I spent my one month fieldwork at Guwahati Street Children Project of World Vision India. The organisation focuses mainly on the development of the children who are living in the slum areas of Guwahati. The one month of my involvement with children has been a wonderful experience of both learning and personal changes.
The children who come to the drop-in centre of World Vision regularly have been a source of inspiration to me. Everyday seeing them singing, playing and studying kept me moving. As I see these children smiling everyday sometimes I feel that they are just happy and cheerful. But what lies behind these smiles were many untold stories of hunger and sufferings.
One day when I went to the community together with the volunteer to call a few of the children to come to the school since they have been away from school for quite many days, most of them were busy either washing clothes, dishes and cleaning . This was their daily work before going to school and some do not turn up because they are too caught up with the work and are late for school. These were the children who have the barest minimum of food, clothing and shelter, yet can be happy.
My involvement with the children has been mainly in teaching them and being part of their games. In the course of helping these children learn, I have come across children who are eager to learn and study and some who are not at all interested in learning. Though these children come from the same community with the same background, they have different attitudes towards learning. Till today I keep questioning myself as whether it’s true to say that the environment they stay in determines who they are and how they will be. I personally do believe from my own experiences that partially the environment does determine their behaviour and character. The community in which they are staying was always full of noise, quarrelling between families or within the family. These children sometimes do have a tendency to being aggressive, frequently fighting and quarrelling with each other over petty things. Most of the time they play games which are very violent like fighting and kicking each other. The way they are brought up has also made them tough to fight over anything difficult. One of the major challenges for me was to make these children understand to respect each other and not quarrel with each other. There were times that I had to be hard on them but as I think over the time I spent with them, I think that all that these children need is a little love, care , affection and attention. – Balawansuk A. Lynrah