First ALHF Empowerment Summer School 2012

In the last few years of our association with the Sikligars, one realization that has dawned upon through interaction and experience is that the Sikligars need constant association, care and support.

The way they live in their slum-like habitats, with nearly all neighbours as relatives jumping into each others’ lives, it is well nigh difficult for those children who become serious about studies to continue their exploration. The entire atmosphere is daunting and difficult -lack of basic sanitation, power, minimal furniture of a table and a chair, smoke bellowing out of the make-shift kitchen and parents though at desiring that their children study but always thinking that the male child is an extra pair of hands for more earning and the female child has to be married off, even at an age lesser than that fixed as the minimum marriageable age.

The summer vacation of nearly two months is a period for children to go astray. Whatever is learnt with great difficulty during the whole academic year is forgotten and thrown to the winds.

With this background, in consultation with our counselors, academicians, associates and supporters, it was decided to hold the First ALHF Summer School in New Delhi.

The First ALHF Summer School went underway at the Guru Granth Sahib Vidya Kendra with the full support of the Kendra and the Abacus Champs Academy, New Delhi. 15 young students from various parts of the country participated in the camp for two months and emerged as young adults focused to achieve not only personal goals but also change the face of their community.

The Summer camp was meant to redesign their living style and empower them with skill-sets for studies and prepare them with life-skills.

All the children acquired the routine of “Early to bed, early to rise” with a little difficulty in the beginning but soon got used to it. One of the major achievements was a drastic improvement in their Hindi handwriting skills, which they learnt at the Abacus Champs Academy. Ravinder Kaur and her staff loved the children and they loved the art pretty soon.

The children were overjoyed travelling on the Delhi Metro from one place to another and particularly their daily ride to the Abacus Champs Academy. It was an unforgettable experience to view and English movie and that too in 3D. At the Qutab Minar and India Gate, the children just could believe their eyes. The visit to the Historical Gurdwaras added the much-needed pilgrimage touch to the Summer School activities.

The transformation of the children with their turbans was a remarkable achievement brought about our counselors and young students of the Guru Granth Sahib Vidya Kendra.

One of the great things that the children learnt was sharing –games, soap, sharing time to wash clothes, serving in the kitchen, sharing while playing outdoor games particularly the martial art of Gatka.

Children cannot forget the loving manner in which they were checked for their fundamental health status by Dr. Jaspal Singh and the food festival in the house of our associate Manjit Singh.

To empower the children and to make the children happy, each child was given gifts at the end of the camp. 3 Dictionaries, a wall clock, wrist watch, a thermos-type water bottle, a back-pack bag, T-Shirts and compass boxes.

A Little Happiness Foundation feels happy that this was perhaps the first successful experiment to bring out Sikligar children from their habitat and put them in a place for overall transformation and empowerment. We know, now it is time to do more than this. God willing, we will.