What I learnt when I started to teach…

Contributed by: Pooja Singh
Dated: 23rd March, 2014

Context - Pooja Singh has been a ProjectKHEL beneficiary since December 2012. One of the 16 inmates of Lucknow Children’s Home, Pooja joined our team as a Community Coordinator in December 2013. Pooja regularly conducts KHEL sessions at a larger government girls shelter home as well as at a slum. Her experience as a beneficiary and now as a coordinator gives her a unique perspective and ability to connect with the children, especially the girls. She has started writing about her experiences as a coordinator. We hope this is just the first of a series of posts by her.

Translation – translated from Hindi to English  by Elin Nelson – A ProjectKHEL volunteer from the United States who was in Lucknow studying Hindi and Urdu :-)

Click on the photo to enlarge and read in Hindi.

Ever since I joined KHEL, I have learnt a lot and seen many changes in myself. At first I discriminated a lot against uncleanliness, for example, if where I am was dirty or someone else was dirty, I would become disgusted. (RBG and Ehsaas have a mixed group of children, some who know to keep clean and some who don’t. The cleaner ones do not always wish to involve the dirtier ones in the game.) But if I tell the children not to discriminate like this, first I myself will have to try not to do that. This time when I went from my college to the slums, I had no problem adjusting there, even though there was a lot of filth there. If I want to teach someone else something, I must first practice that myself.

Whenever I have too many problems or tension, I think about why my life is like this. I feel really bad, and think “why did this happen to me?” but when I met these children, I realized that there are a lot of people who have many more problems in their lives than I do. If these children are able to be happy in their own lives, why can’t I be happy in mine? I get inspiration from all of them. (Pooja is a resident at a shelter home for girls from broken families, abandoned, orphaned or families which cannot support the upbringing of a child)

I interacted with some girls (At RBG, where there are a lot of girls abandoned by their boyfriends after eloping from home. Some of them were very young but already pregnant. Some had run away from home due to disagreement with family.) who had run away from home and come here, but when they got here, they didn’t like it. Anyway, I had never thought about running away nor will I ever think about it. I had always heard over and over that we shouldn’t have run away but when I saw the shelter home they were living in, I quickly understood that running away from somewhere would be very bad because now they don’t have a home to go back to.