Creativity and Service- Learn and make soft toys for stray animals in the NGO Prayas.
I always had respect for the people who worked and helped in a NGO, and the Prayas NGO was my favorite. It rescued stray animals in difficulty and made sure they had proper medications, shelter, and food for survival until someone adopted them. I once visited the shelter house of Prayas and noticed that there was a lack of any fun activities or stuff the animals could do or play with, so I decided to do something. I always wanted to learn how to make soft toys as I am very fond of them, so taking this as an opportunity I decided to learn how to make soft toys online. Through youtube videos, I decided to learn how to make small plushies with socks and wool, which dogs, cats, etc can play with. The goal was to make at least 5 toys, and give those to my sister Vrushi who was a volunteer at Prayas, who would give it to the animals to play with. I know how NGOs like Prayas face financial difficulties, and cannot take proper care of toys and things the animals can play with as they keep safety and necessities as their priority, so keeping this in mind I wanted to help and support the NGO by donating these handmade soft toys.
The learning outcomes I focused on were LO2, LO4, LO6, & LO7.
LO2- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
The most challenging thing for me was learning how to stitch. There were many different stitches that were required in the making of a soft toy, and since I had never done stitching before it took me a while to get a hang of it. My mother who was quite an expert in stitching torn clothes, and fixing broken buttons guided me in learning how to stitch. But once I did learn all of it, the later part of following the video’s instructions on how to stuff the sock, and stitch different pieces of socks together was easy. This experience helped me learn how to stitch and make soft toys with waste socks and stuffing, I think this would definitely help me in the future when I want to fix my own clothes, or if I ever want to gift someone a soft toy.
LO4- Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
In LO4, I did face a little challenge on making the soft toys as once i had made 3, it became kind of boring, but though I found different videos of cute and unique plushies that made me want to try to make them. I think this experience also taught me to commit to learning and practicing, because if I hadn’t learnt the stitching, and practiced it again and again, I wouldn’t have made such amazing toys.
LO6- Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
Street animals are hardly given any attention or care, many of them have various diseases, wounds that are left open. The Prayas NGO focuses on rescuing such wounded animals, giving them proper care and meditation, and making them ready for adoption. I have respect for this NGO and the volunteers in it. From this experience, I show my support and respect for the NGO, and also care for the animals in the NGO. This experience has made me connected with the NGO, and I go to volunteer on some weekdays with my sister as well.
LO7- Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
Charity, or donation are selfless acts that many people do for others wellbeing and health. Many rich people don’t donate, and many middle class people donate, it is not how much money one has, but the choices people make to help the needy ones. Like me, I did not have money of my own, but I decided to donate soft toys made by me for the stray animals who are rescued, this was me making rightful choices and actions.
To conclude, I believe and consider this as a success to my goal and aim. I learnt how to make various plush/soft toys with socks and stuffing, and made 5 of them. I donated them to the NGO and felt so good after the response and thanks I got from the Leader of the NGO. The learner profile attribute that I showed during this activity was “Caring”; when I visited the NGO and got to know about the entertainment needs of the animals, I showed compassion and care for the stray animals over there. I also “reflected” on my observation and decided to learn and make soft toys. This activity did bring a sense of achievement and fulfillment in me, and I truly look forward to find more ways to help such NGOs. One thing that I would have changed in this activity was to make the soft toys maybe of different sizes and structures like bones for the dogs, or some fruit for the monkeys, that could have been better than animal pushies that I made. Through this activity I learnt that we can make such good things out of waste materials, and the art of making soft toys and stitching will help me in the future whenever I want to make them again for animals or small kids. This CAS experience did encourage creative thinking inside of me, and also brought respect and empathy towards the NGO leaders and the stray animals. Inshort this experience was really fun, engaging and helped me do something good for the community.