After a 15 minute ride, we reached the school. From Sachin Sir's experience, we assumed that the Principal of school might resist allowing us, but she was very supportive and we soon found out why. Most of the kids in the municipality school were highly underprivileged compared to the schools we attended as kids, so, the staff were willing to do anything possible to help them. We entered the first classroom and all the kids greeted us by standing up and saying, "Good Afternoon Sir, Have a nice day Sir." It reminded me of my school days...eh. We interacted with the teacher first. Some of the things which we told to the teacher were,
- Who are we
- What does our organization do
- Why we don't charge money
- What are the myths society has formed about stammering
- How to handle someone who stammers while speaking
- How not to behave with or treat someone who stammers
During interaction with every teacher, we handed our visiting cards and handouts to them without fail and requested them to spread the message to anyone they knew who stammers. Then we requested them to allow us to interact with the students.
Standing in front of those kids, I remembered the quote by Mark Twain, "The secret to getting ahead is getting started." So I was trying to start speaking looking all calm on the outside, although there was chaos inside my mind regarding what to speak to those kids who were looking up to me in hopes of learning something new. When speaking to kids, you have to remember that they have a very active mind, and so they get distracted very easily unless you manage to grab and hold there attention. This, I know, since I was the most distracted kid in the entire class, maybe the entire school, who daydreamed sitting in lectures. So, I tried to engage them by asking them about movies. The entire conversation went something like this
(translated in english)...
Me: Does everyone understands Hindi?
Kids: Yes (some No)
Me: (again, louder than before) Does everyone understands Hindi?
Kids: (loudly) Yes
Me: OK kids, tell me, who watches movies?
(some kids raise hands, some don't)
Me: How many of you have seen Golmaal 3?
(some hands go down, some who were down till now suddenly rise up)
Me: So kids, do you remember there was a character in that movie who used to speak like (Making funny face) A..gh...gh...gh...ghhhhh...
Me: What you saw in that movie was just acting, but do you know, that the problem portrayed there is actually real. It is called stammering. Millions of people suffer from it. In fact it is so common, that if you gather 100 people at a same place, you will get at least 1 person who stammers from among them.
After this I told them about my own story and how I suffered from stammering all those years. I told them that stammering is completely normal and you should not be ashamed of it. In fact, if you encounter someone who stammers, then encourage them to speak and listen to them patiently.