Helping facilitate a workshop.

Working with the children at a Kahani aur Kahanikar session.

Working with the children at a Kahani aur Kahanikar session.


I attended a series of sessions for the ‘Kahani aur Kahanikar’ program with the students and the class teachers of three of the classes at Ankur Vidyamandir school. As opposed to the earlier workshop, where I worked only with teachers, this workshop was different, though both had elements of storytelling involved. This workshop included the students who built a story together with Shikha’s help and we got a glimpse into their thoughts, lives and dreams as they spoke to us.



I begin the session with a warm-up game.

I begin the session with a warm-up game.


Before the workshop began, I was a little apprehensive of my role and my interactions with the students because I had never met them and I did not know what to expect.

However, the first session put me at ease – when my complicated name was changed by the children, from Asterilla to a simpler Australia.



This made me realise that when we do not commonly interact with individuals with various kinds of cognitive and behavioural challenges, the constant science and medicine approach that we get used to makes us forget the human approach. We forget the similarities between us all. Though it is important to understand the medical and psychological aspects so as to not underestimate the struggle an individual goes through, focusing only on this means focusing on only disability, not the person.

As the sessions progressed, I continued to marvel at the students. It was amazing to see how children from the 5th standard could tell us exactly how rice is made, or how children from the 6th standard spoke of paneer recipes.

The potential and aspirations that shine through each and every one of those bright kids is something that will stay with me forever. After the workshop, when Shikha and I were talking about it, she said something that I took home. She told me she loves doing what she does because every time she does a workshop or a campaign, she always learns something new and these new things one will never learn from a book. I eagerly look forward to more sessions and to the stories the students share with us.

Asterilla Monteiro

Asterilla has blogged about her other observations and experiences with our volunteer program. Read – ‘What is care?’ Talking to the volunteers behind this campaign and Diwali 2016 – Care India Medical Society.

 A warm thank you Asterilla, for being a committed and caring volunteer.

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