My name is Mansi Gohil, my collegue Shruti and I are running this campaign to raise funds for the organization we work with. We have joined Apni Shala Foundation as Programme Fellows.
While I facilitate the sessions at school , i realised that there are very few spaces for children to express themselves and speak about their mental health. There is so much pressure on the students for academics that there is no space for them to nurture their Social and Emotional needs.
At Apni Shala, we build Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) opportunities for children in municipal schools, low-budget private schools and other NGOs, primarily in M and L wards of Mumbai, two of the most disadvantaged wards. Our vision is to build social and emotional competencies among individuals so they can constructively engage with society and have a harmonious co-existence.Our SEL programme covers several aspects of day-to-day lives and each day I see them growing as strong and confident individuals who take initiative and voice their opinions.
Here is a conversation from my classroom:
While facilitating a rapport building session with the 4th grade and talking about their likes and dislikes a students ask the facilitator,
"दीदी आपकी मन-पसंद डिश कौन सी है? (Didi, what's your favorite dish?)"
"उम्म्म , पानी-पूरी। मुझे पानी-पूरी बहुत पसंद है। (Ummm, Paani-puri. I like Paani-puri a lot.)"
"दीदी मैंने सोचा था कि जब मेरे पास कुछ पैसे आ जायेंगे तो मैं आपको कुछ अच्छा खिलाऊंगा। मेरे पास अभी १० रुपये है। मैंने इसे जमा किया है आपके लिए। चलो, मैं आपको पानी पूरी खिलाऊंगा आज। (Didi, I had thought that when I will have some money I will take you out to eat something. I have saved Rs. 10. Let's go, I will treat you with Paani-puri today.)"
"अरे वाह ! थैंक यू! (Oh wow, thank you!)"
"पक्का जाएंगे ना दीदी? क्यूकी साथ में खाने से दोस्ती बढ़ती है। (We will definitely go, right didi? Because when we eat together, our friendship strengthens.)"
(Once, I was conducting a session on how to manage emotions in my class, When I realized that one of my students needed some time and help to cope up. We usually conduct these sessions in circles, he wouldn’t come and sit in a circle and when I asked him in person that why didn’t he sit in a circle, he said he had difficulty in forming sentences and so would prefer doing his homework during my session so that his parents/teachers don’t scold him later. I told him that I would help him through his homework after my session so that his parents/teachers don’t scold him, I told him that I would help him through his homework and that there was no need to worry. And just that much support boosted his confidence so much, that even though he took a little longer than everyone else, he finished all his classwork on his own before my session and showed it to me later,
He was so happy to just know that I was there to help him.
- He did not even end up needing me at all,
We always have to remind them that they are not alone, we are here to help them and they are doing great!
We just need to acknowledge their efforts and support them, Only then will they feel motivated enough to overcome the stress.
The Suicides, the mental burdens- all of that can be alleviated with just a little bit of help from our end and trust me, that will work for them in the long run!
When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our job to share our calm, not join their chaos. )
Through these sessions, they find an opportunity to reflect upon their lives, build new meanings, question what must change and create new knowledge. We share stories of joy, excitement, anger, sadness, happiness and many more emotions. Our spaces are designed with art, drama, songs, games and community projects. To create a more wholesome and long-lasting impact, we also work with parents, guardians, teachers and other stakeholders through our awareness sessions and campaigns. I believe SEL gives the students a way to cope up and deal with challenges of their lives.
Shruti and I aim to raise an amount of INR 26,000 to cater to 10 of my students for year long SEL interventions. The amount would be used to cover the programme cost,facilitation charges , materials and transport.
Support us to create a space for the students where they express themselves and spread smile :)