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  • Writer's pictureAagaaz Theatre

A mind-washing experience By Himani Haswani

Himani, our extremely committed & artistic volunteer, came to know about Aagaaz through iVolunteer and has been an important part of Unlearning Uncentred since the very first day that we started meeting the children in Khirki. Himani shares here with us her reflections on the experience in designing and facilitating Unlearning Uncentred and her forever evolving relationship with the children!

Initially, when I met the children, I had just heard about them dubbed as “The Tonga-walas”.  So the comparison here starts with identity being the first factor of comparison between me and the children. My perception of the children’s identity changed as time passed by and we built our relationships as their fellow playmates. On the other side, my identity experienced a change too. Earlier, I was just Himani, a distant facilitator trying to form a relationship with the children. Now, when I see the children looking for me or playing with me, I get a sense of acceptance from them as if I am one of them.

Being a facilitator at Aagaaz, I have seen multiple aspects of my character change as well as the children’s. And I’d like to share those here!

The way I used to think earlier about a session or lesson plans was based on pure imagination and anticipation without any sense of reality. There was a false sense of certainty about the execution of everything exactly as planned in mind. But with enough experience now, I’ve learnt multiple valuable lessons like making plans in accordance with energy levels of the children, etc.  I hope to incorporate all of them while executing our sessions plans. Session planning and execution require a lot of work and thought than what I had expected. With constant experience, I’m able to develop my skills and approach, and look at the whole undertaking in a new, informed light.

There’s an evident transformation in my approach in terms of my actions, reactions and perspective. I have started using the loudness feature of my voice, which reflects my newfound confidence to articulate my thoughts more comprehensively. I have also learnt about the subjectivity in relation to what’s wrong and what’s right. We all are different, a common realisation that has been amplified in my experience. There is a positive change in the children’s behaviour too for they seem to call the shots for their own learning when we leave them free to explore. ‘Activities’ have a new meaning in their lives now. Boundless experimentation, learning and development are achievable, it seems.

On a whole, I have experienced a lot of good mind-washing and have enjoyed it thoroughly. 🙂

Without Himani with us at Unlearning Uncentred, there wouldn’t have been a lot of activities and motivation that eventually came our way during all these months!

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