In today’s world, as chaos reigns over lands far and wide, man struggles to make sense of his surroundings, and interpret his purpose of life. It is an era where it is difficult for several people to even afford to live. And for those of us blessed with all the gifts of nature, it is only fair to help out the ones who need our assistance. Our efforts that may put a smile on someone’s face definitely make the horizons seem less dreary and the sky so much more colourful.
This summer, when the scorching sun blazed down upon the heads of Karachiites, Nixor College’s government registered NGO, ‘House of Dreams’ was hard at work with its endeavours for charity. House of Dreams heads the other Nixor NGOs too. One of them is ‘Meri Bhi Aik Khuahish Hai’, a student-run organisation. The MBAKH Team, consisting of Mariam Keshodia, Maham Babar, Huma Ahmed and Zeritta Mavalvala, including helpers and volunteers, collaborated with the Family Educational Services Foundation (FESF) to organise a summer camp for deaf children. The students who were members of MBAKH spent one week learning the language that would help them communicate with the kids. They learnt the basic signs and actions, yet one FESF interpreter used to accompany them each day to help improve communication between the college students and the deaf children if the students ever faced a problem.
The summer camp took off with twenty deaf children from FESF, regularly visiting Nixor’s Acacia Campus. It focused on six activities which were carried out in a number of sessions, including baking, pottery, drama, dance, drumming and basketball. What began as an idea to do something for the deaf children, flourished into a three week summer camp, marked with exciting activities.
Pottery is one of the greatest arts of creating items of beauty and wonder. With the help of an external, Mr. Haji Ishaq, the students were able to teach the deaf children basic pottery making skills, and the children were both amazed and delighted to find out their hidden talents that resided somewhere deep inside them!
Baking was another interesting activity for the kids as they were overjoyed at the prospect of being able to ‘create’ their own meals, while basketball was taught separately to the boys and girls by dividing the court into two halves, and giving the children separate trainers.
The highlight of the MBAKH Summer Camp for the Deaf was the ‘Deaf Theatre’ that was held after much hard work at the end of the camp.
It was a day when, for two hours, the children from FESF took over the stage; all their stage fright melted away into nothingness when their dedication and practise was seen bearing fruit. It started out with a speech from the director of FESF, Richard Geary. Soon after, the deaf children put up a half hour play titled ‘I AM’ where a little deaf boy by the name of Arshad is seen struggling to make a career as a successful drummer. He is shown to be discouraged and shunned and hardly anyone believes in his talent that comes naturally to him when he drums away, in his own element. Finally, through encouragement from his family and after tumbling through a long and winding road of difficulties, Arshad proves his potential by making people realise that even if he could not hear the beat, he could feel it, and work wonders with a drum kit. Two dance performances followed the play, the first one being a hip hop dance on Glow, and the second one being a tribute to sign language on the song ‘You Found Me’.
As the summer camp came to an end, participation certificates were awarded to the deaf children by the FESF. It just took three weeks from the lives of Nixor College students but gave those 20 deaf children an experience of a lifetime. They were able to interact with students of their age, feel their life and lived it for a short period of time. It made them confident and gave them the courage to realise they are not less than any other human being and are capable of achieving everything in life. Let’s hope more colleges and universities start thinking on these lines.