Something I’ve noticed during my time here in India so far, specifically in the school for the blind and the deaf and the government school, is the tremendous joy and happiness that the Children showed. For example at the School for the blind and deaf. When first introducing myself tp the deaf children I tried my best to do so through sign-language; despite clearly not being very good at the sign, they never showed any signs of frustration or impatience towards me. They simply smiled from ear to ear and continued to try and get to know me through other methods like writing on paper or lip reading. Another example was when we were playing basketball in the courtyard with the children at the school for the blind and deaf. Baring in mind that these children had no shoes to wear and partially disabled because of their hearing, each and every one of the children who played with us did so with a glint in their eye and a spring in their step which I will remember for an extremely long time. My final example is from the government school. The children at the school are likely to come from very difficult living conditions and families with very little money. Nevertheless, these children were some of the most excited and playful souls that I have ever come into contact with. We asked them to teach us a phonics song that they all knew, so as one big group, we stood in a circle and they sung the song at the the very top of their voices with smiles from ear to ear across each and every one of their faces.
How is it that these children have the ability to express such joy and happiness, despite the harsh realities of the home they left to come to school that day? Why is it that they have the ability to get through the day with no complaints with regard to their individual situations, but children back home seem to moan at the most insignificant of things. These children are simply happy for the chance to learn and be educated at the very grassroots level and therefore come to school with a sense of focus and joy which radiates from every single one of them. This breaks my heart because despite this willingness to learn and progress through the education system. The odds are stacked against them to even make it through to graduation because of the inherent obstacles that they will inevitably face as they grow up. Although they are seemingly just as intelligent and have just as much potential as any child of the same age back at home, they simply do not have the same chances of ‘making it’, due to their circumstances.
In reflection, this makes me feel very uncomfortable for a few reasons, when talking to the children in the class that I was assigned to, they each told me what they hoped to be when they were older. These ambitions ranged from being a Doctor to an Engineer to a Policeman. They each showed a similar innocence to the rest of the world which I remember feeling when I was their age, with dreams of one day going to the United States to play Basketball and achieve an education. Through the opportunities that I was presented with and a certain amount of luck along the way, in some ways I am part of the way there to achieving my dream. The thing which saddens me the most and fills me with a certain amount of blind guilt is the fact that those joyful, energetic and inspiring children that I met yesterday are, due to where they happen to be born and raised, unlikely to be able to achieve their own dreams.
- Danny E.