Nothing in life ever comes easy, and every once in a while, life throws up something that reminds you of how much you need to work to get things done.
Our visit to Father Tezza's Special School in Wynad, back in April 2016, showed us just that. Everyone was super excited about showing us the new computer classes that were being held (after an IT company in Bangalore decided to train teachers from this school). We found over 30 children seated, and not a single computer in sight. What we went on to find was that they did have a computer in school - it just happened to be the only one they owned, but that didn't work either and they hadn't been able to switch it on in months. Needless to say, when asked how many they would need - we were told - "a couple would suffice, maybe even two!" This got us thinking that if they did have 40 students - at least 20 would make things comfortable enough that all our very special children here got to learn how to use them.
It's been months since that first conversation, and we've learned a lot in those months. While it does take a lot of persistence and patience to get things done, sometimes wanting things for somebody else's happiness is still going to come at the risk of losing some of yours. Relationships are fragile in today's world, and not everybody sees the world as you do. But what we've come to understand today, is that no matter what - no matter how many people agree with what you set out to do or whom you set out to help - 'a little time spent for someone else's need is time well spent indeed.'
Maybe we're a couple of friends short now, but we've sure got 40 very happy special children and 12 overjoyed nuns, and that accounts for so much more. We're glad we are where we are today, and we're even happier that we've been able to get these 20 computers where they were needed the most.
Thank You Cognizant Kochi, Cochin Round Table 71 & Wynad Round Table for all your help & support, and most importantly getting those computers across.
Spreading More Smiles with The BlackBoard Project - Priya Thomas
(*Priya Thomas, Intern at The Ashoka Tree, was volunteer-in-charge for an anganwadi on the BlackBoard Project)
On the 16th of July, 2016, The Ashoka Tree with the little Picassos & DaVincis of Global Public School set out on a mission to paint blackboards on the walls of six Anganwadis that The Ashoka Tree works with. Now, that’s a date we’ll never forget - for the impact it had on each one of us!
This bright sunny day began with two cans of yellow and a can black paint, with eager GPS students all set with aprons and old T-shirts, ready to get started on The Ashoka Tree's BlackBoard Project - a fun way to paint the walls of play schools, and a lot on themselves, to look like genuine painters.
The scene was soon filled with laughter and paint, lots of it on old newspaper lining the floor and much more all over us!
We spent time with the children at the Anganwadi we were painting as well, recollecting nursery rhymes and playing with them, all of us thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
We bonded in a way that would not have been possible otherwise and, as a result, were able to refurbish the walls with bright yellow paint and a thick border of black chalk paint, literally painting huge smiles on their little faces too!
There is no reason for boredom to be a concern here, now that they have enough blackboard space to have fun with chalk and stay occupied through the day.
The Teachers at each anganwadi made sure none of us volunteers or children left without a cup of tea and 'payasam' or a snack they personally made. We walked out of those Anganwadis that day with happy hearts and joyful smiles - with a sense of having actually done something worthwhile, a morning truly well spent and cherished by each of us for a lifetime.
We look forward to working with The Ashoka Tree again on more Projects like this one, painting happy smiles across the country!
I, personally, can't wait to get started!
Let's Spread More Smiles!
A certain Ms. Knowles got there ahead of us, but she sure knew what she was talking about! Running the world is not left up to a Teresa May or Angela Merkel today. Running the world begins at home. She is the first person to wake up, hours ahead of the rest of the family to get the day started, packing lunch boxes and organizing the home before she heads out to work. Her job runs 24 hours, on call for the family, on conference calls with her boss, taking her sick child to the pediatrician, calling her aged parents - the last person to go to sleep every night.
The Ashoka Tree now looks to empower some of these ladies who’ve worked tirelessly to get to where they are today. Here’s to the beginning of a huge partnership with women on an upcycling project to generate more income for people who need it the most. Working with used paper, bottles, cloth and plastic, we’re on the path to sustainable lifestyle products from generally unused material.
‘Run The World’ aims at giving these lovely ladies a voice through their art – a chance to do something they enjoy, and yet make a profitable business of this. Join us on our journey impacting lives in small ways, helping big dreams come true.
Let’s ‘Run The World’! Spread More Smiles!
ALL Pictures are from our ongoing initiatives with unaided play schools, orphanages and special schools across South India"