In my university summer holiday, I chose to volunteer in India for three weeks with Vocational Impact.
On my first day in Jaipur, I had an incredible opportunity, meeting both boys and girls for the first time at the organisation.
The children’s home was separated into two, boys and the girls. I went to the girl’s house first and introduced myself by making each child participate in a fun name activity.
They had to pass around an object and when the music stopped the person holding the object had to explain to the group who they were and either dance, sing or act. This helped break the ice to make the children feel comfortable with a new person being around and it also helped them express themselves through being creative.
Each child began to open up straight away and began to be confident in expressing themselves through their creative talent. This activity helped build up an interaction with each child which helped them ask me a few question in terms of who I am? And what I do?
I ended up dancing and teaching the children a few dance-moves, which was very important because this kept the children engaged and happy.
After the introduction, I sat down and ate lunch with the children and then I was escorted by a member of staff to the boy’s home. Once I entered the boy’s house they all greeted me by touching the floor where my feet were with the words ‘Narran, Narran’. After this greeting all the boys gathered in a circle and introduced themselves and their favourite activity one by one.
I felt very welcomed through this greeting and taken back by the discipline these children had.
The boys were more confident than the girls and expressed themselves clearly and with great detail.
The older boys seemed a lot more confident and there charisma was very high compared to some of the younger ones as I notice the younger boys followed what the older boys did.
Once they all explained who they were and I explained what I do and also the reason I travelled to India to help out and make a film and take pictures, we started to organise ourselves into teams to play cricket. This was very relevant and an important factor into the interactions I had with the children and it helped engage the children. The boys really enjoy cricket and get very competitive throughout the whole game, which keeps the tension levels quite high. After a long sweat and intense game the day was coming to an end and I was picked up by the driver and taken back to my accommodation.
AND SO THE FILMING BEGINS
On my second day I got stuck in straight away and had an incredible opportunity to film an event run by an Indian organisation that both the girls and boys participated in. The event consisted of a variety of role-play activities and a talent show, which engaged and created a lot of laughter for all the children. Upon arrival to the boy’s house where all the boys and girls were I heard echoes of laughter, which created such a positive environment.
All the children were very energetic and hyper throughout the day.
My job within this activity was to capture the whole event through my camera, making sure I gather shots of the children laughing and engaging in the activity. I managed to capture the whole event.
What helped a lot was how energetic and eager some children were to be filmed, which made my job a whole lot easier.
What stood out for me was when the children got into groups and performed to an audience. I feel the idea of making the children feel included and making them express themselves is vital towards their growth and confidence. Just before the event was coming to a close, an activity to round off the day involved all the children getting up and dancing to some Bollywood music. All the children really enjoyed this activity and all joined in. After a short period of time I was persuaded to dance and before I knew it I got all the children following my dance moves.
This was a good way to interact with the children and they seemed very curious with my dance moves, which they seemed to love. Also another factor I notice throughout this day was that everyone participated and no one felt left out. After this event the children and I started to eat a very late lunch, which involved everyone praying and being quiet while we were eating. We then played board games, which is something the younger children liked more.
After a few days, I was starting to adapt to my new environment and the days were very eventful as I began to get to know the children.
I involved the children in more indoor activities such as Ludo, Jenga, snakes and ladders and cricket
Throughout playing these board games I noticed the boys were very competitive and as a result a few harmless arguments would arise. However this was easily solved as I introduced the boys to a new game called ‘pat ball’, which involved hitting a ball on the wall and you can only hit the ball back onto the wall after one bounce.
They really enjoyed the game and would constantly want to play this game for hours. After ‘Pat ball’ and a few board games it was time for food and before the children would eat, everyone would be quiet while eating so they can appreciate the food. This I felt was a very good tactic for the children to understand the main importance of eating food. Once the children finished eating everyone sat down to watch a Bollywood movie.
I noticed the child were more prone to get restless when watching TV, and get bored easily. So I made sure I engaged the children more when hosting indoor activities. Keeping the boy interested for a long time was difficult. So I used my communication skills and I would engage the children in conversation in order to improve their English.
GIRLS VS BOYS
The following day I spent most of my time at the girl’s home, I arrived in the morning. Each of the children had a few questions for me in regards to where in the UK I was from? And do I study? And where? So after answering these questions for them, I involved all the children in following a dance routine I knew.
I noticed that all the girls liked to dance because they can express themselves fully through this activity. So at the beginning I allowed the children to play 3 of their favourite Bollywood dances and then they had to teach me a dance routine.
I feel it is very important to empower the children because this gives them a sense of confidence and they are more likely to engage in the activity this way.
The girls were very excited to take part in this activity and really enjoyed getting me involved in following their dance steps. I noticed that some of the girls however sat at the back and didn’t get involved in this activity. So I tried really hard to get everyone to engage in this task so everyone could enjoy it.
After a short period of time, I taught the children a few English songs and I split the group into two and we all had a dance battle. The dance battle involved one person from each group dancing against each other and the audience had to decide who the better dancer was.
This was a hit and I noticed for the girls, the more constructive and hands on the activity was, the more the children enjoyed it. Afterwards, everyone was tired so we all sat down to eat lunch and after lunch the children wanted me to continue to teach them a dance routine. At the end of the day we showed members of staff the dance routine I taught them which they really enjoyed.
PART TWO OF REUBEN’S STORY
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