This write up appeared in the college magazine in 2005. This is the workshop that sowed the seeds for the new Pudiyador at Urappakkam which is now a little less than 5 years old!
Final year, Mechanical
What would fifty children be doing on a weekend? Play, have fun and enjoy themselves? Two more words Teach and Learn, which are seemingly incongruous to the situation, added to the above, was what made the workshop, organized by the Social Service Cell of our college, a grand success.
*Pudhiyadhor* is an organization situated at Ramapuram. This organization nurtures the children of the nearby slums by exposing them to a plethora of activities. Art, crafts, dance, music, yoga, karate and what not! Good Life Centre, at Tambaram, houses orphaned as well as mentally challenged children. The centre cares for 72 children, of whom 40 are challenged. The Social Service Cell of our college, recharged and rejuvenated this year, is a bunch of enthusiastic and dedicated students. It was during one of our meetings, where all members put on their thinking caps, that it was decided that we could act as a bridge between Pudhiyadhor and Good Life Centre. The idea of a workshop emerged and it was decided that it would be a two-day affair where the kids from Pudhiyadhor would share their knowledge of the various forms of art and craft with the kids from Good Life.
A question that was frequently posed to our team was, *Of what use is this workshop, where you plan to share a bit of art and a bit of craft, going to be?* We answered that we intended to give the kids *A whole new experience* - An experience that the children from Good Life Centre had never had the opportunity to be a part of ever before; An experience that the children of Pudhiyadhor had always been waiting for, *Each one teach one, Each one Reach one* being the motto that they were growing on. Little did we realize then, that during the two days, it would also be us, who would learn a lot.
Planning started well ahead and it was decided way back in October, that the dates would be the 8th and 9th of January 2005. The activity of the cell reached a frenzied pace during the final week, when all plans had to be finalized and timings confirmed.
Then the D-day arrived. No formal procedures being involved, the ice-breaking session, intended to create a bonding between the two sets of children, was a instant hit and work started off in a jiffy. After a bit of play, the children (and those of us who were artistic or just plain curious) learned to make a beautiful garland of beads. Before lunch another creation of the kids was getting ready. This time it was a lovely golden tree made with the simplest of materials.
The Principal came in the afternoon and spoke to the kids and presented the first book of the library that the social service cell proposed to set up at Good Life center, to a volunteer from Good Life. He also announced that we would be presenting Pudhiyadhor with a DVD player. As the day came to a close the list of things that the kids taught and learned included the garland, a golden tree, 2 little songs, miniature flower-pots and a pen-stand.
Day two started off with great gusto. Three events that started simultaneously were marble painting, making of greeting cards, and paperweights. A bowl of water was taken and a few drops of kerosene poured into this. Drops of paints were then put on the water and mixed carefully. Each kid then floated his/her card on the colored water and lifted it up within seconds. The result was a marble like effect on the card and a successive bright smile on the kid's face. Our college students too were trying their hand at this, with immense pride, by mixing the colors in different proportions so as to get the weirdest effect of all.
Many of us thought that piles of stones used for construction were fit for only that purpose but it wasn't to be. And in matter of an hour, the stones were glittering paper weights. *There wouldn't have been a better way to spend my week-end*, said a volunteer, during the transformation. With brushless painting the kids' imagination crossed all barriers in making a greeting card. When the kids finished with this, they went into another room and had loads of fun singing and dancing to their own tunes.
Later in the day, the founder of Pudhiyadhor, Mr.Narayanan, came and spoke to our team about his reasons for starting Pudhiydhor and told us his views about the whole event. We were filled with pride when he told us that we were the first college to conduct a workshop like this and that we were capable of doing many more meaningful things. He spoke about the country's plight and what we, as students, could do to make it a better place. As his talk ended, Mr.Baskaran, the secretary of Good Life joined us.
The finale was a one and a half hour entertainment session. A Half hour performance by each of the participating groups: Pudhiyadhor, Good Life and us. This over, mementoes were shared. The two-day event had come to a close and it dawned on us that it was a bigger success than we had imagined. The concept *Each one Teach one*, was the focal point around which everything revolved for the two days. We learned a lot from the event and do intend to put to use, what we have learned. The commitment of our team and the sustained efforts that needs to be and will be put in will take the Social Service Cell places, and the members to a higher plane than ever before.