· Hope Torch engages with and how

·        
INTRODUCTION

Today
the method of teaching and learning creativity has become very important in the
field of educating children as it leads to the advancement of the knowledge
society. My Context Based Learning was placed at ‘Hope Torch’ by SAIACS in the
month of July 2017. Hope Torch is basically a non-profit non-governmental
organization that helps children of the orphanage believe in themselves and
help them realize their own self worth by creative teaching and learning
method. My experience of CBL through Hope Torch organization have helped me
understood how to carry out our mission through creative teaching and the
activities that we conduct.

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In
this paper, I will look into different programs that Hope Torch engages with
and how these creative teaching methods implemented in Hope Torch have helped
in mission.

·        
UNDERSTANDING
MISSION THROUGH ORGANIZATIONS WORKING WITH ORPHANAGES

We
all know that orphanage is a home that gives shelter to the homeless children
around the world when they are abandoned or when their biological parents fail
to take care of them due to poverty with no income that they could not provide
food, housing and also when both parents are deceased with no one left to take
care of. It is a place where we find children of different age groups; some are
sent or left into an orphanage right after their birth while some are sent
later due to economic hardships as parents are unable to provide enough for
their families that they choose to have their children live in orphanage so
that they can have their everyday needs. They are not being taught or taken
proper care by their biological parents and except for few the majority never
gets to see or hear from their parents ever again. Therefore, I personally do think
that doing mission in an orphanage is definitely a good idea and a better way
to approach and reach out the gospel to the children and help them experience
God’s love. It is one of the good platforms for them and for us where
individual relationship can be build with the young children and have input in
their lives.

·        
UNDERSTANDING
MISSION THROUGH HOPE TORCH

Hope
Torch is an organization that helps in running the programs which integrates
school syllabus with creative learning methods. They help children of the
orphanage to believe in themselves and help them realize their own self worth
through creative teaching and learning method. Apart from the usual way of
teaching and learning, Hope Torch gives opportunity where we could creatively
teach our children and mould them. When it comes to study or anything related
to classroom courses most children are usually less active and uninterested but
when it has to do with learning through activities or anything related to
creative task, most children become even more excited and thrilled. Therefore
Hope Torch gives a good platform where we could reach out to children through
creative teaching and learning method.

·        
BACKGROUND
OF THE ORGANIZATION

Arun Durairaj was the
founder of Hope Torch. The program was introduced in the year 2012 at
children’s home in Chennai in the month of July but officially it was recorded
in Jan 2014. There are three different programs that Hope Torch works with, 1)
Academic programs 2) Health programs 3) Socio-relational programs

Under academic, we have
programs like, advance coaching, spoken English, word frames, clear the board,
mathletic and ignite. Under health, we have, health assessment and inside out.
Under socio-relational, we have, buddy chat, hidden treasure and beyond word.

Some of the programs
which we interns had engaged with for the past five months are

1.     
Advance
coaching:

This program is
designed in such a way that it amends children’s way of learning and different
learning skills and methods. It trains them to keep the school syllabus
running, by conducting weekly tests, keeping homework journals where students
keeps record of what they have learned at school that day. This program is
carried out during the whole academic year.1

I was given in charge
to take care of this program at the ‘Refuge Home’ for three months taking care
of 15 girls of standard 4-8. I carried out this program by conducting weekly
test from their school syllabus and what they have been taught in the class
that very week. During my three months intern at ‘refuge home’ I was amazed to
see my children improve in their ways of learning and the way they keep track
of whatever  they have been taught and
learned in class  every week.

2.     
Word
frames:

Word frames is a
program designed for children to formulate the classroom lessons that they had
learned by bringing out the message that is related to the real world in the
form of art using different key words. Three criterions required for
appropriate word frames are:

First, the selected
image should be in connection to the topic that the student had been taught in
classroom that week but the image selected should not be taken out from their
books. For example, the child might draw a sun for the topic ‘photosynthesis’.
Second, the image should be colored by using 3-6 keywords of which is connected
to the lesson learned in classroom. Third, the outline image should contain one
or two blocks of text having or conveying the idea of the child and also “some
key points from the content”.2

Minu the program admin
and I am glad to have been a part of this and to take care of this program. It
was overall a great experience getting to work together seeing our children’s
creative works and their ability to express themselves. We divided the children
into groups of 5 and  scored them according
to their presentations. After which the team with the highest score was rewarded.

