The MAD Experience

We’ve all heard about lack of English skills and knowledge among people and children. We’ve all talked about it. But how many of us have taken a step to change it? I decided to take the first step towards change. I decided to do it the MAD way.

Make a Difference [MAD] is a voluntary organisation where people from different walks of life, come together to teach kids aged 8 – 14 years Basic English. The diversity in volunteers at MAD is amazing and it was a great opportunity to meet such people. Before the reality of it could sink in, the time soon came for my first MAD class.

It was in a shelter home called THE CHILDREN HOME in Injambakkam. I knew little about teaching.I also knew I had a tough task ahead of me. But what I didn’t know was how hyper the children I was about to tutor could get. I did not have a co- teacher the first few weeks to help me out with these tots. They would just fly off the handle when it was time for the class to start. I was at loss as to what to do. My anger overwhelmed me. I literally shouted at my kids, refused to teach them and also sent them out of class. I was not happy with myself – I felt like a total failure. My colleagues supported me a lot and guided me but my anger did not reduce with each passing class. I failed to bond with my kids.  They, being cleverer, provoked me more with each class. Finally it was time for my co-teacher to join me.

My co-teacher, being a male, was able to create a fast bond with the boys who were the hardest to handle. I had control over the girls. I was awed at the way my co- teacher handled the class. I respected him and admired him. He was my role model. Slowly with a lot of his support, I was able to take control over my anger. After 3 long months, I was finally able to create a bond with my kids, specially the boys. There was just one small problem.

The girls began to rebel. There was competition at every stage, starting from the reward points to the PAT scores; they would hate me, accuse me, and throw abuses if the boys got even 0.5 marks more than them. But I knew it was just a matter of time before they understood their mistakes and worked hard.

I never imagined that I would be teaching, would enjoy it, would adore the kids and more than anything look forward to those 2 hours every week. I still have a problem with one of my girls. I know it’s a matter of time before I overcome that and win the heart of all my kids equally.

MAD has become a very important part of my life. The kids have become the MOST important to me. MAD has created an impact that makes me want to go to any extent to make sure my kids get the BEST education they deserve. As part of MAD, I’ve seen myself growing along with my kids. I’ve seen myself improve as a teacher and seen the improvement in my students. I just need to push them one step more to get to the top. I have complete faith they will make it. This is what MAD and MAD class is all about, the kids!

The MAD experience is the most amazing experience one can have.  I’m a proud MADster!

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A visit to the Egmore Hospital.

Our next visit was the Egmore Children’s Hospital. Being a sunday , the Hospital in the literal sense was completely deserted. We were totally lost and the person we were to meet was not picking up her phone. After looking thro’ half the hospital and failing to locate her. Dr. Kala , the person who were to meet called us back and said she would send someone to bring us to her. She apologized and said she was on rounds. The Hospital as we saw it and to it’s name was only and only a CHILDREN hospital.  We waited a while for Dr. Kala to come. Once she came , she enquired about us and where we are from and what we would like to do. Once we cleared out her doubts , she took us around the hospital where we saw the various wards and a few doctors who were working that sunday.

There was one section that disturbed me the most. That was the IMCU section [ Intensive Medical Care Unit ] They were babies who were bandaged , who had oxygen masks to their face. Their was one child who s head was burnt. I could not bare to look or stand in that place a second longer but i could not run away either. In another ward, I saw one child who had orthopedic problem. Both his legs were bandaged. He bawled when his father left him. I could not stand to see that as the mother was not able to manage him and due to his legs was shifting him very gingerly.

I went upto him and sat beside him holding out my hand. He did nothing but just stared at me, his tears stopped. He was scared. But i didnt move. His mother kept his hand on mine twice but he kept taking it away. I still sat and watched him. He looked up at me , this time not scared but not coming close either. When i said bye to him , that was the first time he smiled at me and waved back. I felt happy he was alright. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Harshitha & I learned during the tour of the hospital that they required man power for cleaning up the hospital as all the cleaners had retired and it was kept neat by the nurses [ mind you , it was fairly neat ].  They also required several monitors , infusion pumps , beds again etc… Harshitha & I were again at a loss of what to say and do. But we told me them what we were capable and will get back to them.

We left the hospital. I was totally off with what i saw in the IMCU. I would love to visit that hospital again , this time when all the doctors are there and learn more about it.

A visit to the Chengelpet Govt. Hospital…

For my first week’s field visit , along with Harshitha , we went to Chengelpet to the visit the Goverment Hospital. We were to meet Dr. Satya who was incharge of the Maternity Ward. It took us a while to get around the hospital and find the place and the doctor. We were asked to wait for a while. As we waited , Harshitha and I saw that there were many babies who were really tiny and really underweight. I could not bear to look at some of them. I also noticed that the Mothers Room was bare of furniture and that they were on the floor along with their children … some even out on the corridor with the families. The new borns were kept on the ventilators for warming and in some ventilators were 3 – 4 babies. While we were there the power had gone out twice and the generator found it hard to support the entire hospital and the ventilators kept fluctuating. The suddenly horrible thought flashed across my mind that something might happen to the babies as the atmosphere in the room was already a little tense.

