The inquisitiveness and energy among the students in Satya Bharti Schools is always infectious. I have been visiting the schools frequently and have been a part of numerous special occasions and celebrations. During one such visits in 2019, a discussion on the idea of having storytelling sessions for the children originated. Bharti Foundation’s program team keenly devised an execution plan and initiated ‘The Art of Storytelling’ – a volunteering initiative.
The core philosophy of Satya Bharti Schools has always been focused on the holistic development of children, whilst promoting girl child education. The idea behind this initiative was also centred around facilitating overall development of the children. More than 20 volunteers from Punjab and Haryana chose over 15 Satya Bharti Schools across Rohtak, Ambala, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jammu & Chandigarh for routine visits to support the project ‘Art of Storytelling’. Individual volunteers were given the responsibility of one school each. The volunteers encouraged fellow colleagues to contribute informative and interesting story books in English-language to facilitate the project. Almost 1,200+ books were collected for the storytelling sessions.
The initiative’s first purpose was to give students access to books on varied subjects, and the second one was to help them become more confident and develop interpersonal skills. During the initial few sessions, the volunteers read and explained the stories to students. In the following sessions, the students were asked to read and narrate the stories on their own. The storytelling sessions helped the students to expand their imaginations, understand their strengths and refine their presentation skills.
Besides engaging in the storytelling sessions, the volunteers also got involved in different activities, like creation of learning material from waste, good touch-bad touch sessions, etc. Eventually, the schools saw an increased engagement as friends and family members of the existing volunteers also joined hands, which was indeed a value add over and above the purpose of the campaign.
Over 900 students and teachers participated in the sessions on regular basis. The volunteers were titled ‘Agent of Change’. With time, the initiative grew and impacted more and more lives, and the bond among the employees and students also became stronger. Regular engagement also resulted in an increased interest and sense of belongingness amongst volunteering employees, and designating volunteering employees as the ‘Agent of Change’ helped them in owning and driving the initiative in their chosen schools. As the children began to read more and more, they gained confidence, resulting to an addition to their presentation and interpersonal skills as well.
This blog is contributed by Mr. Priya Ranjan Vaid, Lead- Corporate Communications, on behalf of Bharti Airtel (Upper North).
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