''On the first day, we had 8 children between my partner and I. The next day, 6 of them were there, but two more had joined. On the last day, with only one addition to the teaching members, we had 23. Each child took a while to open up, and when they did, I noticed something- when the children smile, it's brighter than the sun, brighter than any of us smiling. They never really complained, instead expressing the desire to learn.
Accommodating and pliant in every measure to change in the style of teaching, and extremely honest in what they were comfortable with and with what they were not, every one of them had a spark in their eyes. I left two weeks later, with drawings made for me, and little cut out hearts that read that they liked me, and myself so full of love and joy.
I didn't realise before the second day how happy teaching these children made me. I've learnt from them more about myself possibly more than they've learnt English from me. It takes a sort of innate emotional strength to communicate with them that I really had to search for, that I did not believe I possessed. I came to the realisation soon after that I would, definitely, love to work with Light Up again and again in the future, because it felt something right for me, deep down. As I've taught English to the EWS in our school before, I thought this would be a similar experience. Obviously, I was wrong. I couldn't imagine the Light Up emotional intelligence agenda's impact until I was truly interacting with the kids. They feel so much brighter than us, and to make them understand their emotions is something that is so essential, and the fact that it goes unnoticed by the common public is a little saddening.
Speaking with the founder in the orientation opened my eyes to it too, and it's a purpose that truly deserves to reach everyone. This was my first, on ground, community service experience, and since it was through the Sanskriti School Interact Club, I expected we'd be working with an organisation in an ever-so-slightly official atmosphere. However, it became clear from the Coffee House orientation that it wasn't so.
The Light Up team were the most supportive, helpful, approachable people to work with, and gelling with their work ethics was extremely easy. They explained to us extremely clearly exactly what their goal was with the children in terms of fostering emotional capacity as well as teaching English, and told us to keep that in mind. I truly loved how hard they worked and how simple and natural it seemed to convey our observations on the children. The experience was truly made so much more enjoyable with their constant supervision. ''
''The very day I got to know that I would be teaching kids of Sanjay basti , my happiness knew no bounds. Teaching has always been one of my favourite tasks and this challenge was accepted with open arms from my side as I have always believed in helping the underprivileged, to give them a beam of hope, love and care , something that they're not accustomed to. My experience with the children has been the best experience till date. I got to learn the qualities of patience, hardwork, determination and most importantly, that of love and care (something that the contemporary world is devoid of) .The two emotions I realised were of humility and patience - children have nothing and yet their faces are glowing with a positive vibration. I saw that the children had to be taught multiple times to understand a basic concept but yet finally they learnt it and now they are reciting it with confidence. I being a teenager who gets extremely hyper when I can't solve a math problem in one go , have now understood that making mistakes is alright, taking time for a particular problem is absolutely justified and that's why today, when I got a problem wrong, unlike the old me , I didn't start jumping on my seat but I patiently solved the problem and more importantly I wasn't afraid of making a mistake as I remembered the children's attitude towards work. Light Up is doing a splendid job in educating and empowering the powerless around social and emotional wellbeing for a better and a brighter tomorrow, hats off to Light Up. ''
- Sri Vidya , class 10th , Sanskriti School , Student Volunteer Program '2017.
''On the first day of the community service, I was both, excited and nervous to interact with the children. As we started talking and started to get to know each other we found they were very welcoming! They didn't let me feel like an outsider but instead treated me like their brother. At first I thought that I won't be able to teach them but they gave me the confidence to teach.
I always wanted to help the underprivileged children in some way or the other. I learnt that motivation and patience can even make difficult tasks easy. I made many new memories that I will cherish for my entire life. I loved how the children came with a positive attitude and the will to study. The children have taught me that we learn from our mistakes and we learn new things slowly but certainly. Every morning when they came and said “Hi Bhaiya”, the happiness I found was not only genuine but also fulfilling. When the service got over for the day, their high fives and smiles were my reward. They were always so ready to learn new things that made me realise that they loved to learn new things. The two weeks of community service were a memory that I would cherish for the rest of my life. Spending time with the children had become a part of my daily routine. I loved the way the children worked in a team. They were all so talented, some were good at art, some at maths, and some loved to dance and sing.
I learnt that we should not be materialistic and be happy with whatever little we have. We should learn to accept whatever we have. The children have taught me to be patient with my problems, earlier I used to be impatient and restless. I've learnt that no matter who we meet in life, we should treat them all with respect.
I feel that Light up is doing a fantastic job by teaching the poor and needy about emotional and social intelligence who don't have the means to be educated. Light up has imbibed great values in them such as unity, bond, teamwork, trust, and emotions. They've treated each child as their own and have nurtured them with great values. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Light up and I wish that I get more opportunities like the one Light up has provided me so that I can learn new values. I would like to thank Light up for letting me be a part of it and for teaching me the true meaning of love, friendship, hard work and patience. I feel privileged to be a part of the Light up Family!''
- Aaryan , class 10th , Sanskriti School , Student Volunteer Program '2017.
Throughout our on-ground experiences in the communities , we have keenly observed the various issues that our community faces. As we progressed, we came up with the idea of tying together some skill sets (such as digital literacy) with our SEL Program, in the form of workshops that would help in solving their present issues and provide them with a life long skill set. One of the most prominent problems we figured was the use of the Internet, therefore Digital Literacy - SEL Workshop is to equip the people with Digital Literacy, so that it would help them in keeping up with the technological growth in India as well as reap benefits of the various e-governance services designed to cater to them.