Overnight Engagement with Volunteers from Thomson Reuters
DAY 1 – Beautifying Sonnanayakanapura Govt. primary school, Anekal
The primary school children of Sonnanayakanapura, a small village about 34 km from Bangalore city centre in Anekal taluka of Bangalore district in Karnataka can hope to return to a better place to get educated . The Government Primary School, a two-classroom structure which was in a dilapidated condition for many years, underwent a facelift on the 4th Of November’2022. The 38 student of the school get regularly trained on English language proficiency under the ELEVATE program run by OBLF.
31 volunteers from Thomson Reuters India decided to come forward to contribute in all possible ways to the community’s development.
12 of them, took up the task to paint the external walls of the classrooms and the school compound. The neglect were apparent. The volunteers had to scrape the walls to smoothen them so the new coat of paint would hold on to it. With rollers and brushes they painted the buildings, the compound wall, doors and windows some additional borders made with contrast colors.
In spite of the poor infrastructure this school attracts over 38 children from the village, who look forward to the wholesome mid-day meal provided by the school. Another set of volunteers decided to make the visit a memorable one by cooking the day’s lunch for all the kids and the staff of the school and what made it special was that all of them had the meal together. From cleaning the vegetables, to chopping them, finally cooking the delicious Pulao, Kheer, Raita and Papad from the scratch, the volunteers left no stone unturned to ensure that the kids enjoyed every bite of the meal prepared by them.
While the school building was going through the makeover, a set of 12 volunteers rolled up their sleeves for the cleanup and beautification on the school grounds. Full of overgrowth of weeds. The grounds wasn’t fit for the children to play or utilized otherwise. The volunteers de-weeded the ground, cut down the bushes and there it was a long stretch of clear usable ground. A part of which was left for the children to pray and play while the other half was smoothened into a bed and various saplings of vegetable and flowering plants were plated.
It took long hours of hard work, patience and dedication for the volunteers to complete all the three task .In fact many of them joined the kids from the school to spend time teaching them simple craft take away.
Finally the 1st day came to a closure with a traditional thanks giving ceremony .The volunteer leads were felicitated by the school’s head mistress and volunteers distributed chocolates, color pencil box and other stationeries among the children. Though exhausted, yet the volunteers were thankful to OBLF for the opportunity.
What they had to say?
“We couldn’t imagine that schools in areas so close to the city limits are still in such precarious condition. It is such a huge eye-opener for us.“-Volunteer from Thomson Reuters
“Everyone was thrilled to be there. “We got to be with people we don’t ordinarily see inside/ outside the office, and this increased the scope of our relationship.”-Volunteer from Thomson Reuters
“We can’t thank you enough for what the volunteers have done for our school. It really means a lot to the students”.-School Head Mistress, Sonnanayakanapura Govt. primary school
DAY 2 – Being a teacher for a teacher; the story of aspirations
Nalini* hails from Tamil Nadu. After her 10th grade, she did a diploma in Electronics and Communications. Later, she got an opportunity to work with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). However, things changed when she got engaged in the year of 2014. The family and responsibilities led her to give up the job and settle in the house as a homemaker. That’s when she came to Hosur in Bengaluru in 2018.
The road ahead of her was not easy to travel. She was always searched for how to contribute despite daily life challenges, responsibilities, and problems. She questioned – where do I belong? Nothing should limit me – she decided.
Being born and brought up in a rural village, she never got the exposure or opportunities. Stage fear was a hurdle in pursuing her dreams and aspirations to meet people, learn new things, and thrive. That’s when she heard about OBLF and its teachers through one of her friends who works at OBLF as a teacher. She immediately applied and got selected as a teacher.
Being a teacher is a big responsibility for building the next generation of leaders and change-makers. How could I bring innovative methods to teach? What are the best possible ways to improve my skills? Amid all these doubts and confusion, OBLF, in partnership with Thomson Reuters, conducted the two-day volunteering program. Of these two days, the second day was dedicated to the capacity building of teachers to use new methods and approaches in teaching techniques.
Thomson Reuters event was not an end but a beginning in pursuit of greatness. She learned in depth about Google Slides to deliver her teaching in the best possible way to her students. How can Google Slides be used along with its animation features to teach sports and hobbies to the students? She thought as she planned for her next week. The confidence, encouragement, and support from the Thomson Reuter team boosted her confidence. She did an outstanding PowerPoint presentation in front of 59 people about who she is and what she does in empowering the students from low-budget government schools in rural Karnataka.