Summer camps may well be one of the most fun experiences one gets to have during their time in school. Filled with enjoyable activities designed to educate, entertain and also enlighten, it’s hardly surprising that kids love camps. Well, only some kids. A vast majority of students never get to go to any summer camps and thus, miss out on all the fun and exposure.
Milind Chandwani, a Teach for India fellow working in a government school in Hyderabad decided to change this bleak situation.
“If these kids can’t go to a camp, then why not bring the camps to them?” he asks. With the simple thought of making a few students’ dream of being in camps to be able to develop their extra-curricular skills come true, Milind started the initiative Camp Diaries.
Camp Diaries is a platform to identify and nurture the hidden talents and interests of children and teach them to learn independently and pursue their passions. It has only been a few months since its launch, but Camp Diaries has already impacted more than 900 students from 7 different government and low-income private schools. And they are just getting started.
Manish Shetty, another Teach for India fellow working in Bengaluru, explains how the camps are designed.
“It’s a three-stage process. In the first camp, we teach 10 different activities to the participants. These is dance, drama, singing, beatboxing, instruments, photography, science experiments, art and craft, computer basics and coding, games and self-defence. Among all the activities in the first camp, each student chooses three activities of his or her interest. Then in the further camps, the child will be trained by mentors in those three interests,” he says.
To undertake these activities, the Teach for India fellows also collaborate with other NGOs, like Make a Difference (MAD), and invite people from different walks of life to volunteer for the cause. With a team of over 300 volunteers ranging from undergrad students to corporate professionals, the initiative plans to offer a holistic education to children.The initiative has changed the lives of many children in Hyderabad, and Milind shares the heart-warming story of
The initiative has changed the lives of many children in Hyderabad, and Milind shares the heart-warming story of 13-year-old girl named Asfiya.
“Asfiya was a very shy girl, hailing from a lower middle-class family. She was rather insecure about herself and would get scared of bullies who’d taunt her and her friends. However, once she started attending Camp Diaries, she not only learned art, dance and music, but also took lessons in self-defence. With the self-defence techniques, she feels more confident and does not get scared like before,” he says.
The volunteers now plan to expand the initiative to other cities like Bengaluru and Chennai where the initiative aims at collectively reaching out to 5000 children by the end of this year.