Balmela is an event where people from government and village schools are called to our school, Fountainhead, to have a fun day where a lot of activities are planned for them. These activities include art and crafts, dance, live music, sport related games and many more. We, a group of 3 students, were the event coordinators of the event. We had to plan everything from the start, including the activities, the volunteers, the resources and the transportation. The event took place on 22nd February 2019 and we started our planning from 9 January 2019. In the first week, we coordinated with the teacher incharges to understand the requirements of the event and it can be conducted. Since all of us have been volunteering for Balmela for 3 years, we had the idea of how the event was organised. Within 15 days we were done with deciding 36 activities and we sent a volunteering form across our school so that people can volunteer in the event. We even went to all the classes from Grade 7 to 12 to inform them about the event and ask if they are interested in volunteering. We were able to get 96 people to volunteer for the event, which was a pretty great achievement. Side by side, we even created a resource list and ordered all the required materials. Till 5th February, we sent a mail to all the volunteers with their assigned position and responsibilities. We even kept a meeting where we briefed them about all the activities and made the required changes. Also, we had various meetings with the teacher in charge to discuss our progress. By 20th February, we were ready for the event. Although, we faced a lot of challenges on the day, it was a successful event as we could see huge smiles on the children’s faces. It gave us immense pleasure and made us feel good.
The learning outcomes achieved:
L1. Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
This event helped me develop my management, leadership and communication skills. I was always shy of communicating with a large group of people, which I was able to overcome. It even made me realise that I am good at communicating and managing events at a larger scale. I need to develop my patience. I was easily getting frustrated when people were not listening to me or were not abiding by the deadlines. This is an area I could improve. Along with that, we had to make a very quick decision for few problems, which even helped us realise the need of doing things on time.
L2. Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
The most critical challenge in the entire event was the puncture of the main bus on the day of the event. The bus was not able to reach the bus stops on time, which made all the students go back to their house. Most of the students returned back, while only a few waited for the bus. With the fear of losing the volunteers we had to make urgent decisions, which included sending another bus to pick up the remaining students, contacting other students to inform them about the bus and asking them to inform others as well. This required a lot of patience and good management as well as critical thinking skills. It helped me increase my patience a bit even and gave me the strength to manage everything that came ahead. Due to this, we even lost a lot of volunteers and so we had to regroup and assign everyone their roles again, which was hectic but we were able to do it.
L3. Initiate and plan a CAS experience
We had to initiate and plan this entire event on our own, which was a good experience. From deciding the activities to initiating them on the day, we learned to manage an entire with a lot of challenges on our way. It was a good experience as it made us realise the hard work that a person puts in to make an event successful. We were able to successfully plan and initiate the event Balmela, which was visible by the smile on the children’s faces.
L4. Show perseverance and commitment in CAS experience.
When we had to face the problem of the bus, we had almost given up the hope of a successful event. But then the thought the giving happiness to the underprivileged brought back the motivation in us. We were committed to complete the event and give the kids what they deserve. We maintained this motivation even while we were planning for the event. The thought of doing something good made us committed to this experience.
L5. Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively:
We had a huge team which was managed by the three of us. Working collaboratively had both perks and cons. The important thing was that we all had various ideas and opinions. Different and many opinions gave a lot of options to choose from and was beneficial as it gave us a chance to give the kids the best activities. Although it took a lot of time to shortlist the things, we worked together and always came to a conclusion. Along with that, to decrease the burden on everyone’s shoulders, we divided the work equally and according to one’s skills. I had to assign roles to everybody because I am good at managing things. Overall, working together is beneficial as it helps divide the pressure and responsibilities and makes it easy to run things smoothly. It was always good to have extra set of hands to help make the event successful.
L6. Engagement with issues of global significance
Poverty is a global issue that prevents an individual to enjoy the same things as others. We being privilege are spoiled and are unaware of how others suffer. This event was a chance for us to give back to them, which were able to for free of cost. And in return, we received smiles and happiness that was worth more than anything. It was a memorable day.
L7. Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
We were always around children who were younger than us and they always looked at us whenever they needed us. So, we needed to maintain a positive atmosphere at all times and behave in a good way. They learned from us. Also, we have to make activities in a way that made the children learn something and made them happy too. Even when we were around the kids, we had to make sure we taught them the right thing by using proper language and actions. Lastly, the used materials needed to be disposed which was done properly in the dustbin. We set a good example for all the students present.
Overall, this was an amazing experience. We were happy to spread happiness. It brought out the best in us.