(Impact Volunteer Mrunmayee Satam recollects her volunteering for Fazlani Aishabai Haji Abdul Latif Charitble Trust)
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt
It all began one fine evening when I received a call from iVolunteer. Fazlani Aishabai Haji Abdul Latif Charitble Trust required a volunteer photographer to capture their programs for children in Fazlani International School. The location was Lonavala and I was more than thrilled! It was going to be a new experience and I had my own apprehensions before I agreed to take up the task. There was a certain amount of doubt if I could live up to their expectations. However, I decided to give it a try!
Everything worked out well and we decided to shoot on a Saturday. Sameeya and Disha from Fazlani Trust were to accompany me. We took an early morning bus to Lonavala and the journey was through the picturesque Khandala Ghats offering breath taking views. Both Sameeya and Disha made me feel extremely comfortable throughout the journey and the moment we reached on sight I was thoroughly enchanted. The location was nothing less than paradise on earth.
The day was going to be an exhausting one. We were allotted a bungalow immediately for the day and provided with breakfast. Immediately afterwards we left for the school, I was expected to capture moments which would reflect the atmosphere at the school, various facilities and activities. The school was for the destitute kids; however every staff member had a special bond with each and every kid at the school. It was nothing less than one big family. I started working on my assignment but as the day progressed I began to connect with both the students and the staff who worked tirelessly for the kids. I clicked various aspects of the school life: the classroom setting, the art room, the gymkhana, toddlers enjoying educative cartoon series, students enjoying open air sports, the mess, etc. The Art Room fascinated me the most. There was a wide display of beautiful creations, creativity that the students possessed reflected through various artifacts and art work.
“Mrunmayee was very friendly, dedicated, focused, knew what she wanted. She interacted well with children and staff. Her photographs are amazing and they have been used for the basic website that we have now. We are in the process of upgrading our website and when it will be upgraded, you will see more photos of her – http://www.fazlanischool.org/index.html” – Sameeya Shaikh, Project Coordinator, Fazlani Aishabai Haji Abdul Latif Charitble Trust.
Capturing right moments with children is a challenge. However I managed to click portraits of the kids around the school campus and I was thoroughly overwhelmed by their sheer enthusiasm. They posed with confidence for the camera. They did their little gigs and tried to attract my attention towards them. They were beamingwith joy with the sheer idea that I was going to click their portraits! It was then I realized that happiness is about these million little things. In spite of various shortcomings in their lives, the kids were full of zeal and had vibrant dreams about their future. Unlike most of us, being blessed in every possible way we still have a lot to complain about. At the end of the day I had developed an attachment towards this institution, the people and the surroundings. I consider myself blessed to have been given an opportunity to go out spend a day with these kids and to capture innumerable precious memories that I had made within just a matter of few hours. It offered me a chance to go back and look in time when we were school going kids. School days are the most formative years of one’s life and these kids were indeed special.
This opportunity was truly a learning experience! It made me more confident as a person, I could interact with the kids better and the people around motivated and inspired me. I am glad I got an opportunity to give back to the society in my own little way. All the credit goes to iVolunteer who identified my passion and gave me the right volunteering opportunity; the entire experience was very enriching and satisfying. Photography has been my passion and through this project I was able to channelize my photography skills for a good cause. It surely touched my heart!