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Khula Aasman Talks About Playing with the Jagruti School for Blind Girls

"If they are with their friends, they feel safe and protected. It was a great bonding exercise, and it reinforced their sense of community."

From April 18 to 19th, Khula Aasman Mumbai conducted a Play for Peace session with the Jagruti School for Blind Girls. The event was organized by the Rotary Club of Pune Central in the city of Alandi Pune, India, and included 37 participants and three facilitators. Khula's activity log is an inspiring journal of how people of different lifestyles and communities can come together through play...

Day 1 We reached the venue a day early, and our team discussed, over dinner, the coming session and the fact that this would be our first experience working with visually challenged girls. We were excited, but did not know what to expect: perhaps it would take extra time to communicate instructions. At 10 A.M. the next morning, the participants proved us wrong. We started an hour-long play session almost immediately: the group was very enthusiastic and did not need instructions repeated. They demonstrated a firm grasp of the games and happily cooperated with their peers. While playing, we observed a rush of parents coming to visit their children. We were informed that today, a parent's meeting was being held, as some of the girls were going home for the summer holidays. It was great to show parents the spirit of Play for Peace, and they happily observed the session in support of their children. Later we asked the girls to create groups of six and share the experience of their one-hour cooperative play: first with the group, and then with the entire team. We were met with heart-warming responses: "If anyone feels sad, we can use the attention game, 'Bum pitta Bum Bum', and make everyone laugh." "We played some English games and songs for the first time. It was so much fun, and now we don't have any fear of the language." After lunch, the girls were again asked to form groups, get to know each other and share 3 - 4 common characteristics within the group. Again, they yielded beautiful answers, and bonded by discovering shared interests!  "Everyone in this group is a poet." (Group 1) "Everyone likes doing comedy acts and making others laugh." (Group 3) After establishing some common ground, we made a circle and played more educational games, even screening a Play for Peace film. Before leaving, the girls wrote down the games so that they would not forget.

Day 2 Again we gathered at 10 A.M. and began with a revision of the games we had previously played. We then introduced some new activities. One of the most interesting was a sharing exercise: we asked the girls if they had ever touched an egg. Some of them had, but some had not, so we described the shape and texture of an egg. What did they think was inside that kept it so safe? What was outside that could break it? The girls discussed the question and began to share stories about their own lives. Sometimes, if traveling by bus or walking on the road, they feel unsafe: what if someone cheats them? But, if they are with their friends, they feel safe and protected. It was a great bonding exercise, and it reinforced their sense of community. We continued to play for the rest of the day and, much like the day before had an incredibly positive experience.

Report by : Archana Magar

Blog Editor: Deanna Pizzitelli

Photo Credit: Archana Magar

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