Last Saturday when we were in class substituting for our fellow colleagues , one of us suddenly noticed that Kamala ( one of the students of the starter level) had rashes all over her legs. When asked how she got it? she simply replied saying ” I played in the sand”. She had not put any kind of antiseptic cream or cleaned with dettol. We immediately asked her to go get a cream from the First Aid Box at the center and after making sure that it was the right cream , we applied it on her. We told her not to play in the sand anymore or go anywhere that would cause infection to her wounds and rashes.She nodded in agreement.
I fully well knew that everything we said had gone over her head and she would perhaps go play in the sand the very next day. I thought this aloud only to get glared down by one of my colleagues who said ” She will listen. If you tell her she will listen. You can’t just give up like that. Don’t say such things anymore.” I stared back quietly , his words sinking into me.
I finally told him that ” As much as i don’t want it , I want MAD to be away from this center. I cannot come every week looking at these kids in this state. No matter what we do or say it’s not helping. They are not healing. It’s just getting worse.”
My colleague again told me ” It’s not like that. We are making a difference. May be not in the way we are supposed to with the English lessons but we are in some way! With us here every week , we can help them maintain themselves Give them tips and ideas on how to be careful. But without us there will be no one to guide them. So we are MAKING A DIFFERENCE. That s what we are about.”
His words weighed on me. I was at a loss of what to say. I just nodded in agreement. I could not believe i spoke about giving up on these kids. That was unlike me as i’m the one to push. In one year , their English may have not improved to the extent we wanted it , we may have not been able to inculcate much values into them nor bring them into full control. But we were successful in making sure they got whatever aid they needed , whenever they needed it and that they ALWAYS had someone to open up to and talk.
That may be nothing for us but to them it was a HUGE difference in their lives. To have someone give them attention , help them talk well , advice them on the right and wrong , good and bad , explain values to them , get them to trust and share things with us , understand their every feeling and guide them , it is what every child of their age wants.
That was when realized , yes , I AM MAKING A DIFFERENCE! In whatever way it may be , i am! I am a change – maker and no matter how small or big the difference , I need to carry on and not give up on my kids , EVER!
My colleagues words , guidance and faith in me changed all my thoughts about the center , my students , my work and ME as a change – agent. 🙂 I owe him. 🙂