A month back,Archana Rao,a volunteer teacher at the NGO Akansha,stumbled upon the idea of taking her students on a flight to the ISB Campus,her alma mater,in Hyderabad. However,she stated an ambitious goal for her students – 100 per cent marks in weekly assessments in Social Studies and English the subjects she taught at the school. Besides this,she also added another condition for the dream trip. I explained to my students that they must show excellent moral character,which can be anything from helping another classmate with homework,to sharing their stationery,to get a head in the competition for the trip to Hyderabad. What they learn in this classroom through this exercise will also teach them to fight for their dreams in the real world, she adds.
At the end of the this six week long activity,seven top performers were taken by Rao to the ISB Campus by flight. “At first the kids didnt know squat about what ISB was. They were least bothered about getting a new pencil from me if they topped in the weekly exam,leave alone being excited about ISB. However,I got their attention when I showed them pictures of the school on the internet, says Rao.
So the day marks were declared,she says,she saw hoards of students gathering near the display board to check their scores. I heard conversations like,’I am going to study harder this week to get that 100 per cent’ and ‘We have to get 100 per cent otherwise didi will not take us to Hyderabad’, says Rao,adding that she was happy the way the kids spearheaded for their goal.
Talking about the kids’ experience on their first flight and travelling to a new city,she says,These children had never been out of Pune. They were very fascinated when the flight took off,infact they even asked me if they would see God between the clouds. They were filled with questions and did not rest till I answered every one of them. She added,the trip was also a lesson on being independent. They took care of themselves and also each other, she adds.
In Hyderabad,the kids were taken to play ‘Ultimate Frisbee’,a game popular in the city,after which they had a wholesome lunch and then set off for a little party in the evening on Saturday. The ISB team organised a tour around the campus which included a special dance class and a surprise lunch for them on Sunday. The children along with Rao boarded a train from Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon. I had a wonderful time. I studied very hard for this trip,and I’m glad I made it. The ISB campus is a dream that we have now and we know if we work hard,we can achieve it, says 8-year-old Sayaji Bolare.