50 students attending Smile Foundation’s camp

Dressed in a blue shirt and shorts, Danson from a government-aided school in Gorimedu looks up smartly and says “Good Afternoon, how are you?”

For the past week, he has been learning English through a variety of different activities including origami, skit playing and even chess.

Danson is part of a group of around 50 students who have been attending the Smile Foundation’s summer camp at St. Dominic’s Middle School. After a week of classes, most of the children there can confidently speak a few sentences in English, which was the aim of the summer camp. Increasingly, there are a large number of college students who have decided to use their spare time to help those in need.

The Smile Foundation is one such organisation, which has close to 1000 volunteers, with around 350 actively participating in their weekly activities. All the volunteers are students from different colleges across the Union Territory. Whenever they can spare time, they take classes for children in orphanages. This was their first summer camp, said president of the foundation Prassanna Kumar who studies in Jipmer.

“Even college students like us struggle with English, which has now become an essential skill. By teaching these children English through different activities, they will be able to face the world with confidence,” Balachander, another member of Smile, said.

The Trust for Youth and Child Leadership and the Mughil Foundation will also be conducting a summer camp from May 5 to May 10 for rural and gypsy children.

The TYCL was formed by students from the Pondicherry University, while the Mughil Foundation was formed by Pondicherry Engineering College Students. Their summer camp is based on the theme “Towards vision based positive transformation from life experiences,” Shiva Mathiyazhagan from TYCL said.

Similarly, EdForAll, which is also an organisation for college students, held their summer camp in March with the students from the Don Bosco Boys’ Home, where these students spent two days teaching and learning through fun. The focus of the camp was on teaching children things that were unfamiliar to them. We also brought in people from different fields to talk to the children to help them dream big, Anand Raj from EdForAll said.

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