These days they are showing a mini series on Picasso on National Geographic. Each time I settle down to watch the weekly episode, I am reminded of a conversation Edna had with one of the coordinators at the Granny Cloud centre at Diksha about a session in November 2017.
Every centre is unique. The children are different, the resources available at the centre at different, the coordinator’s capacities and competencies are different. Some centres nestle in the midst of a throbbing urban area, others are situated in the remotest of locations and just reaching them physically is a special kind of challenge. Some centres have well established funding, others struggle to stay alive on a month to month basis. Some operate using the regional language, others have a head start in communicating with the Grannies – English being the medium of their instruction at school.
But then there are the similarities. And the biggest being that ALL children need Grannies! They need these warm, encouraging folks in their life to enable them to feel a sense of self-worth, to gently challenge conclusions they arrive at in the course of a search, to throw open for them the doors to the world outside, to sow in them the seeds of future possibilities; to bring home to them their role in their communities; to give them that moment (and more) of sheer delight and fun.
With the very limited capacities of a small volunteer band, The Granny Cloud is always (sometimes overtly, sometimes silently) questioning where best to use our limited resources. And it remains a tussle. Knowing that we can’t reach even the tiniest fraction of children who need us…. It is painful. And so with what logic do we spend our meagre resources on centres and children that have at least the basics?
Every so often, we consider pulling out of a centre so we can focus and divert our Grannies to a centre that needs them even more. And every so often we stop and reconsider because it doesn’t end there. The impact of the interaction between Grannies and children often goes well beyond the sessions and Grannies are thrilled when this is shared by the coordinators. Here’s a brief excerpt from Edna’s comment when Monika shared what the children got up to after the session – “This made my day! AFTER our session chatting about art and famous artists, the Grade 9/10s at Diksha spontaneously searching for more…
Children exploring Artists and their work [Photo Courtesy: Monika/Edna]
It’s one thing to have fun in the session but it adds a dimension to know what happens after it’s over.”
One week later – the session continued to impact: A child’s version of a famous painting [Photo Courtesy: Monika/Edna]
As Monika said to Edna – “Who will talk to my children about Picasso?”
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