3.     
Clear
the boards:

This program is
designed for the students preparing for their board exams. The main aim of this
program is to help them prepare for their board exams by conducting a short
course where the students were trained on how to use their time wisely and
present their paper tidily. It gives them tips on how they should prepare for
their exam.3

For this program as
well, myself and one friend mine got the opportunity to help the program admin
in arranging question papers for different subjects like mathematics, science
and social-science to help students prepare for their finals. Being a student
ourselves, this has been a tough work that consumes a lot time and energy,
nevertheless I am glad that we were not just helping them but have helped ourselves
a lot in preparing for our future ministry in many ways.

4.     
Mathletic:

This program is
designed in such a way that helps the children to master their basic mathematic
skill by conducting various speed tests like addition, subtraction,
multiplication, division, fractions, etc. that wraps up the “basic math
skills”. The time limit for each text is three minutes and the children must
score 100% in order to clear the test. The child repeats if he/she fails.4

This is one of the most
interesting program that I have loved and enjoyed and have been thinking and
wishing how good it would be if we can conduct this type of programs back home
too. We have seen a great change in our children on how this program has helped
them improve their basics in math and also increased their speed in
calculation. It is a great joy seeing them grow more and more each passing day.

5.     
Inside
out:

This program is
designed to identify the problems and difficulties that the child faces and to
ease their pain and any mental hindrances. This program runs throughout the
year for every child.5

This program helped me
to get even closer with the kids, got to know about their distress and
hardships and the pain they endure thus far. These very heart wrenching
programs taught me a lot about them and has helped me reach out to children
with Gospel.

6.     
Hidden
treasure:

This program is
structured in such a way that helps children to realize and express themselves
and “the world around them through art and craft”. This method lets children of
different places and cultures enjoy sharing their talents and creative works.
It helps them grow in the areas like, building a good relationship,
communication skills, getting to know different cultures and people, realizing
self-worth, child’s creativity and fine Motor skills.6
This project is done in groups of 8-10.This program is basically intended to
build up logic idea in their minds that “the sum is greater than its parts”. To
put it differently, the kids works as a team in unity that helps them achieve
in their works which seems impossible for an individual to do so. It is to help
them realize the importance of teamwork, structuring their work in bringing out
the sole idea or skills in their project working as a team.7

 

 

·        
BACKGROUND
OF THE CHILDREN

Since the children are
brought up in an environment where they had experienced no teachings of their
biological parents, some children tend to have a behavioral problem. Whenever
they are broken up into groups they always argue and fight for the smart team
player to be a member in their group. They are all against the weak students as
it would affect their team score and that they may miss the opportunity to grabthe
reward that awaitsif their team score happens to be less. As most of the children
did not get proper education at their early age due to the environment and
background they have been brought up and also due to limited educational
resources available therefore some children findsdifficult with English
language and finds kannada more comfortable. Some children are smart, sharpand
academically higher than others whereas some are slow and need to work double
the normal student. It is our responsibility to help them realize their
potential that every children have their own unique skills and remind them that
each and every single one of them is equally capable. So astounded to see the
level of enthusiasm children cultivate and despite of all the differences and
difficulties they love and choose Hope Torch and are so interested about being
creative in their own way.

·        
MISSION
THROUGH CREATVE TEACHINGS IMPLEMENTED IN HOPE TORCH ORGANIZATION

(a)  
DIY
activities

(i)    
Making
bookmarks

Here,
each and every individual were given  some Bible verses  and a colored papers and pens where they were
allowed to pick up their favorite Bible verses so that they could utilize their
talent and  creatively write it on the
paper and after the completion of work, every bookmarks which they made were
given to them. This is one creative way of how we can help them realize their
talent and potential and can reach out the gospel to Children through the word
of God.

(ii)  
Writing
down the lists of things that they are grateful for

We
also asked the children to write the things that they are grateful for on a
colored paper. We provided them colored page markers, colored pens and glitters
and other necessary kits for them to make it creatively. Some wrote about how
grateful they are for their friend and teachers, some drew a house to convey
their gratefulness to God for the houses that they live in, some were thankful
for the food and their life etc. We conducted this activity so they may come to
know more of Him and about how much God loves them and has provided them with
their everyday needs.

(iii)  Posters

Some
Bible verses and quotes of inspiration and motivations were printed out in an
A4 size paper and the children’s were told to decorate it themselves and paste
them on their walls. They were all so very excited, full of energy and did the
activity with great enthusiasm. This activity was conducted so that they may be
reminded of who our Lord Jesus is and also that they get encouragement and
motivation every time they look at those quotes.

