Loud and Proud
November 12, 2014. Volunteer Ali Pleiman speaks about her first week working with CAC at Naz Goal Mumbai.
Caught in a whirlwind of bright colors and honking horns. Everywhere I look, I see people. The rich and the poor are intermixed with cats, dogs, cows, goats, trash, and beautiful trees. It seems like mayhem, but it’s not- it’s Mumbai! Somehow there’s this rhythm in which all things are living and moving together. All I can do is marvel at the organized chaos around me and try not to get run over. This indefinable energy didn’t slow down once we hit the field; it manifested in the smiling faces around me, showing enthusiasm every step of the way.
This week we worked with Naz Goal, a netball organization in their third and final year of the Hat-Trick Initiative. They explained to us that “Naz” means “proud,” and after meeting these bright young women, I can see why the name is such a good fit. Of all the life skills we touched on this week, the one that stood out the most for this group was the power of using one’s voice.
Although we were constantly in a state of play, sporadic interjections for reflection and discussion would highlight the real world significance for this skill, Off-Field as well as On-Field. With this element built into many of the games, I could see how their confidence rose with their voices and drastically improved their communication. They were ready for the challenge that is Year 3: “Create.”
This strength shined through even more in the collaborative process as they were positioned to pick a problem and design a game from scratch. Everyone was engaged in the trial and error that followed, encouraged to solve their own problems when obstacles presented themselves. Female empowerment was a resounding theme that only intensified as time went on. As more and more girls were eager to voice their opinions and ideas, there were more opportunities to challenge the existing order of things and make the distinction between chance and choice in their culture- using your voice for your choice.
It was truly amazing to watch the progression throughout the week. It became blatantly obvious just how much one’s self-esteem can contribute to the pursuit of a goal. This simple truth is so easy to forget and I was grateful that I could be reminded of its impact.
I was so inspired and impressed that I often felt these girls were coaching me more than I was coaching them. This is truly a testament to how effective the CAC initiative is at work, establishing self-directed learners in this community. As this was my first volunteering experience, I lucked out that right off the bat I was able to see how the CAC program comes full circle.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves” Steven Spielberg.