Saturday, November 29, 2008

Little Talents - Future leaders in the making!

Friends! I welcome you all to this new post. I know I am doing injustice to my friend Harish by not working on the assignment we both had to work on which is due and on our neck now. But I am excusing myself from that assignment and writing this post because I am now in a good mood to write about the experiences we had with our Eskool event happened yesterday (27th November) at Prasiddhi School.

Since the time we started our Eskool operations at Prasiddhi School, we were thinking of doing some creative event for the school children. And we were thinking of various options for the same since almost 8 months. One thought came to our mind is why can’t we give some live projects to the high school students? Like how we had our projects during our graduation and Post Graduation. We knew it was not that easy but still we thought of proceeding with the plan.

Finally, we went to the school on Oct 18th and had a meeting with Shashi and Jyothi (our Faculties) on the arrangements to be made for the same. We instructed them to divide the classroom into groups of 6 students each and giving them one topic for each class. So there were about 6-7 teams per class and we decided on selecting a winner and runner out of every class to be awarded during the annual day. All students were excited and thrilled to hear this as for the first time they are being divided into the groups creating a competitive environment inside the classroom. All students were eagerly waiting for their topics to be given and were even pestering our faculties to give away the topics. We decided on four topics for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th standard students. The topics were in general and were not in specific to their subject. 7th got their topic as ‘Bangalore Traffic’; 8th got their topic as ‘Evolution of Man v/s Evolution of technology: Futuristic view beyond 21st century’; 9th got their topic as ‘Computer Virus’; 10th got their topic as ‘Global Warming’. I know all the topics sounds interesting but our objective mainly was to bring in the competitive environment, Team working abilities and creativity with the use of Power point. Well, there were rules for them to carry out the activity and the deadline was set to collect all the projects.

After few days, we got to know from Shashi that all the students are excited about the projects and they are all interestingly doing it and surprisingly few teams had even submitted their projects before the due date. Once all the projects were collected, we had to get those from the school and have a look at it before we fixed the presentation date. Even though we delayed this process of going through projects because of many uncertainties’ we had, we decided to go to the school and fix up the date for the presentations. Since we cannot take many leaves, we asked the school management to give us permission for one full day to be there and finish all the presentations without dragging it to many days. Finally we fixed the date as 27th November.

Supreeth and I took off from our job on 27th and managed to reach the school at 9 am. We were all ready with the criteria sheets for us to enter the marks for all the teams. As soon as we got into the Eskool lab, we took printouts of the criteria sheets and saw a few 7th standard students still struggling to make some changes to their slides. Shashi was blasting them out saying it’s the final day and presentations are going to start in sometime.

We went into the library where the projector was connected and Supreeth fixed his laptop to the same. As we walked in, all the 7th standard students walked in and started submitting their slide presentations to us so that we can copy it to the laptop. We took quite a lot of time in organizing the files because of the virus in all pen drives and CDs they had got. And finally we were all set to begin. As supreeth was managing to copy files, I was talking to students asking them some silly questions and making them laugh. Finally, I called upon the teams in random order. One by one they came and presented and went back to their respective places. There were 7 teams in total and all the teams’ efforts were remarkable and quite interesting. They were very creative in their presentations and the way they shuffled within themselves while presenting. Even though they are doing it for the first time, they were doing it in a very good manner and supreeth was quite amazed by one team which made a very good eye-to-eye contact while presenting the content. There were few funny instances also where in few students felt shy to come in front of the slide and face the audience, instead they just turned back and read the whole content on the slide. Well, they are doing it for the first time and we respected it. Few teams were not sure how to present but they were very creative enough to place the content on the slides. The suggestions they had come up for Bangalore Traffic management were excellent. If we really implement those suggestions, we will really be in a safer zone! I still remember, there was one slide which says Hell-Mate (for helmet).

Because of the delay in starting the presentations, 1st period got over and we were yet to complete the 7th STD presentations. We somehow managed to finish it soon and then entered the class X. X STD students were all excited to present their slides of the most interesting topic Global Warming!

As they walked into the hall, we saw lot of students eager to present their case and were waiting to take over their own fellow class competitors. We again collated all the presentations in to the laptop and started in the random order. I must say this, these X STD students did not seem like they are really X STD as they had done their presentations very professionally. Creativity was at its best and the content, the level of thinking, hard work in shaping up their presentations were remarkable. There were a few presentations where there were no team efforts, rather one student performance. Supreeth gave them some inputs on how it has to be and how a team should perform. There were extraordinary presentations with lot of matured thinking about this interesting topic. There were lots of suggestions given on how to reduce the Global Warming. As soon as the presentations got over, I went up to the stage and spoke a few words on why we chose this topic for the X STD and what should they do as a team to contribute to reduction in the Global Warming. I encouraged them to think about the suggestions which were on the slides and implementing the same to lead their own better life on this beautiful universe!

