Underprivileged children are provided the right mix of entertainment and skill development
Summer camps have become ubiquitous and no wonder parents from the middle and upper classes would be spoilt for choice where to send their wards to, but what about children from the dispossessed lot.
To provide days of meaningful summer holiday to the underprivileged children, Sneham Trust and Vidiyal Trust both non-governmental organisations, working among street children and children from the neighbourhood slums, have organized summer camps at Iravathanallur and Muthupatti respectively.
From the margins of society these children from neighbourhood slums are less privileged to own computers, video games, caressing parents, food and dresses to choose among, cars and motorcycles to take them to schools. However, the camps here tried to provide them the right mix of entertainment associated with skill development and conscientization.
Sneham Trust, Kalai Nagar, Madurai has been conducting summer camp for the last three years among the underprivileged children at Iravathanallur's Adi Dravidar Colony. A total of 60 students participated in the camp and they were given training in puppetry, silambam, roller skating, painting and folk dances at a day care centre in the Adi Dravidar Colony in Iravathanallur.
The summer camp at Muthupatti organized by Vidiyal was a relatively bigger one where 235 kids participated and most of them were from Ambedkar Nagar, Jeeva Nagar, Melavassal, Heera Nagar, Mahaboobpalayam and Muthupatti. The theme of the camp was “To create a new world and break the old traditions.”
The camp activities included thought for the day besides cultural programmes, and other activities done creatively by the children themselves. They practiced and sang songs highlighting social values. They were given an introduction on eminent leaders, rationalists, social revolts, activists and their life and works.
To inculcate a sense of self-discipline and develop personality, the children were given training to acquire English language skills and leadership qualities. Art from waste, painting, clay doll making, paper Mache pot painting and glass painting. However roller skating and silambam was what made the kids enthusiastic.
Traditional forms of art like oyilattam, parai and drumming were also taught to them. Five training instructors were there along with a counselor, the students were divided into beginners, primary level intermediate, junior and senior. Breaking caste taboos and caste based occupation like shoe making and conservancy work was also stressed among the kids.
R.Prabhu (16) of Melavassal, whose father is a conservancy worker, said that the camp provides him a breathing space from the quandary of his everyday life at the neighbourhood; he said that he has a dream to become doctor.
M.Tamilarasi of Muthupatti claimed that training in cultural activities has helped her perform without fear in events organized at school and other forums. She wishes to become a teacher so that he can help another set of people from her neighborhood to get educated.
M.Anbu of Vadipatti and a hosteler at Vidiyal School said that personality development classes have helped him a lot. Expecting the plus two results, Anbu said that he wishes to pursue masters in commerce and become a banker.