Manchester to Malwani

EdStory by Ar. Rizvi Aquil Abbas, Grade 4 Teacher, Holy Star English High School

21st February 2017, a very important day for Mumbai as the citizens would be up early in the morning to go out and vote for themunicipal elections and choose the best party for the next coming 5 years to develop and transform the city. The municipal elections are to take care of the basic necessities of the citizens and to provide them the support in the city.

While this was happening in the greater schemes of Mumbai, there was something really special and unique that was about to take place in the same city in the early hours of the day. A small ghetto in Malad very famously known as Malwani was about to witness something for the very first time. It was very unusual for the kids to wake up at 7.30 and come to school on a day where it was a city wide holiday due to elections. The kids at Holy star English High school were on time and bursting with high levels of adrenaline ready to go. It was only 8.30 in the morning and the school was hustling with noise and voice. The kids were about to become a part of a one of its kind of collaboration between the two very different places on earth, Malwani and Manchester.

The bus arrived a little late testing the patience of these kids who were high on energy and enthusiasm. Around 60 students along with some staff members from the University of Manchester had stepped into the streets of Malwani sending a wave of curiosity among the bystanders and the jaywalkers. The kids accompanied the students from the bus to the school situated in the middle of the ghetto. The students were here as a part of collaboration between two different schools to learn and grow. They were here to conduct a small art and craft workshop for the kids and most importantly interact with them during the workshop.

The students divided themselves into two groups and went ahead with the planned workshop. One of the groups was working on the life in the jungle on a green grass like paper and the second group focussed on the life in the water. It was almost a one on one interaction happening among the kids and the students. After a 3 hour long intense workshop the kids were fascinated with their own creations on the paper. Along with this art and craft they were also communicating with the students who spoke fluent English in a very different accent.

It was a very different learning for the kids from a small ghetto interacting and talking to students from an international university. They had just begun learning and speaking English and they were now replying to the pro levels in English. It turned out to be an adventurous workshop for the kids where they not only learned about the arts and crafts and developed some important skills such as teamwork and creativity but also were exposed to a kind of English that would later become their most important “why” of learning the English language.

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