Oct 12, 2015

Education Enlightens and Empowers Orphan Girls

"In my current circumstances it is impossible to study further, but it has been your support that is helping me personally to keep my dream alive" - Pavithra
Pavithra is 17 year old doing her B.Com 1st year in an Arts and Science College. Her mother has not been in school and was widowed when Pavithra was just 5 years old. With no education, her mother has been working as a daily wage (coolie) worker in the agriculture fields and managing the needs of Pavithra and her brother.
Pavithra's brother and her mother are affected by a chronic health condition and sometimes this affects her mother's earning. When Pavithra completed her 10th with Good grades, relatives from her family side wanted her to be married. Being a widow, though her opinions are not strongly accepted, but she stood firm and expressed interest of education her daughter until  graduation. On asking her mother how she was so firm in educating her daughter, she expressed
"I know the pain of not having studied. It is quite hard-work at the field and I do not want my daughter to go through the same struggle like me. If i had been educated, I would have looked for other options of work, but with no education, I have no choice but work as a daily wage worker and that does not fetch regular income”.
It was during that time, Buds of Christ has assured support for Pavithra for her education cost under its special project on educational support for orphan Girls. Now it's been three years Pavithra has been supported and she is showing good performance in her academics. Her dream is to become a commerce teacher and support her family. 

Jun 3, 2015

Awake | Arise | Shine – Buds Leadership Camp 2015

The Buds leadership camp for 2015 was organised on the theme Awake, Arise and Shine at House of Peace, Yercuad from 26th to 30th of May 2015. The leadership camp is primarily organised in building future leaders from the families reached through Buds of Christ to reach out to young children and youth belonging to challenging circumstances. The camp outcome is to enable the youngsters to focus and encourage young people like them to live the future with hope and courage.

The main aspects of the camp were on motivational sessions by external consultants, action songs, dance and reflective (personal and group) exercises that enabled the participants to be more involved in the learning.

The First day themed AWAKE: The participants were guided in understanding their self worth through demonstrative sessions by Mr. Santharaj from Salem. The key learning the participants gained was each one has been born with potential that is masked by low self worth that is projected through shyness, considering one as incapable for the task, fear of being open etc. He encouraged the participants to look into their inner self and be proud of the uniqueness in oneself.
This was followed by exercise on the Tree of life (a manual developed by REPSII, South Africa) that was adapted in helping the participants  look into the special abilities each  one possesses. The compilation of all the trees was set as the forest of life. This exercise helped the participants look into the other part of their life, focusing on their strengths, talents and skills. They also acknowledged the key roles played by their well-wishers. At the end of the exercise the participants become more enthusiastic especially when their peers shared the qualities they observed in each other.

“I was very thrilled when friends certain qualities I was not aware of; I was also very happy because I felt I was keenly observed by my friends". - expressed an orphan girl living with HIV
“I have always felt I am not capable of doing great task, but here when my friends shared the qualities I possess and how it has benefitted them, I feel proud of myself" - expressed an orphan boy living with HIV

The second day themed ARISE: The participants gained an understanding on the fears and challenges that overwhelm them. The session lead by Dr. John Daniel Ph.D, helped the participants understand the internal (self -made) challenges that affects once progress. He outlined four areas, Lack of knowledge, lack of accountability, lack of enthusiasm and lack of commitment. This enabled the young people reflect on their own personal experiences and make decisions that will make them move forward.

Following participatory discussion on the challenges they experience and overcoming them, a reinforcing session on practical ways to arise out of the existing situation was explained with illustration.
“It was a wonderful experience to learn that life is not an event, but a process, so the sad moment will pass away and I need not dwell, nor plan based on the present circumstances” – expressed a 18 year old orphan girl

“For me, it was an eye-opening experience to understand that I myself have caused limitation to my growth and if I need to move forward, I should be the change" – expressed a 17 year old orphan boy

The final session of the day was setting up personal plans and guided by a mentor.
The third day themed SHINE: The participants were oriented on the need to change and I was stressed that the change should come from them and should be with strong willingness. The session was followed by a group exercise where the participants reflected on the shining moment where they have felt good and some moments where they been a shining moment for others. On reflecting the two instances, majority expressed that it is more satisfying when they have been the cause of shine for others.
Two expressions of being a shine

“I had a small garden in front of my house, and a small
child used to come and have a peek in the garden each day. One day when it was raining heavily and she came and asked for a plant. Seeing her interest and completely wet, I was moved and gave her small sapling and she went back home smiling. I being a cause for the smile made me very happy” - expressed an adolescent girl

“Having failed in my public exam, I could not continue studies after my 10th. So I got trained in beautician course and with that skill I am working in the parlour. In that earning, one of my friend who wanted to do higher studies was in financial need for continuing her education, I was happy that I could be of help and offered support” - expressed a young person living with HIV.

At the end of the day, each participant were involved in setting a social goal that would help other children and young people coming from challenging circumstances. The session then ended with a commitment which was shared by the participants in open.