Being Empowered and Finding Joy

21 May 2023

Being Empowered and Finding Joy

It is the journey and the not the destination that matters

For many in the group it was the first time to be away from home and be part of a community of adults from diverse backgrounds.   Like in all new journeys, it started with the feelings of apprehension, curiosity, reluctance, nervousness and eagerness.  

Theatre activities, group projects, storytelling, art and reflective exercises helped the children in drawing parallels between the activities and their personal and social lives. These engagements enabled them to create a safe place for sharing their stories, in relating with each other, inclusion, respecting diversity, in offering and receiving perspectives. Gaia meditation in the mornings was an experience most of them cherished – to be with oneself and experience the beauty and feel of nature in silence. While the reflection time was unsettling for some, many found it enriching and healing.  

The children were part of the larger group (with adults) in community sessions. The whole group sessions involved group discussions on given themes, role plays, and other experiential exercises.  These sessions helped to create a space of mutual understanding and respect for each other. It was a learning for children to humanize the adult world and understand their challenges and feelings. 

Living together independently, the children took the personal responsibility to wake up each other in the morning, clean up their own rooms, take care of each other and also reach the venue on time for sessions. They needed no reminders from adults to follow the group guidelines.

‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’

– Hellen Keller

The famous quote by Helen Keller holds a lot of wisdom, the spirit of teamwork works when we are willing to engage with the personal and interpersonal challenges we encounter in the process. The children had opportunities to work in group art projects and community service.   Taking responsibility, questioning my role in the group- observer or participant, acknowledging others presence and ideas, collaboration, being able to face rejection of one’s ideas, influencing and negotiating, holding back if needed, volunteering to switch roles, problem solving and decision making, persistence and willing to stretch …. and many more learnings emerged. There was a beautiful balance of seriousness of work and lightness of camaraderie and laughter! 

The community service brought in an important aspect - children being not only recipients but contributing as an important part of the community. 

Excerpts from the children’s’ experience of the programme

I thought it would be boring! But after the first day, I enjoyed the activities and the stay at Bhoomi. 

Before I used to hate talking about myself – because I really didn’t know. Now I am sure I have a lot to share.

I like to be told what to do. I think sometimes I can wait and sometimes I can start myself. 

I realized I am not the only one feeling like this. 

I always thought I was not a people-person. I am surprised I made so many friends -children and grownups. 

I guess I thought no one will listen to my ideas. 

We realized how much work others do on a daily basis when we did the gardening and kitchen work. Imagine doing it every day!

Living here I realized you don’t need many things to have fun!

A meaningful space for children to express freely, exercise deep listening and empathy, to believe in oneself and celebrate that I matter. 

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are -  e. e. cummings