There hasn’t been a day when I don’t crave to meet the bacchas (kids) [ba-cch-aas] from Shoshit Samadhan Kendra again. Each day, I am haunted by those incredible questions and mind blogging scenarios the bacchas come up with.
I started my journey with SSK with two other members, Ashwin Manghat and Smrity R from the Young India Fellowship (YIF). As part of our curriculum at the YIF, we were supposed to work on an experiential learning module with an organization and the tenure of the project was 8 months. In September 2013, we had first spoken to Simranpreet, the Chief Project Officer at SSK, an alumnus from the YIF. He spoke in detail about the vision and the philosophy of the school which Mr. Jyoti Sinha had started. The project ended in May, 2014 and I speak for all 3 members when I say that the project did change our lives.
Being a part of such a dynamic team at SSK, we had decided that we will work an ultimate result. The ultimate result was in plural, the kids. Each day I often asked myself Why? How? Who? Where? This journey has taught me about how skewed the Indian education system where grades are given more preference than actual learning and knowledge sharing. The kids in SSK are bright. They crave for what their community has lacked for the last 40 years which is a good solid education and they are ready to give back to their community. I worked with the kids on an experiential level. I taught them subjects such as English using Rap, Math using day to day activities and Economics using real life scenarios. A bunch of my favorite bacchas called the Champions 36 asked me questions such as the relevance of the Peepal tree and how markets exist. To be really honest, many a times, I didn’t have ready answers for their questions. It took me time to comprehend their questions because they come after a solid thought and the kids wouldn’t be satisfied with a trivial answers. They needed a rational answer which made complete sense to them in abstract and logically. They were ready to get their intellectual limits tested when I spoke to them about the current political scenario of the country and why Modi won. They often asked me abstract questions about why imagination existed and how birds got fried when they hit electric wires. If you ever need a solid testing of your education, I suggest you take a week off and head to SSK, it’s truly worth it.
A random Karaoke session for inculcating a certain sense of English was held. Kids were jumping around and singing songs such as “Heal the World” by Micheal Jackson.
A session with the 4th grade bacchas and rapping a poem.
Playing football in the slush with 18 members on each side.
Kids giving me jealous stares when I would take a walk in the road.
Random impromptu acting sessions with the 5th and 6th grade bacchas about team work and trust.
Hearing about the 8th graders and how they performed street plays.
Seeing photographs of bacchas cleaning up their villages for health and good sanitation purposes.
Reading Pankaj’s poems.
The kids faces when the Kathputhilli colony performed.
The patriotic feeling of saluting at India Gate and singing the National Anthem.
The final adieu.
The bacchas are truly world class. They are determined and ready to come act in the world. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself when I was in Shoshit Samadhan Kendra. The kids migrate to a new campus where they are ready to put the teachers to a test and take on anyone who comes with an external perspective. I urge you, the reader to actually go and spend some time with the kids. SSK is finally a school where the kids are given utmost priority. Cheers!
(Ashwin Ravichandran was a part of the Young India Fellowship’s Experiential Learning Module Team which worked with SSK from August 2013 to May 2014. This 8 month project focused on the School Management System, the Academic Strategy, the Out Reach Programme and Teacher Training, Mentor Programme and SSK Students’ Delhi Trip)