A glimpse behind-the-scenes of the transformation of the Brindavan Tent School.
When we began our Volunesia sessions at the Brindavan Tent School, we weren’t entirely sure of the response we would receive from our volunteers. It was a big change from our usual gorgeous settings in Cubbon Park. The school is a small two-room space, which was barely sufficient for the 45 kids who sat in it daily – how would our volunteers react? Would Volunesia continue to be a success?
We decided to have faith in our community of Volunesians and give it a shot. Our logic was that if even a few volunteers signed up – the kids would be delighted and would have a chance to experience something new. We had no idea what would emerge out of this location change. And looking back, I have to acknowledge that while we had dreamt of this, we weren’t sure it would become a reality!
What We Had To Tackle
After spending some time at the school, we knew there were some cosmetic changes that had to be made. Firstly, the school had to be completely repainted. The walls, though sturdy, were dingy and hadn’t been well-maintained. They were painted a faint green that somehow made the rooms look even smaller. The kids never complained, but we knew that a brighter learning environment would be beneficial for them.
Next, we realised that the floors had to be completely redone. The school had very uneven flooring thanks to years of use. The concrete was cracked, and in some places, there were even small holes in the floor. The kids regularly cut their feet on it, and often fell and hurt themselves. Because the rooms were small and had tiny windows, the dark walls and bad flooring were a hazardous combination that we knew we had to tackle.
A Brand New Coat
Though we had these ideas in mind, even we were surprised at how quickly everything fell into place! It started a few weeks ago, when one of our most dedicated volunteers, Preeti, told us that she was interested in crowdfunding some of the changes at the school. She has been the driving force behind sponsoring many of the kids, and we had no doubts that something would come out of her hard work. But we had no idea how much!
Preeti managed to get together the funds required to paint the entire school. And her actions seemed to set off a chain reaction! Almost immediately after that, we met some truly special people during one of our Volunesia events.
Sumathi and Raju both belong to a group called The Satsang Foundation. The group does a lot of amazing work including organising medical camps for underprivileged kids. They had heard about the school and wanted to help out. I can’t tell you how surprised and elated we were – it felt like all the pieces of the puzzle (that had seemed too complex to conquer) were coming together. Their group agreed to redo the flooring of the school – not only for the classrooms but for the small bathroom as well.
While we were sorting through the costs and making plans to paint the school, we had another unexpected but very welcome offer – Tharanath, the man behind Bangalore’s Seva Cafe, wanted to pitch in too. He and his dedicated team of Seva-Cafe volunteers were willing to devote their energies to making the school a more beautiful place!
Many Hands Make Light Work
To say we’re overwhelmed by the responses to our little school is an understatement. We always say that our currency is not money but good wishes and kind actions. Today, we feel like we’re millionaires!
The best part? We didn’t even need to be there! The KYS Team had been given a lovely opportunity to visit Manipal and participate in the Manipal Seva Mela. We were initially a bit hesitant to leave the school in other’s hands (it’s our baby!) without any of us around, but we decided to expand our idea of “US”, and lo and behold, we witnessed magic over the weekend!
Throughout the weekend we were glued to our phones whenever we got a chance, gasping over picture after picture. Our ugly duckling was transforming in front of our eyes (or screens!). Over the weekend, the exterior walls of the school had been completely cleaned and repainted. They also started the arduous process of repainting the rooms inside.
While the painting was going on, another fantastic change was occurring – the floors were being redone. We were wide-eyed and unbelievably happy to see beautiful tiled floors that the kids could sit and run around on without hurting themselves.
With A Little Help
What we’ve realised over this weekend is that the real change – the true metamorphosis – has been in the strong connections we’ve built. Three very different but equally important forces joined hands to change these kids’ lives. We merely introduced them – we can’t take credit for how this all unfolded.
The Volunesia community is alive and well and creating more and more beautiful things by the day! We couldn’t be more grateful and happy to be a part of something so special.
Enjoyed reading about this? Then you might like to read Happy Launch Of Passion To Profession Tool At Manipal Seva Mela.