Siloam trip, a training program for staffs of CFG
On 7th November 2014, the staffs and officials of Child Friendly Guwahati (CFG) took a trip to Siloam situated near Umiam Lake in Meghalaya. They left for the place at around 1:30 from the office premises. Ten vehicles had left carrying around 90 people. The trip was meant to give the social workers and teachers who had join the organization recently a better idea about Child Friendly Guwahati, it motto, its plan and to acquaint the members of CFG with each other. We reached at Siloam in the evening, on our way to the place we passed the mysterious Barapani Lake which is also known as Umiam these days. As soon as we reached we were served hot tea with some biscuit in the dinning room. Soon we were sent to our rooms where we got some time to relax and freshen up for our next session which was with Fr. Solomon (Director CFG). We met at the conference hall where we prayed for some time and then we headed for dinner. Amidst friendly chit-chat we finished our dinner; the delicious chicken curry and dal with rice was enriching. Next we gathered again at the conference hall again to watch a movie ?Chillar party?. It was about a bunch of kids who fought for a dog and his owner Phatka, who use to clean the cars of the apartment. The movie had lot to teach and we were asked to give a report on it. That night we retired to our bed. The next morning was going to be a busy day. On 8th November 2014, we got up at 6 for our exercise session this was followed by prayer at 6:30 and breakfast at 7:30. From 9 we had our first session with Fr. Solomon (Associate Director CFG). We were told to analyze the movie Chillar party and what message it had for the society. After brainstorming on the view points which was immensely helpful for all of us in knowing our role as teachers we moved on to the next session which was going to be with Father George Palamattathil SDB, the Director of Siloam. The session with him was on transformational leadership. The discussion started with two very simple questions, yet effective. Do you want to be happy and do you want to be Successful? Fr. George explained to us how important the involvement of heart was while doing our job. He explained that as a teacher we must care for children and put our heart at work as only intelligence was not enough to change the society. The discussion encompassed various aspects of leadership such as compassion, continuous practice, being useful to society and self-esteem. The session resumed after a short break for lunch. During the second half of the day we met at the amphitheatre near the lake. Fr. George made us play games through which we were able to understand valuable lessons of leadership. In the evening we were shown the short film ?Butterfly Circus? on Nick Vujick which talked about the importance of self-confidence. After having our evening tea we had a session on craft where creative art was taught to the teachers. The session was presided over by two of our senior cluster coordinators Mrs. Nandita Baruah Sarma and Mrs. Anjana Devi. The evening ended with sumptuous dinner and a cultural event performed by all the teachers and social workers of the organization. The second day of Siloam left a deep mark on our heart as we not only understood ourselves better but also got a chance to know our co-workers with whome we would need to coordinate while arranging various programs and achieving goals. The third day that is 9th November 2014, was equally eventful as there was lot of activities scheduled. The day started with morning prayer and breakfast. Brother Prasad (Project Manager CFG)? and Sister Alphonsa FMA (Cluster Coordinator CFG), took the session with us. Sr. Alphonsa discussed how we could be better teachers to the children. Looking at the background of the children who came to CFG it was very important that we took special care of these deprived kids. Since teacher were the first point of contact with these kids it was important that the kids trusted us. The session continued and each cluster was given a leaf-let comprising various questions regarding their CFG centers which they had to fill along with their cluster coordinator. The meeting of cluster coordinators along with their CFG members continued till lunch. After lunch Father Lukose, took the session on mainstreaming the children. He discussed important points such as identifying children?s ready for mainstreaming, correct age for mainstreaming, the directives given under Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyaan, free education for the children, role played by neighboring schools, preparation of birth certificate and finally follow-up that should be done after the children get mainstreamed. In the evening we took a 20 minutes walk to Ferrando speech and hearing center. Leading through the lush greenery and serene landscape we reached the center at dusk while the light was fading away. The member of CFG interacted with them and had a chat with the sisters present in the center. The walk back to Siloam was likewise an adventure under the dark blue and star studded night sky. There was no time to waste, after reaching Siloam we rushed to the amphitheatre for a camp-fire. The Fire was lit and the crowd gathered around the bon-fire to enjoy a nice evening filled with dance and music. Father Solomon and Brother Prasad took the initiative. We were taught new songs and few amazing dance moves, which kept the gathering animated. Next we were taken to the chapel of Siloam, where we all made a silent prayer. The feeling was that of overwhelming peace. This was our last night at Siloam, from the chapel we went to have our dinner and then went back to our rooms for a good night sleep. The last day that is on 10th November 2014 we all got up early to witness the sunrise. We saw the breath-taking view of the sunrise and went ahead to complete our next task which was treasure hunting. We took a walk of two hours up to the nearest hill, searching the treasures hidden on our way. After the task we returned to Siloam and had our breakfast. This was followed by a session with father V.M. Thomas, Chairman CFG where all the coordinators were asked to give a presentation based on the information they had provided in the leaf-let given to them the other day. Three departments which are Child rescue, Vocational training and Media also gave their presentation. After the presentation, Fr. V.M. Thomas discussed how to achieve the goal in this organisation. He mentioned the need to prepare a plan which could give us proper output, outcome and impact. He showed a presentation informing us about the chief characteristics the teacher in the class must possess. Creativity, motivation, empathy are few of the most important qualities that must be present in a teacher. Sighting Don Bosco?s example he urged the teacher?s to believe in their work and work for the good of their students. The session ended with prayer and prize distribution to the winners of cultural event held earlier. Fr. Thomas also thanked Fr. George for inception of Siloam, a place that could heal the cheerless soul. The trip was at its last leg, we were guided to the dinning hall where we had our lunch. He packed our bags and took our seat in the vehicle to return. While leaving Siloam we were pretty sure that the memories of that place would keep a deep mark in our heart for ever. The four days training program not only rejuvenated us but motivated us to work even harder to achieve our goals. We will surely agree to what Mr. Peter Aind has realized in the trip ?Children most often don't realize their potentialities on their own and they need to be accompanied by someone who can make them realize their budding potentialities to grow and prosper. The CFG is the right movement to cater to the right to education and bringing an awareness of a child labor aspect in Guwahati city -?among the poor and the abandoned?.