After the X STD presentations, we had our lunch and were back at the hall for the IX STD presentations. Even though the topic for them was not that interesting (as per the students) they had done it remarkably well. There were 6 groups in total and there were extraordinary performances. As all the classes, to their extent, creativity was at its best! There was a nap for all in between as one of the team had more and more text on the slide and all of them were reading it from the slide without even turning at the audience. Well, that’s how the foundation is at that level. Unless we bring up such initiatives, students will not break out for the better shows.

By the time we finished the IX STD presentations, it was 3.30 pm and that’s the end of the day. We could not finish the 8th standard presentations on that day and it got postponed to Saturday. There were lots of learning for me from the whole process looking at their commitment towards winning the event, creativity shown and the skills presented over the stage. I was quite impressed with the kind of performances they have shown towards the achievement. This proved that these little kids can achieve anything if given an opportunity to showcase their talent.

To end my post, these kids, who showcased their creativity and conviction towards achieving success in the competitive environment, are our future leaders who are seeking opportunities at every step of their career. And we will try our best to bring in this kind of competitiveness before even they move out of school life to join the bigger roles in their lives.

Because of the rules set for the competition, we have to select a winner and runner for every class. Otherwise, every team is a winning team here!

Thanks Sup for your brilliant efforts in making this event in spite of your cold, cough and fever! Thanks to our faculties as well!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

PHC - Surprising Turnaround!

Project Kandwar/The XVIII Horse update:
We were to go and meet Dr. Chandrashekar at Chikballapur to discuss on the solution for the PHC at Kandavara. Doc set the appointment with him on 8th November and we all decided to meet him at his residence. As planned, I reached our NGO office on 7th evening after my regular work and Doc also came there. TS had the duty on 8th so he said he cannot join us. Also Doc wanted to come back by 11.30 and handover the car to his brother. So the plan was to leave our office at 8 am in the morning and come back by 11.30 am.

It was a sunny and bright day. Doc, Narasim and I left our NGO apartment at 8.15 am and reached the Swati hotel on NH7 to have the breakfast. After having breakfast we left the hotel and started towards Chikballapur. All the way, we were discussing about the potential solution for the PHC and how Doc can contribute towards the same. Doc expressed the difficulties in getting a doctor to the PHC as he had already tried to talk to many General Physicians about the same.

The problem we were trying to fix is the PHC in Kandavara is just a building which is not being used. Since 17 years there is no doctor appointed to the same and for all the treatments, villagers should go to the Chikballapur city even though they have a PHC building in the village. As per the public meeting we had conducted, this is the extremely needed service for the village. We tried to meet the DC and the officials in the State to get the problem fixed. But we had no luck with the same till this year.

Dr. Chandrashekar is a retired Ophthalmologist from ESI hospital in Bangalore. As per Narasim’s meeting with him last year, he was supposed to help us to bring in a group of doctors into our network who can help us with giving life to the PHC. As committed, he tried talking to several doctors who work in Chikballapur about our project and the PHC requirement. It seems as though none of the doctor showed interest in the same and Dr Chandrashekar had given up on the issue. So the agenda of our meeting was to resume the communication with him and understand the alternatives available with us towards the goal.

Narasim has very good memory as he had not forgotten Dr.Chandrashekar’s residence. We reached his place by 10.20 am. Doctor was in his farm land and came down as soon as we called him on his mobile phone. As always, we first got the coffee as a welcome drink before we started the discussion. Chandrashekar was explaining us on his retirement from the ESI Hospital Bangalore and how he is spending his time post his retirement. We brought up the topic of the PHC and he was expressing his difficulty in bringing the doctors together to work with us for our project.

Surprising turnaround!
All of a sudden he gave us very shocking and surprising news. He asked us whether we went to Kandavara before meeting him and we said we are yet to visit Kandavara. The surprising news he gave us was the following: “Government of Karnataka has demolished the PHC building in Kandavara and they are building up a 2 storied building to set up a Nursing institute. Ground floor will be the hospital and the 1st floor will be the Nursing training institute.”

Wow! Was our reaction and all these days we were not even aware of this and we were delighted out of our belief to hear this news from him!

Finally we thanked Chandrashekar for the good news and said good bye to him and visited Kandavara. We saw the new pillars coming up and enquired from the supervisor / contractor who was working at the site who said this building will be up and ready to use in the next one year!

Well… we are not sure how and who moved this file which was pending since a long period of time. We were out of our belief to see this outstanding development. Whoever did move this file in the government, he is the hero for people of Kandavara.

All our efforts till now for the PHC came to a productive end and a new beginning!