When I stepped in the school’s premises for the first time , I found the kids playing on a concrete surface, which is not suitable for playing any game. The school looked like a mess; kids were screaming, playing and fighting with each other. As the assembly drums started beating all of them got into queues for the prayer. After the assembly I met Ankita Gupta (second year TFI fellow) and discussed about the session. As we entered the class I received a very loud “GOOD MORNING”, a bunch of around 40 primary kids welcomed me as I gave my introduction and told them that I am from KKMF. All of them got super excited and started chatting amongst themselves.
I started the discussion with them and it was all going smooth for me till I ask them “Who all wants to play”? And as per my expectation all of them raised their hands, some of them were so eager and anxious to play that they even popped out of their seats. I instantly found a dull and uninterested face hiding behind the group. I smiled at him but he ignored me and continued with his work. I was confused and started thinking why is this kid not even looking at me? So I looked at him and politely asked him “Will you play with me?” He looked at me innocently and nodded his head for a firm ‘NO’. To my surprise, I was not able to digest it and I was about to question him further but Ankita gave me a look and I stopped.
I came out with all the kids but mentally I was in that class room only. I started my session with other kids and all of them were busy in warm up but my eyes were searching for that one child. So I went to Ankita and asked her why she stopped me. She replied “He has some problems in his legs and he won’t be able to play”. I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t do anything and continued with my session.
But his face kept flashing across my mind while I was taking the session. I decided to step back into the classroom and I saw him on his desk, writing something. I had no idea about what am I was going to do. I slowly took a seat beside him and looked at him, he looked back at me and I smiled. I tried starting a conversation by introducing myself again. This time he seemed comfortable and I asked him “what is your name”? , he replied “Satyam” and we shook hands. I got confident and starting discussing about sports. While having a chat with him, I got a hint that he feels demoralized, demotivated and undermines his capabilities, because of which he feels embarrassed in going out to play. For now my objective was clear to get him out in the playing area. I requested Satyam, “Will you help me today?” Satyam inquired –“How can I help you?”.
I replied, “You can, you know these kids are very naughty! I need a referee to help me”. His eyes glittered and he stood up from his seat and said “Let’s go!”. We came out and while coming out he held my hand to support himself as he has twisted legs. I was really happy and relaxed because at least he is coming out to playing area. Since that day he has helped me in all my sessions. Satyam is extremely observant in understanding values and notices everything about the teams. He provides his inputs and suggestions to the team, which the team looks forward to.
One day when I reached the school a little early and the kids were warming up and I noticed Satyam was doing few stretching exercises. I immediately averted my eyes as I knew he might stop him if he knew I was watching, but my entire concentration was on him. He completed his warm up and started playing football. He looked overjoyed, and I captured and treasured that moment, as this is something I had been waiting so long for.
Previously Satyam never used to practice or engage in any outdoor activities. He just used to sit in the class and read. Ankita, his fellow had even stated that pushing him to attend assembly was a task. After few discussions with Ankita, I got know that now is not embarrassed and plays with other kids and because of which he is more confident in the class and amongst his friend circle.
The sports curriculum of KKMF is in such a way that the activities make kids learn different skills while they enjoy playing. KKMF helped Satyam to believe in himself and also helped him to become self aware of his capabilities to overcome his shortcomings. He has become more participative in class, helps his classmates in sports and plays too!
In my last discussion with him we spoke about Paralympics and he was happy to hear about that concept as this is something not known to him and he seemed more confident and interested in the possibility sports holds for him after watching few paralympic videos with me.