Dream, My Child


This is definitely the most exciting post to write.  I am about to share the drawings of some of the students from the slum school.  These drawings have become an incredible discovery, not just for me, but also for the teachers of the school, my grandparents, and other people who see them.  The powerful scope and message of what has been drawn is exactly why I believe a defeatist and skeptic attitude has no place in this world.  Indeed, this is not meant to be an overly sentimental examination, as I believe the drawings possess a rare, healthy combination of practicality and imagination.  Without further ado, here are a few of them:

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This picture is simply awesome, probably my favorite one. You have to look closely and tilt the page sideways, and you will be able to discern the religious symbols of four major religions: the Christian cross, the Hindu om, the Islamic crescent and moon, and the Sikh symbol. The girl who drew this is 15, and she wishes that people would help each other more regardless of religion and view that all religions are part of our humanity.

What I am most happy about was the enthusiasm I received from the student body.  There are 180 students total, taking both the afternoon and evening shifts, and the time I spent at the school revealed a lot to me as well.  Here is how it worked: I brought art supplies and paper to the school, and told the children that I wanted each and every one to draw me something, anything they liked.  They would have one hour and could do whatever they wanted with that hour.  They could draw for a minute, or for the whole time.  I gave each student one night to think about what he or she may want to draw.  However, each student would have to draw at the school, while I was present and hand me their drawings.

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The boy who drew this, Anil, is in Class II, and simply said he loves early mornings.

The school is extremely small, so I was able to walk around and monitor what the students were drawing.  Every few minutes or so, I would get a question like “Is it okay if we color outside the lines,” or “Do you really mean we can draw whatever we want?” to “Sir, does this look okay?”  It took a while for me to explain that I wanted to see their imaginations at work, not judge them for how good the drawing was or if the colored inside the lines.  This alone, aside from the drawings, revealed much about the psychology.  Their experiences had taught them to simply copy something already drawn out, draw it well and not ask too many questions, let they be judged harshly.  Obviously, this isn’t the treatment they receive from the teachers, but more generally how they are viewed.  As I mentioned in a previous post, these kids have always, always been judged.  Harshly.

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The title of this drawing is “child labour” and boy who drew it wanted to say that childhood is for running around, jumping up and down, playing with friends, and learning. Children should never be made to perform labor a young age. Many of the kids in the slum do have start working at early ages, not in factories, but aiding their parents in whatever way they can to bring in more money.

 

As you can see yourselves, these children are filled with ingenuity, genuine kindness, optimism, and are able to discern motives in an instant.  They are capable young people in an unfortunate environment who have the will and ability to succeed.  More importantly, I saw that they cared about each other as they drew.  They would glance at what the person next to them was drawing and offer a suggestion.

I have shown you three drawings from a total of almost 20 that will be published in a book.  I should correct that.  Hopefully, the book will be published.  I am running into some financial hurdles based on how much money I can allot from my research grant, but I remain optimistic that I can see this aspect of the project to its end.  Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing this and be sure to check back in a few days.  I will have a post on the first set of tests from the water contamination testing.

That’s all for now!  Leave plenty of comments, rate the post, or shoot me an email!

-Raamis

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Categories: Richter Fellowship | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Dream, My Child

  1. Brenda Crabtree

    Raamis! These are awesome! I plan to share them with the people at school — students and teachers alike. You must be getting tired of me telling you how very proud I am of you. :)
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Martha Starke

    Ah, so amazing. Despite the conditions they live in, the children still seem to see the positive side in their world through their very colorful drawings. The meaning behind the pictures are important to them and to us. Take care, Raamis!

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