Laughter and greetings rippled through Thamarai Learning centres on Monday evening, November 23rd, as our older children and facilitation team had a heart-warming reunion. After 8 months of a voice-only connection on the daily learning phone calls, we could at last meet again at the centres and have socially distant learning activities together. The students have grown so tall and excitedly met their friends from neighbouring villages and their youth facilitators, Akash expressed how excited he was and how he had waiting for this moment for so long. The atmosphere is a little different now that we are behind masks and sit further away from one another, but we are all adapting and spirits are high.
As schools are still closed, we have the luxury of a homework-free environment where we inquire into what the students love to learn and what areas they have difficulty with, so we can assist them. Being back in Thamarai students have access to plenty of educational books, films and games, laptops, and internet connectivity but most of all each other and their big brother and sister facilitation team who serve their community by stimulating the student’s appetite to learn and in turn learn and grow themselves. The word Thamarai means lotus flower, together we aspire to unfold to our full potential.
A few days ago cyclone Nivar blew up quite a storm here but last night, November 30th, was Deepam, the festival of light, celebrated in South India. We researched together about the festival and each drew our impressions with coloured pens and pencils. Soft lights of butter lamps, brightly lit homes, festival sweets and temples emerged through the drawings. We all lit lights, placed them around our centre, ate sweet snacks and gathered in a circle to sing and acknowledge the light that is in each one.
We look forward to a light filled new cycle of learning and growing ahead. Stage 1 of our new centre (a classroom with outdoor play and sports area) will be ready by mid-January. Then we will start to put our efforts into a further two classrooms so the Annai Nagar children will have a light filled, permanent home for joyful learning in the centre of their village. We are grateful for the support we receive from people all around the world who want to make this dream come true too.