Mean while , the doctor had become busy and asked us to go around the hospital to take a look around. We noticed that in every ward , either there was a lack in the number of beds or the beds were empty [ which got me furious when i thought about the mothers ]. The waste disposal was a terrible condition. They did not have proper bins to throw waste and it was all in buckets , which were hardly taken out. This obviously means they did not have a proper place to dump the trash. The floors were wet with water. There were some sections of the hospital which smelled as the toilets had not been cleaned. The amount of constant cleaning work which came about frustrated the staff. Everyone was so busy that there was hardly time for them to talk to us. This lead to many parents thinking Harshitha & I were doctors and kept coming to us.

Family members were not left into the mother s ward which got them more anxious than they already were. They tried to get in with Harshitha & I as an excuse. We both were stunned and were at loss of words. When we went back to the doctor and asked what kind of requirements does she personally feel the hospital needs. As expected , the requirements were everything we saw [ beds , waste bins , cleaning equipment , generators etc… ]. Dr. Satya also took us to the new building which was being constructed for mothers and babies and surgical. The place was big and spacious but i was wondering how well would they use that space.

With all that done , we ended our day and left the hospital. The pitiable condition of the babies disturbed me. The place brought a lot of thoughts to my head. I wanted to see more , explore more and talk more. But this was all i could do for now. I hope my next visit brings a better result.

First week as an Intern

Well my first week and first assignment as an intern went pretty well. My assignment was to find out NGOs which deal with scholarships . The criteria was that they needed to be i. grassroot organisations , ii. deal only with scholarships , iii. within tamil nadu. Well the within Tamil Nadu part was not difficult. But the other two were , woah!! , they drove me out of my mind in 4 days!!! :O :O The problem was that there were not many organisations which dealt with scholarships and even if they were , they also dealt with other fields such as health , awareness , livelihood etc… Secondly , most of them were NOT grassroot NGOs.

I spent 4 days looking through 10 different sites only to end up with a site which actually gave the list of 4213 organisations :O :O 😐 😐 . I died at one point when i reached the 840th NGO. It was then i realized this was the list of NGO s in INDIA. I gave up then and there ….. 😦 😦 😦 After a lot of hard work , a little bit of inner research i found a few NGO s which atleast 2 of the criteria and some others which dont but would be great to work with.

So wrapping that up , i sent a mail to my project manner giving my suggestions and opinions [ wonder if im allowed that 😐 ] and  was done with the assignment… 🙂 I’m happy at the way it went. But let’s see what my boss thinks. *fingers crossed*

Why are people still so stereotyped!!!???

Today i viewed a sociological aspect at the Chennai Airport. Well being a sociology student , to me now nothing is like ” OMG!!!! This actually happened!!?? :O ” . Now i simply feel ” I guess this is sociology ” .

Well my family and i were at the Chennai Airport , talking to my sister outside as we were well before schedule. As we were talking , a transgender passed us and was talking to the security. He , [ and I’m saying that as the face and shoulder build was male ]  did not have his ticket as his colleague [ i assume ] . The security lady was asking him a lot of questions , i guess after seeing his passport. It surprised me how , transgenders alone need to face all that and not us!!! I mean literally 5 mins of questions n answers. Then his colleague finally came and gave the ticket and he was allowed in.

I went a little closer to the door to search for my dad when i heard the lady talk about him. She just randomly commented saying , ” in the passport everything that says about his male , but he acts like a female “. She mimicked him and started laughingly. I was amused and irritated at the same time.  To a normal person , they would also laugh along , but to a sociology student , it’s a whole different perspective. I looked at this from a complete sociological perspective. I thought , i can’t believe people were still so stereotyped.

That transgender was quiet educated , i guess was flying on work , decent and well dressed. He was quiet poised and did not behave in the usual way we see most of the transgenders. I mean what different does it make of who they are. Is it not a FACT that they are still HUMAN BEINGS!!!!??? Why the freaking DISCRIMINATION!!!?? Yes of course may times they may come across to be an irritation , but even so , they are NOT a BAD OMEN!!! Then why do we treat them so??? Why can’t we give them a chance to be who they are?? Treat them as our equals?? The difference between them and us is ONLY the way they are OUTSIDE!! But given  a chance and if we observe , they most certainly can do EVERYTHING we can and CAN be our EQUALS!!! If only they were given a chance!!!!!

Well , i feel this is a matter that greatly needs to be looked upon. If only we start looking at the things differently , stereotypes will become non- existent.