24th April 2018, Tuesday morning the course leaders and group leaders started calling to ask about my arrival since all preparations were done. In assurance all I could say was "I will reach in the time, you need not worry." When I reached the village, I saw that there was a fair atmosphere. Unlike every other day in the village, today felt a little different. People were rather excited and full of energy and cheer. Children were excited yet a little nervous to appear for the test. The course leaders and group leader kept the tables, chairs, doors, mattresses etc. in the right place. At a corner of the village, our mela was being conducted by placing five tables beside each other. All the preparations were done very well. I was very happy to see the arrangements.
Together, we set up the contents related to different types of competencies at each table. Everyone sat down at their predetermined location. Gradually mothers and kids came to the determined location of meeting. On one side, the mothers satin groups, the kids sat on the other side. Some kids were accompanied by other family members too. They too made their own space among the mothers to sit and chat.
The mela began with an introduction session where people were explained the purpose of the fair and the way forward. Knowing this, the parents and the people of the village were rather elated to see our endeavor to work with small kids. This was the first time some organization took the initiative to do something for small child. It was thrilling to see the excitement among the villagers and their support as opposed to our fear of failure. After this, a couple of videos were shown to the mothers. The parents felt our concept is different as compared to the usual style of teaching. Additionally, they stated that with the help of these videos they can read out to their kids at home too. Most of the mothers said, “Teach us also that we will teach our children and take responsibility for teaching our children.” After that the test of the children started to be conducted. Mothers and Parents began to support children's test by applauding and pushing their kids. Young children also got excited to start the test. On the one hand small children were being examined, on the other the kids who were promoted to class 9 were summoned for their departure ceremony.
The level of excitement kept rising with passage of time. The kids and their parents felt honored to be involved in such a good cause for the first time. The children of the group sang songs to greet farewell to their seniors and gave them garlands of flowers. The children moving to a higher grade shared their experience of being a part of H-Learning program. Most of them had the same things to talk about. They said they have learned about bones, blood, colors, solar system, eclipse and English. They were happy to be a part of the program and saddened that it ended so soon! They felt so connected to the tablets that they were sad that they will not be able to study from the tablet anymore. To this, they were told that they can always refer to the tablet to revise the old material and look up for new additions made.
Now, it was time for small kids. Dressed in colorful clothes, under heaps of powder smeared all over the face they came to the mela with their mothers. The existing group members welcomed them by giving flowers, garland, self-made cards and tilak. They were elated to know that they will now be a part of the program that teaches on tablet. Course Leaders and Group Leaders were assigned the responsibility to guide and support the new joining kids.
Mothers were given a Welcome kit and informed about the usage of it. CRLs for the particular area were fixed too. The entire mela was a smooth sail. In the end, parents and mothers were appreciating the effort we at Pratham put to provide education to their children. We at Team Pratham have taken an oath to help the kids daily, since that is our only motivation.
In this way, the mela was done more effectively than expected. There are about 45 houses in LakhanPur village, 6 kilometers away from the Hilloli block office in Unnao district. From this village there were 4 groups, 25 children and 15 mothers and 12 villagers present in the fair.