Hope Torch started its work with the girls home in the month of August, 2016. The first few days I found the kids indifferent towards everything. However, once our programs started fully running with the girls, I could see the change in their behaviour in terms of relationships among their peers. The elder girls seemed more respectful to the younger girls. I was glad to see the girls helping each other in their academics and especially in the programs HT runs.
Radiant Shema Girls have started enjoying Mathletics now. In the beginning they were all demotivated, unenthusiastic but as we moved ahead, gradually they built an interest towards the program. Conducting Mathletics program brought in the curiosity among the girls. Even though Math is still disliked by almost all the girls, YET we are PROGRESSING.
The eldest girl, Chithra, studying in the 10th grade, was completely occupied with her extra-curricular activities and so wasnt able to be a part of our Hope Torch programs. I got to hear from the caretakers that it even though it wasn’t required of her to be that involved, she was still over-engaging herself as a way of avoiding her studies and our other academic programs. After realizing this, I made Chithra my Inside Out kid for the month of August 2017. As a result of this we’ve shared a lot of conversations in the Inside Out program. Two weeks back, I asked her about her desire to be a part of all the activities. She said YES! when I again questioned her about being actual able to do everything and handle her studies, she said, “NO akka I’m not required to be part of all”. Wow! Well, that was a pleasing moment for me because it showed that she’d realized she couldnt avoid her responsibilities anymore! It was good to see her acknowledging this.
Finally in this Quarter, we could see the girls interested in Word Frames. Till the last Quarter, they were reluctant even to start and producing it was a far off dream for me. So what pushed them? I think the effort Hope Torch is making, and the purpose and value behind it are slowly starting to be understood. Over a period of time these kids have reduced the number of excuses they used to come up with before. One of their biggest improvements now is that they’re more open to learning new things, speaking their mind and are more motivated.
In the Hidden Treasures program, the last quarter (Jan-Mar 2017) the kids performed a skit on ‘Save the Girl Child and Educate Her’. While preparing for it, the elder girls would take the lead, giving no opportunities to the younger ones; that led to disengagement by the younger girls. The younger ones didn’t feel they were needed or a part of this play. So I decided to swap the roles and let the younger kids take the major roles for the skit. The younger girls, Fathima and Lakshmi, undoubtedly performed well, taking both ownership of their roles and the whole skit too!
Well, that’s how we work! Enable the weaker ones by giving them a duty, and the responsibility automatically comes into place. Mentoring my kids was truly amazing, and I was happy to see them taking ownership and making sure their skit went well. Even though the play was less than perfect, they tried hard and didn’t let it stop them or us from going further.
We are all energized now for our upcoming projects and goals. To get over their stage fear and building comprehensive study, Hope Torch has introduced JOY OF READING as their goal for the whole year 2017. This year we wanted to empower the kids with soft skills like reading and talking in front of a large crowd by acting, giving speeches, debates etc. This opportunity has started to instll confidence in them. Even though the kids stuggle at times, the entire process in the struggle is also equipping them.
The manager and coordinators of the school have given us huge support in every possible way. They have shownd great interest in us since they believe in the work we do. The manager of Radiant Shema, never lost faith in us. We hope that we continue to work honestly with the same determination and belief in our programs.