A Planned visit – planetarium it was…

“There are few things that we have done in my life which makes us happy. Joining BHUMI tops that list.”
On 11th January 2015, we had an amazing time with the kids from two centers – Maduravayol & YMCA in B. M. Birla
Planetarium. The smile on kids’ faces, it made everything, all the hard work,completely worth it. It is a colossal planetarium in Chennai providing a virtual tour of the night sky and holding cosmic shows on a specially perforated hemispherical aluminium inner dome. The planetarium has assorted shows which appends the solar system, 3D animation etc. The subject matter of the programmes are changed every 3 months to escort in some variety. They
are conducted in both in Tamil and English so that people don’t find it strenuous to comprehend.
“Since we are in 10th grade, it was really helpful for us to get to know more about science and the subject related to
it. I feel happy that I could be a part of this tour,” said Madhushan, one of the kids from the Maduravayol center. The Aircraft and the vehicle prototypes were very alluring for the kids.
“The kids are amazing to be with. They were lost in their own world of joy. As a member of this family It was cock-a-hoop that I could do something to some young souls in order to bring some shine on their face said, Mr Hari a volunteer.
“I really liked the DRDO Pavilion where they showcased various models of gun, there developments, constructions etc said Gowtham who dreams to become a police officer.”
The selfies and the group picture session kept going among them. As they all were divided into a group of 4 each with a volunteer to guide them, the kids found it easy to find the way to divergent subsections and hence
comprehend whatever was projected in the planetarium. It was a indelible day for each one of us present there and we thank god who made us connect with each other in some or the other way and hence produce and spread
a lot of contentment around us. They say you don’t get to choose your family. But “they” don’t know anything. We chose our family. We chose BHUMI.

Kids’ Day out

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”—Mother Teresa
Recently something so beautiful happened in Bangalore chapter which would really suit the best for the above saying. No effort done with true heart can ever be a small one. We just began with the part of social responsibility module but we never knew it would open up such great dimensions.
Abhayashram kids took up this little initiative to make their one hour to bring happiness to someone’s life. These are two beautiful acts of love demonstrated by them:
1)First group came up with helping a poor construction girl. She was having a small bro with her too. Kids felt what they could actually do for her. Then they came up with playing basket ball with her as she might have never done that before. We then went inside the small tent of hers after playing basket ball and sat and played Chinese whisper. The Construction girl had left her studies as she had no money. Kids then have planned to make her study with them every time they come back from School. It might be a very small act of love but kids have amazed us with the sense of sensitivity and taking all steps to make that girl happy till she is with them. They told us Akka “we feel so nice to make her laugh finally”

2)Second group –These set of kids went ahead to pick up the glass pieces in the surroundings. They were so worried that it would hurt people and they wanted to help the construction people out there. So one hour these little hands without any fear went ahead to pick up these glass pieces without even caring that they would be hurt

Game changers

A session based on “I AM THE CHANGE” theme was planned for the kids at abhayasharam , Bangalore on the 11th of Jan 2015 .
The first part of the session kick started with a discussion on various social problems the intensity of the discussion went on from lighter talks like planting more trees to protest against child marriage.
The kids blew away our minds with depth of knowledge they had.
They were comments like , ” being independent is important than getting married ” to funnier comments like ” marriage is a very boring part of life “.
In the session topics such as dowry , save girl child , child abuse were stressed upon and discussed at length . At the end of the session every child in that room took an oath that they
would step up and question if they ever come across the discussed issues , as they believe in the theme I AM THE CHANGE .
The second part of the session was an activity session , where the kids we’re divided into two groups of four and were given the liberty to take up any one social issue discussed in the class and come up with an innovative board game to spread their knowledge to others.
Initially everyone in the class were taken back , they had no idea how they could implement these issues to design a game ,a bit of motivation from the volunteers side gave them that initial push they needed.
IMG-20150111-WA0003 IMG-20150111-WA0004

The first group decided to work on SAVE GIRL CHILD whereas the second group chose DOWRY. They were given one hour , chart paper , colour pencils and other stationery items for designing the game. They were instructed to make a draft copy before finalising a design , the kids for the first few minutes were lacking in ideas and wanted to give up , one of the child commented ” only scientists could invent things and they were not one ” , it was time for the
volunteers to spring back in action and motivated them to think about how much fun a game would be to play they invented rather than thinking about how difficult it was to create them .In the last 45 minutes , both the groups were busy and jotting points and designs on their rough paper . At the end of it all , both the teams had come up with two Mind blowing games .The first team who had taken up SAVE GIRL CHILD ,had designed a game on the basis of how important a director is for a movie the same way a girl child is important for a family , impressive right ?
The game was designed in a circular pattern where you had to rotate the pin and the place the pin stops is the points you get, the circle was divided into various boxes based on three messages:
the player with the most points wins the game , the winner gets a hand made thank you card with the message “THANK YOU FOR SAVING A GIRL CHILD” .The second group who had taken up DOWRY had made a game on the basis that only gifts given by parents with love are accepted and not gifts given forcefully which is titled dowry .So the game was roll the dice , they had made 28 boxes numbered , and you had to roll the dice to move your pawn to the number corresponding to the dice. If you landed on a box
stating dowry you immediately are thrown into the jail and hence are outta the game. The person who safely overcomes all dowry boxes would be declared winner . The volunteers were speechless seeing these kids design such wonderful apt games based on the theme . All the volunteers did was motivate and these kids had turned that motivation into a beautiful creative idea. At the end of it all each child had a huge smile on there face realising they were the CHANGE.
A small initiative but this can go on to make a huge difference to each child , their family and ultimately the society. The CHANGE you want to see around you starts from YOU.

