boy named Raj (Pseudo name) in grade 5. I was shocked to see how quick Raj was on the uptake and was willing to learn and attentive. I taught him English and Maths. At the end of my first activity I realised that one cannot fathom the pride and happiness you feel along with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in that moment when Raj said - “Sir, please come to teach me.” From that day onwards I decided to take a small step in the direction of ‘making a difference’ in the lives of as many kids as I can. From that day onwards in every visit I have tried to devote complete energy towards influencing their lives and making them think out of the box. Through my activities I have realised that they always choose to keep their hearts open. It’s amazing to see how quickly they bond with you, play with you and share a part of their lives. They have taught me to be in the moment. They are so full of energy and enthusiasm. Their fascination for even the minute thing has made me realise how important it is to be grateful for whatever life brings to us. I am moved when I see them smile as I reach there to teach. That just shows me their eagerness to learn, to know about various aspects. While becoming someone’s inspiration I believe a person grows. The fact that these kids look up to you changes a lot of things. I have realised that they open their heart for everyone who shows affection. They in short teach us to do so and be thankful. “It is rightly said – if you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your own path.” I have learnt how important it is to trigger imagination and have the capacity to think out of the box. I feel impact can be seen and felt at three levels:- Academic Growth, Values and Mindset and Exposure and Access. I have realised that nothing should hold us down while we decide to make a difference and revolutionise our society because: If not we, then who? If not now, then when?
And the day one began with an all new experience,
Was full of fun, not at all tedious.
In the way beginning, could build an excellent rapport.
Thus the teachings became quite easy to export.
All the work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy,
And I learned to enjoy, even without a toy.
Studies became fun, be it Science, Maths or History!
This was indeed remarkable, in my life’s story.
To teach someone discipline, there’s no need to get ‘wild’.
When you can motivate using the words which are ‘mild’.
Making education fun should be our prime objective.
Or else we would continue to manufacture students which are defective.
The hours passed by in a wink of an eye.
And the time came, when I had to say them bye.
Then I learnt, in life there’s actually no reason to cry.
When you can simply buckle up and give another try.
Om Kumar(2017-18)NDBZF- Marine Lines
SIP: the heart of Xavier’s
Xavier’s is known for its rich cultural ethos and values. The foundation of Xavier’s stands on the motto of ‘giving back to society’. Student Involvement Programs bring these words into action. As a student of FYBA in 2017, I was excited to do my bit for the downtrodden. Inspired by S.I.P. Coordinator’s exhortation at the SIP orientation, I enthusiastically participated in the program by teaching students from underprivileged backgrounds at an NGO named Nargisbanu Darabsha Baria Zoroastrian Foundation (NDBZF). This was my first interaction with youngsters who were so motivated to study and to work simultaneously. The hardship that the students faced gave me all the more reason to come and sit with them regularly. I realized that it was essential to impart life skills along with academic knowledge. I tried to contribute in this area by making them think big but realistically at the same time. My stint at the NGO also burst the bubble I had been living in; it was truly an eye-opening experience.
I would like to congratulate SIP for successfully conditioning me to think creatively in order to contribute back to society with whatever resources I have. The confidence I had gained from teaching and leading a group of students helped in spearheading an awareness campaign in my locality. In the Diwali vacations of 2019, I was extremely determined to take steps to better Gurgaon’s air quality. I initially thought of writing a letter to the Chief Minister but then realized that instead of depending on someone else, I should rather take initiative on my own according to my capability and resources. I immediately shared my thoughts with some of my like minded friends. We decided to create a proper network of people who would be willing to devote some time and energy for the cause. Our entire motif was to remind residents that their actions will affect the larger society, therefore celebrate Diwali responsibly. To make people aware, I and my neighbourhood friends initiated an awareness campaign against crackers. Our modus operandi door-to-door and public meetings yielded very positive results. This exercise continued for about a week. I was highly satisfied by what I did. Although, there was a chunk of people who boastfully engaged in bursting crackers (some of them were also the heads of the local governing body) on Diwali. In my opinion, the SIP department and the galvanizing words of its coordinator have left a deep impression on me to take initiatives even when there's no scaffolding to support me.