Bombay Central Teacher Training Session - Sarthak Dalal

The recent teacher training session at Bombay Central was a very humbling and eye-opening experience for me. It was the first teacher training session I participated in as a volunteer with Toybank. I was a little nervous before it began. Throughout the session, I was learning ways to effectively communicate and lead people who I cannot directly speak with because of a language barrier (note that I am a Junior in High School living in the US – volunteering with Toybank India). I appreciate the teachers who give their whole lives to educate the special needs children and ensure that they lead a relatively successful life. Watching them do their work touched my heart. We first started off by setting up the toys and the posters and projector for the power point presentation. This required me to walk around the school multiple times to get the necessary materials from one room to another. As I was moving the objects, I noticed the poor conditions that the students went to school in, but also noticed their happiness and joy with what they had. They were grateful for whatever little they had, and this reminded me to always be grateful in my life. Helping to educate these teachers on Toybank was a very touching experience because I knew that we were educating people who would use our principles and toys to better the lives of many underprivileged children. The teachers seemed very interested by our presentation and by the end were more than eager to learn how to play with the games and teach their children. It’s always satisfying to know that our message and ideas of helping underprivileged children are spreading to other people who will implement them to better these children’s lives.

After we set everything up we waited for the teachers and kids to come in and then we started the presentation. As I was listening, I found the presentation very in-depth and convincing, as the presenters discussed Toybank’s message, goals, impact etc. The presenters gave an overall description of the organization. Once it was over, we had 30 minutes of play time with the teachers and special needs kids where we teach them how to play with the games and toys that we provided. The teachers learned with ease, but it was much harder with the kids. At first, it was difficult and nearly impossible to play and teach the kids but as time progressed I learned and could do a somewhat better job.
It was difficult as I didn’t know how to handle some situations, or how they would understand the games. I showed them, by first doing it myself and then after a while, they slowly seemed to get it little by little. I failed in teaching them the games, but I feel that if given more time to interact, they would have learned much more and would have completed the full game. I truly felt sorry for the special needs kids as they came from non-affluent background and therefore did not get the proper therapy and care they deserve. I did whatever I could to help them. Time flew fast and soon it was 3’o’clock and time to clean up. Quickly, we put everything away, took our group photo, said our goodbyes and left.  Overall, this experience was a unique experience for me, as it was my first teacher training session.  I learned a lot and took a lot away from the 2 hours I spent at the school. I learned to be grateful for what I have in life and to always help others who are not so fortunate. I hope that I brightened these kids day and hope the teachers learned about Toybank and will encourage and teach their students to play with toys. I feel satisfied knowing that I made a positive impact to the society by educating these teachers about the significance and importance of letting kids play with toys, and am confident that they will in turn encourage under privileged children to play with toys. I am eager to help spread the Toybank message to as many schools and people as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from this experience and hope to do this again.

- Sarthak Dalal, July 2017
(A Happy Toybanker!)



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