Lakshya’s Day out

It was a sunday; the day of vacation… when a few guys were getting acquainted in the ride in Chennai and reached the venue in an exactly planned fashion to skip breakfast (‘coz brunch was traded for early lunch 😛 ) a few were playing antakshari in Hindi, Kannad, Tamil,and Punjabi songs on the way in Bangalore. As a team on-time after a traditional south-Indian breakfast volunteers got the energy for a paintball session; on the contrary, our all time energy packages went out fetching bats, balls, nets to start with games of cricket, Frisbee,Tennikoit, handball etc…

In Munchinbelle after paintball the ground was set for adventure with activities like tight rope walk, shaky bridge walk and Burma bridge trail in which ramalakshmi ended up proving most athletic person in the team by doing the activities twice.

The special delicacy, Pepper Chicken was enjoyed by all. To relax, volunteers got the opportunity to canoe in the big reservoir. Everything from the scenic beauty to the still water touched their soul. Occasionally guys on the other shore chilled out on the beach after fari-stastic dumb-charades in chennai, and Some of them had a dip in Rock-on style jumping from the edge into the lake in bangalore.  After that began the round of serious discussion over tea about issues like street children, it inspired the volunteers to carry on the things in bangalore but namma pasanga oru kuthaatam potu mudichaanga .Then, a journey back to home. Byju’s jokes, an integral part of the whole journey were both irritating and enjoyable at the same time. As the day came to an end, everyone had some memories from it that they would cherish for a long long time.


Mentors’ Notes

Just a note to experiment in your sessions…

This week was our first session after the ice-breakers on the module ‘social responsibility’. The children took part actively. They were enjoying in the cul-de-sac of happiness. And finally the closure was given by winnie; the kids were moved so much by it ; we collected (their individual feedbacks) what the session actually meant to them shortly written in sticky notes and gave it to her stuck on a chart (with a small note of appreciation from volunteers) which the kids presented to winnie . Briefly put this was a wonderful session with just a simple yet meaningful appreciation. {p.s. It was ashwin’s idea: instead of waiting for a caught ya card; this was an instantaneous gesture of gratitude }

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           – Santhosh, Trichy

Trust the trust in you…

The usual maduravoyal workshop session was about to be cancelled since a criminally accused was housed in that school premises and authorities have requested the session be cancelled and once we were about to move out of school premises; an inspector who happened to enter in enquired as in why we were leaving early; on learning the details he supported explaining what we are doing and he extended to take responsibility of the session and offered us a separate room to conduct the session peacefully.


The Buzz is all about Leading…

DISHA, an initiative of the MaFoi foundation, is an opportunity for children from disadvantaged background to believe in their strengths and rise beyond all odds to become grounded, educated and sensitive individuals of the society. It not only provides scholarship to the disadvantaged children but also equip them with leadership skills. Disha Leadership Programme, provides children an environment to learn,  act, and lead so that they can hone their skills, be productive and grow as concerned leaders. Disha Scholars from 8th standard onward undergo this programme till they finish their college. Recently Bhumi has partnered with DISHA to facilitate their leadership workshops for
class 11 children through its Lakshya program.

The first leadership workshop, focusing on communication and negotiation skills, was conducted on 17th Aug’14 wherein close to 45 students participated. The activity was “Junk Activity (Market Based)”,  where children negotiate to buy junks from the market and design a product based on creativity. The planning was very efficient right from the start and it was executed better than expected with minor tweaks. The major success was including the market concept in clear and precise manner which was executed perfectly. Though the activity was the same junk activity which was done every year, the additions such as including a stable market with a seller who negotiates his items (junk) based on demand and other small tweaks such as round robin fashion with multiple rounds for different teams to get their items with virtual money and at the same time having equal chance to get what they require has taken this activity to a whole new level.

Since they were 11th class children they were able to understand the concept quite easily and were very open to learn and talk with the volunteers which made the activity even better. The negotiation part of the activity was very neatly done between the children and the volunteer who acted as the seller in the market. Children were highly enthusiastic and creative in designing, while being shrewd and efficient in the negotiation part with the seller. It would have been even better if there was a way to promote negotiation between teams during execution. The only negative aspect was the time to execute this activity as it took longer than expected. Ideas such as explaining the activity stage by stage and showing the children a video on negotiation at the end of the activity were well received and it made the process smoother. Volunteers from DISHA were helpful and efficient in handling the children. They were very happy at the end result of the negotiation activity.

Three more leadership workshops have been planned in the months of Oct’14, Jan’15 and Feb’15 covering various other skills of leadership. We believe this partnership will help Bhumi-Lakshya in strengthening their abilities in conducting programs for higher grade children.


Sharing a Dream…

Sacrificed a Dream for many dreams…
We sleep normally with dreams; here we volunteers sacrificed our one day’s dream (sleep) to fulfil the dreams of many because it is “Nakshatra”. This is the third nakshatra for Trichy and it got bigger with 20+ homes, 800+ kids and 200+ volunteers. But this is my first nakshatra, the main thing that inspired me of all the great things here were that of the judges were students from one of the best colleges around. Breaking the convention of very high profile judges who usually show-off and most of them normally don’t talk


Winners of Nakshatra 2014 Chennai- Sevalaya Team Receiving the Trophy From Ayyanar. Dr.Prahalathan, Vaishnavi, and Ganapathy are also seen

Continue reading

Cracking the show open – Sivakasi

              The session started a little late at around 10:15 since students from nearby towns, villages had to come all the way by bus (fare provided by udhavum ullangal). Initially there was a prayer song after which there was short discussion on importance of studies and mentoring from the perspective of udhavum ullangal which was academic centric and they brought out previous student experiences where students have scored high marks with their help. Then it was Bhumi’s turn to work on some activities to play with the children and have some learning part along with fun.
DSC_2209Continue reading