Cataloguing Books for the library
The month started with about a thousand books being unpacked. These were mostly English books for children sent by friends, who were running a library in Dumraon but for various reasons found it difficult to continue the library there and decided to donate the books for the Jeevanshala children. The TL team patiently documented all the books and unpacked them.
Coping with Loss
We lost Nisha, one of our first TLs (Teacher Learner). She joined us with a high spirit, though she was fighting an undiagnosed illness, which led to high fevers, fatigue and weight loss, she stayed with us till she could, making Teaching Learning materials, bringing innovations to the classroom and coping with her studies.
The children talked about Nisha didi, the little things they remembered most about her, the spices she got to class when introducing them to different kinds of spices, the small goodies she stole into the centre to share with the children, her frustration with them, when they were being difficult, but above all her love and commitment to them. We had a small remembrance of Nisha and visited her grave where holi, was celebrated with her, not in her form but in spirit. The children laid gulal and flowers, where she rested.
Shadow Puppet Show 1 @the centre
About 60 students of classes V and VI, from the neighbouring private school Araria Public School (APS) came over and the jeevanshala students did their first public show for an outside audience, but in their home turf 🙂
Shadow Puppet Show 2 @ the neighbouring Government School
The second show was at the local Government school, where the audience was over 200 school children from classes 5 to 8. The challenge was an allien surrounding, an audience with a very short attention span, but the Jeevanshala children completed their performance unhindered by the chaos and noise, from the audience and so we have conquered the non-home-turf space 🙂
Shadow Puppet Show 2 @ The Vidya Vihar Residential School Parora, Purnea
This show at the Vidya Vihar School was very challenging. A bus ride of two hours took us to the school. The bus ride was fun and all 45 of us TLs and students enjoyed playing antakshri and looking at the semal and gulmohar in full bloom, along the highway. But in the school auditorium the sheer size and high tech set up was intimidating. However thanks to our very friendly hosts, their wonderful refreshments and a beautiful audience of over 250 school children we really enjoyed the show.
In the audience were also our young friend Sameeksha and her mother Daisy ji, who kept our morale high. Sameeksha also took wonderful photos, which you can see above.
Parents’ TL Meet
As we ended the academic year and children headed back to their villages we organised a meeting with the parents. Each child’s parents were met separately and their child’s strengths and prospective areas of development were discussed. We also met collectively, watching the puppet shows the children had prepared and then discussing what were some of the things we needed to keep in mind as the children headed home to be with their families – controlled access to devices and junk food, focus on physical and mental labour equally and other such things that are emphasised daily at the centre. We ere again reminded of the hard lives our children faced, as most father’s could not come to the PTM because they were away from bihar doing migrant work in different parts of the country
Selection of new Students
As our old students stepped out of the Jeevanshala, ready to take on the outside world, after having completed their VIII standard exams, they made space for new students. We have a group of bright children joining us this semester. Assessment of the child’s learning abilities and their own and parent’s interest in the child’s education were assessed at the Jeevanshala, in interviews and assessment, that lasted for two days.