Because children are tiny flower buds..

By Ashita Adhikari, FHI Delhi

It’s apt to say that children are like tiny flower buds. They bloom into beautiful flowers with the right development and nurture or else they hesitate to open up their petals to the world. Everyone at Fly Higher India NGO – FHI understands this simple thing. Being a volunteer has taught me how creatively kids learn and inculcate basic and important values from simple activities and games. It’s amazing when I realize that I don’t just play games and dance with these children but slowly and slightly make them a better version of themselves. It’s like watering the buds which helps it to grow, yet we can’t see it blooming right in front of our eyes. The kids are alike.

At the end of every event, when we bid our goodbyes to the kids, our heart may ache temporarily but what the children have ingrained in themselves is permanent. And these developments and skills are not only limited to the children we interact with but to us, as volunteers. Everyone learns and grows in this process and that is why it’s so beautifully synergistic in it’s effects. 

I realised this at my very first event of FHI Delhi. What is the creative activity you would think of doing with a bunch of lots of kids? The first idea to strike would be Art! 

42448860_1854654644651108_7447900558905573376_oWe did an activity where all the boys were distributed drawing sheets and colors and were asked to draw anything they would like to. At first everyone kept asking us, ” Didi ap hi bta do Kya draw karu”, “Mujhe drawing karni nahi aati” and all sorts of excuses. But we told them to draw anything that comes first to their minds. Slowly everyone started drawing and colouring silently. After completing, they came to us running excitedly, asking us how well had they drawn. It was so beautiful to see so many different ideas, none being repeated. How original every drawing was! 

When we value someone’s creativity, especially of children, we help them feel valued, raising their self esteem. Art leads to a very simple but highly important skill – Creative Thinking. The kids might not realize on their own but what they were doing on the sheets were not merely drawings but a whole lot of self expression, observation and creativity combined. Art helps us to be focussed and disciplined. Art simply is an open doorway to boost a child’s emotional development.

Similar exercise was conducted in a girl’s shelter home where they were divided into four teams and every team had to make a poster on the topic ‘Hope’. Moreover to boost their confidence levels, we declared it a competition between the teams. The funniest part was where the girls began fighting on which team they’d want to go as everyone wanted to be with their friends but we teamed them up randomly.

Art plus Team work! Every team was provided with a large chart paper and the girls huddled around it to complete the poster within an hour. The skill being delivered here was collaboration, imagination and social development. Working in a group, we saw them sitting in a circle around the chart, adjusting and compromising with their teammates to make a fabulous poster and win. 

30704758_1643766922406549_2257761952426844969_nThere was a left-handed girl in my team so the right handed girl sitting next to her was trying hard to color the sheet properly as she wasn’t getting any space. I could see her getting agitated by that. After some time, seeing her, the left handed girl apologized sweetly and asked the others to shift a little so that she may get some more space to color freely.  This little incident showed me how the team work lead the little girl to spark problem solving skills in her.  The girls exchanged ideas, listened to what other teammates had to say, adjusted and became more cooperative. They shared the limited number of pencils and crayons made available to them. If little conflicts came up, they managed themselves. At last all the teams brought their finished posters to us and of course they all were declared winners!

At the same venue, we also held a small interactive session with the girls to discuss about the health and sanitation issues concerned with menstruation. It’s important for us to make our future generations feel free and confident while talking about such issues ,that they don’t consider it a tabboo to talk about it. The girls actively participated in the discussion and also asked questions after a while of hesitation. Curiosity is important. Learning to question without hesitating is very important. The girls were shy at first but came out with their confusions eventually. Such sessions aim at physical, emotional and social development all at once. Having skills to maintain their health begins from the very lower level of providing information about the subject. I was impressed when a girl came up to me and said,” Didi ye sab to ladko ko bhi sikhana chahiye” These girls are the future female generation and it’s so empowering to know that in her world where she’s always been taught to keep her periods some sort of a secret, she wants to fly and wants it to be talked  as a natural thing that it is. 

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Every game and activity contributes to the children’s skills and development, no matter how small the result is. Childhood shapes the personality of the child and the personality is shaped by his skills and development picked up since a small age. 

So is there anything better when you are a part of something so great which makes your nation’s future generation learn and develop into humans with strong personalities while doing fun and games? I think not. 

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