Period: April 9th -May 9th, 2018
Venue: Five Government Schools under Sugamya Shiksha Project of GRAAM
Time: 9 am to 2pm
Average number of children participating in each camp: 60 children
Children after the final exams,“Hurrah……………….. holiday started!”.
Parents after the final exams, “Aiyyo!……………. Holiday started, now what to do with kids?”
Between the end of one academic year and the starting of another academic year is a long break. And yes, it’s summer when the Sun glares in its full form. Twenty years back, children were usually sent to their grandparents’ house, but these days, the parents opt for ‘summer camps’, camps that teach new skills along with building self-confidence and social skills and providing a safe environment. However, you need to pay to access the facilities of such camps, and thus these are inaccessible for children belonging to the poor economic groups.
This summer vacation, we, the Sugamya Shiksha team, planned summer camps for the children from government schools – camps full of innovative and creative activities where children came together to have fun. The camps organized by the team saw fun-filled moments along with educative moments, as sessions on skating and computer lessons along with other life skills were conducted. The camp activities included sports, dance, treasure hunting, singing, and special activities like
- Science with Magic, where young children made fun memories of science,
- Creative Expressions, where children learned to design and make models of their choice using different materials and tools,
- Theatre activities, where under the guidance of theatre professionals, children learned acting, singing and dancing,
- Kamsale Kunitha, a unique folk dance of the mythological period, which was taught to children by traditional artists.
It was a delightful moment of pride for us when we commenced the summer camps in the schools. However, the situation was quite different before the starting of the camps. The school administrations had assured us of the required support when we proposed the summer camps in the month of January, but later, the declaration of election dates in the State and the enforcement of the code of conduct before the election created a constraint. The school administrations asked us to get permission from the higher officials to conduct the summer camps in the schools. By that time, the announcements had already been made in the schools, and the children were waiting for the camps to start. We could not step back at that moment.
All the members of the Sugamya Shiksha team met various education department officials at the block, district and State levels. But alas! All these efforts were in vain as we were not able to get the required permission. The result, however, did not lower our spirits, and we started to look for alternative answers. We took the community into confidence, and were able to put pressure on the school administrations through School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) and Panchayath members. And thus, the schools opened for the summer camps, which were widely appreciated by the parents, even though we had to conduct one of the camps outside the school campus, in a community hall.
As said…all’s well that ends well.. and so it is.