- 18 July, 2016
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Born and raised in Texas, Catherine, a 25 year old gymnastics coach and student, decided to intern with CRY and use her experiences in teaching children. Catherine’s decision to teach the children dance stems from her having taught gymnastics and dance to children in the past. However, Catherine’s main desire to contribute to Child Rights in India is motivated by her
future studies in public health and social work focusing on children and families.
The classes usually took place in the morning from around 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. The number of children in the group was around 20. Catherine had a process of conducting her classes. She began with stretching followed by a few games with the kids in order to get their creative juices flowing. After these games, Catherine taught the kids a few simple steps that could be easily incorporated into any song.
As for the kids, they seemed to absolutely love it. Catherine says, “their bodies start moving as soon as the music is turned on! You know dance is a form of communication that allows them to freely express themselves. The children enjoy learning new steps and choreography and are always excited about the next dance session.”
Catherine’s experience with the children had its fair share of challenges. Being an American citizen, Catherine wasn’t fluent in Hindi or fully aware of the Indian culture. This made communicating with the children one of her greatest challenges. Apart from the initial communication barrier, Catherine also faced problems regarding irregular attendance, individual inclination towards dance and differing age groups. Space management and teaching the children how to follow the beat also proved to be difficult for Catherine who was conducting the classes all by herself.
However, all of this did little to shake Catherine’s resolve. With the help of some of the other interns and the use of general body language Catherine was soon able to develop a new method of communicating with the children. She also divided the children into smaller groups to combat the lack of space and differing age group problem. “In a system that strongly demands focus on academics, there is not much time or emphasis on extracurricular activities. Within the few hours that I am there, if I can facilitate activities and provide an outlet for the children that promotes happiness and well-being, I feel like that is a success,” is what Catherine says when asked about her contribution. Apart from happiness and joy, Catherine also stresses on the numerous other benefits like improved creativity, coordination, stamina, confidence and sense of empowerment that the daily dance sessions have had on the children.
When asked about the impact these children have had on her, Catherine says “Especially for children who are not as privileged, seeing the kids laughing while jumping to the music changed my perception of how much joy even little things like dancing with friends can bring to one’s life”.
– Rohan Das (CRY Intern, Delhi)
Become a Child Rights Leader with CRY… Be the change!