The Bal Mela- The day we made masses smile, and we smiled as well!
Education is just not about gaining knowledge but also about giving and sharing knowledge. This event gave me the opportunity to share all the knowledge I had in a form of a Mela. A Mela where children of the city from the government schools and local communities, normally children who aren’t privileged were given access to various activities.
The Bal Mela, on 13th February 2016, was a notch apart, especially for the Grade 7 to 11 students since this time, they were the volunteers. It was a unique and fun experience as well as a learning experience. We, Hetvi, Naomi and I, the organisers of the event positioned ourselves as the head of the event, which included planning the activities, allocating those activities, selecting the volunteers, planning the schedule, ordering the resources, calling government schools, arranging the food for around 1500 children from government schools, and what not. Student volunteers positioned themselves at every stall, tattoo making, face painting, mask making, puppet making, science experiments, the running stage, and many more.
The under-privileged students from all over Surat, as well as the neighbouring villages, visited our school. The smile stretched on their faces, was really priceless. It made me realize the real worth of so many things of our daily life, we took for granted. It made me realise how I could use my skills to make them laugh, and most importantly to make them enjoy. It made me feel positive about my developing skills, as a person and as an organising head as well.
After the schools had visited all of the stalls, the students also got a platform to showcase their talent in front of the whole school and other children, giving them a lot of inspiration and motivation. From, dancing to awe-inspiring stunts, the children were capable of everything. They became very friendly with us, and we were also very delighted to get these many new friends. I captured all these memories through numerous photographs and videos, with them. I was left amazed, by their talents and gifts. When we asked the teachers and students the best part of the Bal-Mela, we more or less got the same answer- The contagious and innocent smile, by the children.
The Bal Mela ended with all of us, the students, their teachers, the volunteers, the helpers and our teachers, ALL dancing freely with each other. From Garba to the latest Bollywood songs, we danced and sang along at the top of our voices without any boundaries. Any outsider wouldn’t have guessed that the under-privileged children just met us today; we got together that well. The thrill and the enthusiasm in the air was really intoxicating. The time just flew by when we were with them, teaching them, talking to them, dancing freely with them and enjoying ourselves. And then they left and the school fell silent as there wasn’t the chatter, the buzz and the over-all jolly atmosphere. This once-in-a-lifetime memory is going to be etched on our minds, forever.
There are always many ups and downs in an event. Our team was truly disappointed when some of the volunteers didn’t turn up on the D-day. However, I believe that it was my commitment, it was OC team’s commitment and perseverance that made the event a big success. Because of this event, I have learned to work under pressure. A day before the event, nervousness had trapped me from head to toe. However, on the 13th of Feb, I have learned to be prepared for the worst and the best.
I started working with my team a month ago. Out team, Falguni ma’am and Aayushi ma’am have had several meetings so that we make sure nothing goes out of way. This event taught me the importance of working collaboratively and the need to be patient and tolerant because in a team of nearly 100 volunteers and 1500 children, success can be achieved only if people work together. Our team and I have cooperated with all the volunteers at least twice before the D-day by inviting all the volunteers for meeting. This made me feel connected with all the volunteers, and also made me realise how much vital it is to interact with volunteers well to make the event go well. The meetings centred around the activities give to the volunteers and the issues related to the same. We made sure that the volunteers are satisfied with their events. Google forms had been submitted earlier, so that we act fairly, and unbiased with the volunteers as it was against our principles, against our ethics. While deciding food, I strictly followed the school policy as junk food wasn’t allowed on that particular day. This was an ethical decision made by me and the team. I believe that if renowned schools from all over Gujarat start organising activities like these, it will have a huge impact on the minds and bodies of underprivileged children. The number of students getting opportunities to discover new things in their life will develop them personally and professionally. Slowly by moving from Gujarat to other states and then to the countries, will have a global impact on the mindsets of people. We would be able to find more positivity and optimism in the world around us.
If I get a chance to organise the event again, I would definitely make sure to get as many volunteers as I can, because I have realised, that without sufficient volunteers, the event is highly likely to fail miserably. I remember, that while the teachers of our school were taking an interview of mine for the organiser of Bal Mela, I told them about my past experiences with many activated I conducted. I also shared my records of being punctual with all tasks and how I promise them to do everything on time even for this event. I am glad they felt I had the potential to organise this huge event.
We had also changed the logo of the event after a long time.
Here are some evidence from the event:
To sum up, I would like to say that this event gave me the skills to manage different tasks at a time, conduct meetings with volunteers, guide them to the right way, communicate with teachers, staff members and underprivileged students, ensure the availability of resources on time, checking all tiny details one day prior to the event, cooperating with volunteers, working as a team and not loosing my temper. I have developed a lot as an individual.
As Kahlil Gibran truly said “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself and your time that you truly give.” I got to experience the real joy of giving.