Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I volunteered for a NGO - MAD ( Make A Difference ) - to teach kids English.
Yes , the same MAD which made its presence into the print & news all around - courtesy Mrs Michelle Obama.

Its a very structured and organized NGO which focuses on one prime issue - to teach English.
Moreover most of the volunteers are a bunch of college going students. In fact, the president of my city's branch is my junior!

I joined it in July with a kick-start of a two day teacher training program  and our classes began in August which ended a couple of weeks back.
We were required to give 2 hrs a week.I went to my centre every Sunday. We were six of us teaching 8 kids per volunteer.Our centre has school as well as hostel.And its on the outskirts of the city.

Due to the 5 day gap between our teaching sessions ( 6 other volunteers taught the same bunch of kids on Sat) - we could not manage to cover the entire syllabus as we were required to. Most of the kids could read & write English ..also speak a little but their basics were still weak. Infact after a few classes we realized the students of grade 5th & 6th had a lot of trouble. So we seperated the ones we thought needed more attention & brought them all under the 'primary class' whom one of the vounteers & I taught together.

It was very evident - their learning was all about mugging. They bothered least about how much they could understand for all that they cared about was to copy everything written on the blackboard as fast as they could! What shocked me more was that some of the kids among these 16 ..could write the spelling of 3 or 4 letter words but could not write all the alphabets in proper order ! We spent atleast 3-4 classes on just getting their alphabets right. Gradually we moved on to teach basic words and sentences most commonly used. Teaching for 2 hrs straight and that too a language they barely understood did  get boring for them. So we made them play a lot of interactive games which they absoultely loved!

We were always treated like superstars. The best part was their eagerness and willingness to learn. And of course there were some very bright kids. We were not supposed to give them any sort of incentive like chocolates etc. Instead of that we gave books as prizes when we kept competitions. Also we took with us English newspapers & children magazine which they read with all enthusiasm.

We were never partial with the kids but I always found myself giving more attention to the weakest ones in the class. I remember Rishi from 5th grade who started crying after he couldn't write a single word  in a dictation & all the others were making fun of him.I felt so bad - first I scolded all the others and then I made him smile . He has the cutest smile :)

Once two kids from centre once ran away. One of them was in the primary class ( 5th grade )
Also last heard a 15 yr old girl went back to her parent's place and was to get married. Sad , no ? She was very talented. Singer!
Oh yeah..we had a couple of dancers too! All self-learnt!

Ok back to the point. We weren't biased and we were treated like stars. And the kids had their favorites too :D A couple of girls has grown very fond of me. There was this one - who would always compliment me for my dress. Then the other one who wanted my cell number but we had strict instructions - No contact outside teaching sessions :-| 

But the best part of it all comes here : There were some of the kids I never got a chance to interact with. And on my birthday - whether I was their fav or not ..whether I ever spoke to them or not - they made beautiful birthday cards for me :-) It was just so sweet of them to do so. They sang birthday song for me loudly and I felt like I was back in school :D What fun it was! That was also the last day we taught them.

Today as I look back & write about being a part of Make A Difference...I wonder if I made little difference to even one single kid out there. I hope I did. And I wish them all a very bright future.


  1. I am sure you made quite a difference. rest assured. They will each think fondly of you and will forever remember what you shared with them.
    Very nice.thank you for sharing this with us. I had read about this prog, but getting first-hand info is always worthwhile. will look out for it.

  2. WOW!!! Sounds like a very good program.. you got a chance to make a difference and i think u did ur job perfectly.... Congratulations to you :)

  3. So glad to read this...a job well done.

  4. Well written Sugar!! :) Totally understand what you felt like when you interacted with the kids.. you really are a rockstar :)

    Go MAD!


You might want to say something
No !! Don't be Afraid !
Go ahead :P