Summer camp 2013 in Bodako, Bhopal

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Aham Bhumika successfully ran its second summer camp in the village of Bokadho on the outskirts of Bhopal. The six day camp was held between the 8th and 15th of April 2013.

The tribal children of the 3 primary schools of the village got an opportunity to participate in the camp. On an average, 70 children attended every day. The aim behind organizing the camp was to generate an interest in art and craft, to explore the hidden talent in the kids, and raise computer literacy among the little children.

The main activities were drawing, painting, craft, origami, kiragami, and computer lessons. In addition, the older girls and women of the village were taught embroidery with the aim of helping them become self-sufficient.

Three students of NID Ahmedabad, Kokila Bhattacharya, Shivani Goswami, and Shubham Singhai, volunteered to teach art and craft. Chandru Malkani from Mumbai was the out-of-town volunteer, who took up the responsibility of making the children computer literate.

Rupa Goswami and Kavita Bhattacharya were the volunteers in charge of the embroidery class. Subrat Goswami, the founder and soul of Aham Bhumika, took on the role of the official photographer.

A bumpy 2-km stretch of a non-existent road led to the village school. The scene along the way was of village houses and brick kilns; large empty fields, little guys with grazing herds of goats, and water pumps were the other sights. Most of the people in the village work in brick kilns or construction sites outside the village.

One of the main reasons for the camp was to make sure that these little children do not spend their adult lives working in these illegal, hazardous, and harmful brick kilns and find a better form of livelihood.

The excited kids arrived at the school well before time every day. The older boys would come running to our vehicle and volunteer to help us carry our daily sacks of groceries and vegetables up to the kitchen. At lunch time, the older girls would take over the responsibility of serving the meals and sweeping the rooms clean after lunch.

A typical day at the camp started at 10 am and went up to 4 pm. The day began with a rendering of the national song and the national anthem sung together by the children and the volunteers. Lunch break was at 1 pm, where piping hot delicious lunch was served. A short break followed lunch where the boys played football in the open fields while the girls played board games like chota bheem, ludo, snakes and ladders, and Chinese checkers.

On the final day, the talented and exceptional kids of the camp were felicitated and awarded. T-shirts sponsored by McAfee Mumbai were distributed to the kids and volunteers. This was followed by a special lunch where the children feasted on their favorite meal consisting of kheer and puris.

A short summary of the day wise activities conducted:

Day 1:
Art and Craft: The kids were taught basic sketching and drawing. They drew circles, houses, flowers. They then painted the drawings with crayons. The origami session taught them to make a boat and airplanes.

Computers: Only a few of the 25 children shortlisted for the computer class had seen a laptop before. The first session was about introducing the kids to laptop, getting them accustomed to the machine, the keyboard and the internal and external mouse.

Day 2:
Art and Craft: The clay modeling session had the children making cups and utensils The origami session had kids making a pig from a piece of paper provided.

Computers:An MS Word session was held where all the children typed out their names and experimented with various fonts, sizes, colors, highlights. They learned to open a word document, minimize and maximize it, and save it in folders.

Day 3:
Art and Craft: A kiragami session was held where the kids learned to make a paper bag from a simple newspaper. The following session had the kids paint their own paper bags with their hand impression. The clay modeling session gave the kids the freedom to unleash their creativity. They were left alone with their clay to use their imagination and do whatever they could. The kids turned up making lots of different animals, different daily use utensils, and even complex gadgets using the clay.

Computers: The kids learned to use MS Paint. They learned to draw and erase using the mouse. They then colored their drawings using MS Paint tools like brush.

Day 4:
Art and Craft: The children had a thumb painting session where they painted lots of things using their fingers and thumb. The origami lessons included making a paper frog and a paper cup.

Computers: The session was all about interactive games on the computer, which involved using their intellect. They played games like maze, jigsaw puzzles, match the figures, and find the ball. They then watched a Charlie Chaplin cartoon followed by Tom and Jerry.

Day 5:
Art and Craft: Kokila took on the responsibility of teaching the children the basic notes of Indian classical music. Her mesmerizing voice left everyone present spellbound. By the end of the session, the children could sing 'sa re ga ma' in a nice sweet tone. This activity was just the encouragement the kids needed to open up. They followed this up by forming groups and singing their tribal songs in the local dialect. The painting session saw the kids being introduced to brush painting. The kids experimented by using flat and round brushes to paint their own drawings.

Computers: A photography session replaced the computer class. The children were taught the basics of using a camera. They were then taken around the village and asked to click various objects. The little ones used a point and shoot camera while the older kids experimented with Subrat's DSLR.

Day 6:
Art and Craft: The final day had a festive atmosphere right from the morning. Guest volunteer Ashish Bhattacharya enthralled the little kids with his paper craft skills. He showed the children how to make things like caps, trains, flowers, masks, necklaces, footwear just by using a simple piece of paper and a pair of scissors.

Computers: As promised to them on the first day, the final day was all about games. The entire session was about playing adrenalin-pumping games. They played games like car racing, shooting, football, cricket, and so on. The session ended with a showing of the Hindi dubbed version of Walt Disney's Duck Tales.