I am Abhijeet and my collegue Ipsita are running this campaign to raise funds for our students. Ipsita and I work with APNI SHALA FOUNDATION as Programme Co-ordinator. I would like to share one of my classroom conversations with all of you:
In one of my sessions with the 7th grade, we were doing an activity called “World of questions” in which I asked the students to write 15 questions, the answers of which they are keen to know. I added that the nature of the questions could be related to their communities, their own school, their class or any social issue(s) that they might be aware of, no matter how big or small. If they want to know about it, it goes onto the sheet of paper they have. I further added that I have only mentioned topics or areas of interest to guide you through this process of brainstorming. Your questions should, in no manner, be limited to what I have provided as a facilitator. After clarifying a few of their doubts, they began to write.
We got back into our big circle to share what all of us had written, and I was surprised when I heard the list of questions that everyone had come up with. From questions about the recently increased fines/challans by the government on traffic rule violations to inquiring about why children do not ‘get their rights’, I was absolutely delighted and touched to see that if the right space and energy is provided to twenty-odd children, they will definitely come up with ideas and questions that have the potential to change their own world and how they live. That is the first step towards a world of equity, justice and harmony, according to me. A few of the questions that stood out for me were: Why do people throw garbage out of the dustbin?
- Why is there discrimination between girls and boys?
- Why do only Vijay and Varun from our class draw so well?
- Why does child marriage still take place?
- Why do we cut trees?
- Why do people of different religions fight with each other?
- Why do children have to study?
- Why do some students find it difficult to study?
- Why is there no school in my community?
- Why has the KG class shut down in our school?
- Why is there more absenteeism in my school than in others?
- Why are there less teachers and more subjects to teach?
- Why does the school teach us scout guide?
- Why is there so much traffic in my area?
- Is our country getting developed or not?
To me, most of these questions are still etched in my memory because of the awareness that they come from. In our country we often do not credit our students and children for the thinking power they have. We assume that they do not understand the ‘ways of the World’ or, if they do and they ask us about it, we either scold them or shrug their questions off as being ‘irritating’ and ‘unnecessary’. I remember when I was in school and I had many questions about why the planets were aligned in the way they were or how would I know if I am walking on the Earth and I wouldn’t fall off its face, nobody entertained my questions. I tried to find answers to them on my own but then since they weren’t very important for me to be able to gain good marks, I lost sight of my curiosity, of my interests. For a lot of the questions that I have listed above, we as adults often take it for granted that these are questions that everyone has answers to. On the other hand, questions that are often tricky or have shades of grey, we don’t pay much heed to them because, well, maybe we never got answers to them ourselves or we didn’t want to let them know that we do not know.
Nothing scares us more than the idea of uncertainty and what it might hold for us. We at Apni Shala believe that a safe and curious space is a must for any child to be able to connect with themselves and be able to build skills that are already in them, just not in their awareness. Questions are essential for the functioning of our species. Imagine if Darwin hadn’t wondered how we evolved. Curiosity is what keeps us going, and in our circles it is what makes our work so meaningful and special to us. It is, in fact, every child’s right to know the answers to questions they might have. It is their right to be valued, to be appreciated for their creativity and to be encouraged to keep asking: “why?”. If these spaces are lost, we would be living in a rather dull World of only black and white.
At Apni Shala, we build Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) opportunities for children in municipal schools, low-income private schools and other NGOs, primarily in M and L wards of Mumbai. 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 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.
Ipsita Malaviya and I,who has joined our team this year as Programme Co-ordinator, have collaborated to raise an amount of INR 26,000. this amount would be utilised to implement Year long SEL sessions to 10 students. The cost would cover programme charges,facilitation costs,materials and transportation charges.
Support me to Build Curiosity by contributing to my campaign! Let's give Give Curiosity A Chance To Visit Our Schools in this Joy of Giving Week!
What happens after you donate?
- You'll thereafter be informed about how you helped make a difference.
- You get the chance to interact with the children you supported and observe Apni Shala sessions.
- You will receive email updates on stories from the students' development and growth.