In the summer of 2007 I was invited by Paul RajaRao to come to teach art to the children at the BIRDS. I and three others arrived at BIRDS in July to wonderful reception. We were all very excited to meet the children. There were so many happy children, so well dressed and so polite. I was very pleased to see these children so well taken care of. I searched their smiling little faces to see if I could recognize Pavan, the boy that I have sponsored for two years, who’s picture I smiled at every morning as I left for work. There he was in the sea of faces, trembling as our eyes met. I wondered if he too looked at the picture of me that I sent him two years ago. Although we could not communicate verbally we found a way to share precious time together over the next two weeks. On the second day after my arrival, a shy Pavan took my hand and pointed to an empty chair at the table where he and the other boys were eating their lunch. I felt honored that these boys wanted me to sit at their table.
Our mission of teaching art to the children was amazing. Each of us took a group of children and taught them things like watercolor painting, charcoal drawing, coloring in books, and oriental ink painting. We were astounded with the mount of natural artistic abilities the children possessed. Paul had informed me that the children in India are never taught art. They are “made to think inside the box” according to Paul and teaching them art gives the BIRDS children one up on the upper casts. It truly was a great experience to encourage these destitute children to be creative and express themselves through art. They made wonderful paintings of thatched roof huts, water buffalo and even a pink Taj Mahal. This was an experience neither the children or the art team will soon forget.
I am looking forward to returning to BIRDS this summer to continue the art program and hold hands with my sweet little Pavan.
Kathy Kingsley/Elementary Art Teacher/Holland, MI USA