In a time when kids are glued to either the television, mobiles or iPads, there is still a small ray of hope shining somewhere! Yes, a place called Gammat Ghar in Pune, which is engaging children and their parents in the best possible way. Gammat Ghar which literally translates to ‘fun house’ is rather an avenue with non judgemental acceptance and unconditional positive regard showered on every kid.
Stylewhack team had the opportunity to chat with Ms. Deepali Awkale, Founder and Director of Gammat Ghar. Deepali Awkale is a Counseling Psychologist by profession. She works in the field of education, especially to facilitate students from rural, semi-rural & urban areas with a platform to express & experience themselves.
Here is what we learned about Gammat Ghar –
The Concept of Gammat Ghar
Gammat Ghar was started by Deepali at the mere age of seventeen, where she taught dance and drama to kids. As Deepali grew, the place evolved into a project designed especially for residential societies. Deepali who was a keen listener to her students’ agonies, eventually realised that she needed to expand the horizons of this small venture. And thus she transformed the place into an enterprise for the ‘entire family’ living in societies. The different centres today focus on providing a safe listening space, unconditional positive regard, non-judgmental acceptance & space to experience beautiful ‘selves’. The whole purpose of Gammat Ghar is to create happy family atmosphere at homes using different workshops and tools involving dance, drama, stories, farming etc.
The Fun and Learning
Each member at Gammat Ghar is assigned to a batch as per their age group. The members consist of kids, adolescent and adults. Keeping in mind the growth and development needs according to their age, an array of facilitation activities are conducted. The activities ensure physical, psychological, social and vocational development of each member. There are different workshops conducted all round the year like parenting workshop, preparing organic manure etc. It also provides holistic individual as well as group counselling sessions for remedial, preventive and developmental purpose. They also indulge in events like ‘Diwali Utsav’ and Summer Utsav’ providing a platform to showcase everyone’s talent. The team consists of 10 dedicated members, who make sure they bring out the best in each member.
Mr. Shivaji Atre who conducted psychological counselling at Gammat Ghar says, “It is the place where fun is taken seriously. A place where creativity is explored, expressed and enjoyed. A place where basic human emotions are allowed to be felt and expressed through proper channel.”
When ‘Real’ Talks Happen
When asked about a heart warming incident, Deepali gets all teary eyed and narrates this Children’s Day activity. The parents were asked to look into their kids’ eyes. While doing so the parents were supposed to genuinely compliment their child. Deepali recalls that there were 20 set of parents in the room that day and each one of them had tears in their eyes after this exercise. All the kids hugged their parents tight. “It was such an endearing moment” says Deepali.
One of the parents even confessed, “Our children are always our love. We love them every moment but a lot of time we forget to tell them this. Today, I could sense a feeling of ‘respect’ for my child & I think this ‘respect’ is the best children’s day gift, I could give to my child!”
That is what happens when you ‘communicate’ with your child in the real sense. And Gammat Ghar just helps you do that!
So Much More to Look Forward to
The team is currently designing a model with a scientific survey & research, so that this project can be replicated with quality & sustainability. They are also planning for tie-ups with City Police & Traffic Police Departments creating opportunities for their adolescent members. The whole idea is to ingrain respect towards this profession and build self confidence. On another front, they are planning to welcome interns with different creative skills to give a platform to gain an experience of facilitation. Last but not the least, starting a support group for old age members where they can feel safe, supported as well as can live their dreams. We must say, Gammat Ghar is taking some serious and substantial steps there!
While we were wrapping up, we asked Deepali her advice to parents and she said she doesn’t believe in giving advices but would like to share her experience instead –
We wish the Deepali and the entire team of Gammat Ghar all the very best in each of their noble endeavours! It is places like these which still save the innocence of childhood and are keeping families intact.
In case you are interested in being a part of their story, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org