My name is Keerthi Gaddam, I am a student of FLAME University, Pune. My family stays in Bangalore and I come to Bangalore every summer. I volunteered at Parikrma Humanity Foundation for 6 weeks. During my time at Parikrma I was given various jobs. I made charts for teachers, made resource packs, made profiles for the UKG children, and taught children.

I enjoyed every second working with Parikrma. I was initially only going to do 30 days but I got so attached to the kids that I continued to work until I had to leave back to Pune. One of the most beautiful things about Parikrma is that they try to make the school environment more like a second home for the children. The teachers aren’t referred to as ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir’ but as ‘akkas’ and ‘annas’.

Parikrma kids are so full of love; simply being around them fills your heart. Many times, as soon as I enter a class, I have kids yelling “Akka, sit next to me!” from three different directions. One of the kids in 1st grade would always come running to me, give me a hug and kiss my hand every time he saw me. The kids in UKG hold my hand and surround me as soon as I sit down next to them.

When I was working on the student profiles for UKG, I had to interview them about their likes and dislikes, and their goals in life. You would think- what would a six-year-old know? But they do know! They have such big personalities, though still blossoming. I had to take pictures of students to attach with their profiles. I would take out four students out at a time and take their pictures. They got so stiff and awkward around the camera that I would have to slowly make them feel comfortable and then resort to tickling them, running away, and quickly taking a picture before that beautiful smile disappeared. Eventually other kids would help me, they would tickle their friends as soon as I said “GO!” and ran out of the picture as soon as I said “Run!” They kept laughing and sometimes made the craziest poses. It was the highlight of my 6 weeks there.

The satisfaction I felt as the three students in 8th grade went from being bottom of the class to the top as I taught them, was amazing. I bonded so incredibly with those three girls; they will forever be in my heart. I strongly believe they will reach a high place in life.

On my last day working for Parikrma, I was asked to come to the dining room where the kids handed me a Thank-you card and said a prayer on my behalf before eating. A lot of the students found out last minute I was leaving. The 6th graders ran around crazily trying to make something for me to remember by. They made this beautiful little bracelet and tied it around my hand just before I left. I will forever cherish this little gift they made for me.