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written by Darshita Goyal

“Serendipity is the simplest and best form of happiness”, they said. I didn’t understand what this statement truly meant until I started teaching the enthusiastic and innocent girls at the Good Shepherd Home four weeks ago. I would like to start from the beginning of my journey and share my experiences as a volunteer at U&I. It was the summer after my tenth grade board exams that I decided that I needed to do something to help kids who are less privileged than the rest of us. I came across U&I and immediately decided that being a social media volunteer here was my calling, due to my passion for writing. After I started, the most magical thing happened and I realised that it somehow was a two way street. It wasn’t just me moulding their lives but they filled me with a constant sense of appreciation and self satisfaction. I remember the first academic class at Good Shepherd Home, two girls Babitha and Sarla from the advanced batch were assigned to me. The plan for the day was to sharpen their public speaking skills and their topics were ‘My country India’ and ‘Humans’.

I was supposed to help them with sentence framing and at the end of the class they were going to present a speech in front of everyone. It was about five minutes before the big moment where they had to stand before everyone and speak and they both were very nervous and scared, I told them not to be since I was sure they would do really well. Little did I know that at the end of her speech Babitha would add a little thank you verse where she said “I would like to thank my akka (older sister), Darshita for teaching me and saying that I will speak nicely”. It was a very proud moment for me as everyone clapped for the two of them and what surprised me more, was that even I was appreciated for the speech they gave! That’s when I realised that those nine months are going to help me grow with them. They showed me how a little encouragement from my side could boost their confidence and a little thank you from them could keep me beaming all day. On one hand I would crib about not being able to attend a party or buy a dress and on the other hand the smallest gesture of complimenting them makes them smile like they’re the luckiest kids in the world. They taught me how to appreciate the little things in life and to be content with what I have. My journey has been beautiful so far and I’m sure it’s just going to get better with each class. I would like to conclude with a quote from an essay on teaching that really persuades me, “Teaching is a duet of inspiration; they inspire you as much as you inspire them.”

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