Kindness Begets Kindness

Kindness Begets Kindness

  
heeranawaz@yahoo.com Heera Nawaz
Teacher, Writer, Poet and Activist

I am a 58-year-old teacher who also dabbles in writing articles, short stories, poems, songs and plays. I have been teaching for over 20 years and I love to combine teaching with writing, so I do take up creative writing classes and was the Editor of the School Magazine, where I also used to edit articles and poems from the students for the Times of India student edition. I was judged the best NIE (Newspaper in Education) Teacher Co-ordinator by The Times of India from over 250 schools in Bengaluru. I write poetry for online poetry websites and have won several national and international prizes for the same. I believe in causes, and if we can give our time and talent to underprivileged citizens, we would be giving much of what matters most in the world. "No act of kindness is ever wasted," I can vouch for that. I can be reached at heeranawaz@yahoo.com

As a child, have you ever wondered what would it be like spending 4-5 days with your buddies in nature at a summer camp? Have you thought about learning pertinent life skills through interactive fun-filled games outdoors? Life skills which can’t be gleaned from textbooks like courage and a can-do attitude and the ability to see the big picture of life?

If you have not gone to these camps as a child, you may not realise that they help children harness a carefree but holistic approach to life.

Inspired by Vishal Talreja, an Ashoka Fellow and Eisenhower Fellow who sits on the boards of Unlimited India and India Cares Foundation who believes in the inherent potential of every child, I joined the training sessions of Dream-a-Dream, a Bengaluru-based NGO, which is co-founded by Taljera. Dream-a-Dream trains professionals, mostly engineers, who want to give back to society.

For the longest time, I have felt that there are so many beautiful individuals who have been kind to me along the way. Now it’s time to repay these kindnesses. Just as how it is necessary that a professional teacher does a B.Ed. degree, in the same way, the training helped me become a good guide to children.

After the training, I decided to volunteer to be a trainer in a camp for children from marginalized background. Together with another trainee from the Dream-a-Dream session, Priya Arora, we volunteered at a camp at Honnemardu, looking after 20 children, assisted by another trainor Nomito Kamdar.

Over the four days of the camp, I came to realise that kindness begets kindness. If I helped any of the children, they would immediately repay the kindness. We trekked the hills, crossed crevices by monkey rapelling, we rode a boat at the lake, and swam in its shallows. Along the way, the children learned to enjoy carefree days of their childhood while Priya and I organized fun games to teach them about important abstract qualities, like courage, selflessness, determination, team spirit and trust.

We played a game where I told the first boy that he would be blindfolded and he, while standing straight, must fall backwards. I told him that the other children were behind and will catch him. Any wary, suspicious person would automatically rue, “Suppose they don’t catch me?” But these positive, pure-hearted children immediately responded and fell backwards, because their hearts were filled with trust.

The camp also included riding a boat to a nearby island across the lake where Priya and I organised games for the children to identify different plants and insects. The evenings were cool and pleasant while we had dinner heated at a bonfire under the stars and slept in tents we put up ourselves.

Some of the children emerged as natural leaders. I told all the children that they would all need to take turns staying awake in 30-minute slots to keep the fire going and be on guard to protect those who were asleep. One of the boys stood guard and took the slots of three girls who had trouble staying awake. The boy showed not only that he was responsible, but also generosity of heart towards the others.

As a child, I have always been grateful to have teachers who taught and encouraged me in my poetry writing, and I wanted to pay them back for their kindness. I did my bit of “paying back” at the camp where I recited my poems and quotations, which Priya then translated into Kannada. I also tried to patch up any differences and make the children aware that they are all beautiful pieces in a mosaic – one-of-a-kind different but totally awesome and unique!

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heeranawaz@yahoo.com Heera Nawaz
Teacher, Writer, Poet and Activist
I am a 58-year-old teacher who also dabbles in writing articles, short stories, poems, songs and plays. I have been teaching for over 20 years and I love to combine teaching with writing, so I do take up creative writing classes and was the Editor of the School Magazine, where I also used to edit articles and poems from the students for the Times of India student edition. I was judged the best NIE (Newspaper in Education) Teacher Co-ordinator by The Times of India from over 250 schools in Bengaluru. I write poetry for online poetry websites and have won several national and international prizes for the same. I believe in causes, and if we can give our time and talent to underprivileged citizens, we would be giving much of what matters most in the world. "No act of kindness is ever wasted," I can vouch for that. I can be reached at heeranawaz@yahoo.com