Friday, 13 July 2012

We learn by teaching.

I can recall, my teachers saying, “It’s not just you who come here to learn, we learn new things too.” never really understanding what they meant. The fact seemed so meaningless, because at that time for us, our teachers were the ones who knew everything, how can they possibly learn something from us.

But yes, these kids made me realise the meaning of this sentence I have repeatedly heard during my schooling. Yesterday just before we were about to leave, we were waiting outside the girls’ class on the third floor at Deepa Academy to get some data for the manual on basic computers, which Jayasi and I have been working on, from the person who was in charge of computer education at the academy. Seeing no teacher in the class, I entered the class and randomly tried picking up a talk with the girls when something caught my attention. It was a Braille frame and stylus used to write in Braille. I then noticed the huge textbook written in Braille kept in front of each one of them. My curiosity about all the things that I had been observing around them pushed me to ask them to teach me how to read Braille. What followed was unexpected! They all got so bubbly and started assembling around a desk I was standing in front of. All of them started giving their inputs and started trying to explain things to Jayasi and me, telling us that first we need to learn to write then only can we learn to read. Nonetheless, they explained us what it actually is and how can we write and how is it read and before they let us go, we were told to get a pen and paper the next day so that they can help us learn the symbols used while writing in Braille.
All this while, they had sensed our feeling of the task being difficult and consoled us by saying it is very easy and they were just lazy hence they took about 2 years to learn it and we could learn with without any issue.

In the communication skills session, we had the girls talk to us about any one family member of their choice. This time, such a simple topic brought out such deep emotions expressed so simply by them. Most of them spoke about how the family members motivated them to study, encouraged each one of them to be successful and not consider them to be any less!
I salute the family members who have taken the pains to stay away from their children and send them to the city for the first step to live an independent life,to get them educated.

On the Manual front, we have completed the validation work of the content with the girls. Assembling the content, editing and formatting is what takes up most of our time now.

On noticing some girls missing from the class, we got to know that they were busy with some dance practice.  In a while we were informed about the dance routine they were working on for their audition in Chennai. On our walk back to the hostel we noticed them practicing in the lawns, which just got me all excited. It was like I just had to see them. Imagine our disappointment on seeing a lock on the park gate from the inside! We were extremely disappointed on learning about the park being locked. Pleading and requesting the gardener we managed to enter the park and silently observe the routine. It was something extraordinary. The girls were just brilliant. Our efforts to enter the park, our delay in reaching for the lunch at the hostel mess, everything had just paid off. Seeing them dance was something special, something my words fail to express.


  1. I love that the girls are teaching you Braille. Imagine how proud they must feel that they have something unique and valuable to teach others. Please keep us posted on your lessons!

  2. Jayasi and Shruti, I am really enjoying reading each of your post. The vivid details of each of your many experiences, makes me feel like I'm there with both of you and the girls at Deepa.
    The point you bring up in this post; specifically about the girls being deeply emotional while talking about their parents, its inspiring to read of parents willing to send their daughters several kms away from their towns/villages, encouraging them to pursue their education and build a better future. It is also heartening to read of the girls and their zest for life, to read, learn and make themselves independent.
    Looking forward to you upcoming posts. Keep on with the good work.

    1. Thank you Maam for giving us this opportunity to work with the girls.
      The amount of satisfaction besides the fun, we get each day is inexpressible :)