(b)  
Pleasure,
Entertainment and Food

(i)    
Outing
(love, caring and experiencing the love of God)

The team with the highest score is
rewarded at the end. We take the team out to wherever they wish to go. Last
year we took them to ‘Keol’s pizza’ in Kothanur. We treated them pizza and took
them to ‘Decathlon’ as they requested. They were all so jolly and exhilarated,
they played for almost one and half hours in ‘decathlon’ before heading back .This
kind of outing is important and a good way to let them show love to one another
and enjoy the company of each other at the same time.

(ii)  
Public
speaking

Different topics like nature, social
media, teacher, food, dress, animal, friends, etc. were given to every child by
letting them pick the topics that were folded in a piece of paper. These
children smartly gave a good speech on their particular given topic on the last
day of our CBL before we went for our winter vacation. We presented every child
equally with some toys chocolates and erasers to let them feel and know that
everyone is special and equal in the eyes of God.

(c)   
Teaching
about ‘how to be an ideal women’ from the bible that is Proverbs 31

Since it has 31 verses we asked the
children to read out the verse that their birthday falls on and we gave a brief
explanation on how an ideal woman should be. We also wrote down all the virtues
like honesty, goodness, kindness, generous, loyal, humble, faithful etc. in a
piece of paper and gave one to each one of them asking them to do what they
have got for the coming week and see if they could carry it on. It was such a
beautiful and amazing feeling to share the word of God to children.

 

·        
CHALLENGES
FACED

i)       
Some students as mentioned earlier are
weak in studies as they were not brought up in a good academic background. When
everybody has their assignments done by themselves such as ‘word frames’, the
weak children seek the help of their own team members and complete their assignment
so that they don’t lose their score. However in the process of this they tend
to become dishonest which concerns me.

ii)      Some
students have behavioral problem which becomes hard for us at times to remain
friendly with them all the time.

iii)    As
some children are weak in English and they speak kannada almost all the time
which becomes difficult for us to communicate with them properly.

·        
SUGGESTED
PROGRAMS

(a)  
Organize
Picnic for all children

We
do have an outing for the highest scoring teams but I think it will be much
better if we organize such picnic program for all children so that everyone get
to experience the outside world apart from what they see every day, love and care
for one another as they go out and explore new environment, get to interact
with different people and enjoy the goodness of God. This type of program will
surly help children build a good relationship with each other and will also
help them to know the goodness of God by organizing various activities which
implicitly reach out the gospel to them.

(b)  
Drama
competition taking parables from the Bible

This
is one good way to reach out to children as every individual have a skill and
talent in them. This is the right time for them to unleash the talents they
have within and utilize them properly, once they realize their potential it
will remain with them forever unlike some other worldly things which we do and
forget with the passage of time.

LESSON
LEARNED FOR MY FUTURE MINISTRY

From the little
experience that I had at Hope Torch, I learned that teaching creatively is one
good way we could reach out to children and bring them to God. Since the method
of teaching creatively has become important today for better understanding and
for more valuable education, I strongly feel that there is a need to change the
education system in some part of Nagaland, which is my state. Children are
being brought up in an environment where they only tend to memorize and cram up
the lessons without getting to know and learn much deep about the concept of
the subjects. I feel the lack of sound education system and as far as I am concerned
it is very important that we need to think creatively and gain valuable
knowledge and at the same time enjoy what we study. From my CBL at Hope Torch I
learned that my kids were all so very enthusiastic about learning lessons and
their creativity was astonishing, they also enjoy what they learn whereas for
our children back home their potential is a complete contrary to what I have
observed at Hope Torch. Therefore, through Hope Torch I learned that we need to
educate children by teaching creatively as it not only helps them learn and
grasp the concepts of the subjects clearly and help them realize their worth
but it also helps us in our mission giving us an opportunity to mold and
nurture them not just with their class lessons but we also get to share them
the gospel through various activities conducted.

CONCLUSION

Organization like Hope
Torch is indeed a great platform and a best way to do children ministry. Working
as volunteer with Hope Torch not only helped children realize their self-worth
by conducting many activities including gospel centered activities but I am
grateful enough to say that it have also 
helped me realize my weakness and strength in so many myriad way. It was
such an honor to be a part of Hope Torch.

1″Advanced Coaching
Programs.”

2″Word Frames
2015-2016.”

3″Exam-Time – Tips
and Tricks.”

4″Mathletics
2015-2016.”

5″Inside Out
Programs.”

6″Hidden Treasures
Programs.”

7″Hope
Torch | Discovering Self-Worth One Child at a Time….”

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