Greetings LitWorld Family! I'm writing to share our wonderful day of training with the Bal Dosts (teachers and LitClub leaders).
The training is being held at St. Xavier College, which feels almost like an oasis -- green, clean, and quiet -- hidden away in frenetic Ahmedabad. We began the day getting to know the six magnificent Bal Dosts through community building activities and songs. The women subtly altered a few lyrics in Tuwe Tuwe (Juwe Juwe) to create meaning in Gujarati. The lyrics now suggest looking for something out of a window.
Following our morning meeting, we launched into the LitCamp training, beginning with an overview of LitWorld's work, the LitClub structure, and then moving into the nitty gritty of LitCamp.
In a wonderfully serendipitous way, we did a 30-minute picture walk through "Journey," by Aaron Becker, which the women feel madly in love with. They were eager to answer questions and eventually took over and began narrating every page. They screamed with delight when they accurately predicted the outcome of the story (no spoilers here!). I was so thrilled to hear the good news that "Journey" was honored with a Caldecott Medal this morning.
Throughout the entire day, I was amazing at how engaged the women remained. Every time we taught them a song or a game, they wanted to teach us one of their songs and games in return. For eight hours they joyfully sang, played, and created with us. Through the activities we have been getting to know the women, where they have come from and why they are passionate about the work -- children are deserving of joy, giving back to the communities from where they've come, fighting for equal rights for girl children, etc.
I must also say a word about Meera, the founder and director of the Kadam Education Initiative. She is a powerhouse! Inspiring at every turn, she is always ready to jump into the center of a song circle (as demonstrated by a donkey-themed round of "Boom-Chicka-Boom"), offer specific and caring praise to her Bal Dosts, and explain the delicate details of the community's circumstance.
Following training, Meera and her daughter, Sagadee (a senior in high school), took us to the Law Garden Night Market, where we bought several beautiful items for our Gala auction.
We are looking forward to an inspiring second day of training tomorrow!
Leah and Yaya