They say children are a gift from God. That’s the truth. And what do you do with gifts from God? You nurture them and do your best to give them all your attention. Aarti Gedam of Megan’s World and even Priyanka Da Cunha of the Busy Bee do it with their children-friendly products. And it’s also exactly what Andrea Menezes Crasto, Vanessa Menezes Andrade, and Sandra D’Mello do with the Hungry Minds Activity Centre in Margao.
Meet the Hungry Minds Activity Centre’s pioneer ladies
The Hungry Minds Activity Centre is what happens when 3 lovely and talented ladies get together to create something completely wonderful.
In 2006, neither Andrea nor Vanessa, who also happen to be sisters, were married. Andrea noticed that there was quite a decline in the number of children who loved to read. Since she was an avid reader herself, she and her mother came up with a plan to start a bookshop and a children’s activity centre.
Today’s children seem to be born extremely intelligent. While there probably are parents that read to their children, others will instead give them mobile phones or tablets to read off or play games. Andrea just wanted to get kids reading proper books again. And so, with her mom’s help, they took to book exhibitions and holiday camps and re-introduced children to the wonderful world of books. It was hard work but they persevered and brought books that children were reading all over the world, to Goa.
Vanessa with her love and amazing singing talent and Sandra D’Mello with her strong focus on art and design joined Andrea on an adventure that was sure to bring great joy. And thus, the ‘dream team’ was complete.
The objective of creating the Hungry Minds Activity Centre
The Hungry Minds Activity Centre was set up with a simple objective in mind. These three hardworking ladies want to build skills in children, using a method that makes learning interesting.
The bookstore is long gone but since the start, the activity centre has grown by leaps and bounds.
Last year, 150 children showed up to the activity centre. They had a great day, meeting authors, illustrators, and storytellers.
How does it work?
The Hungry Minds Activity Centre is located in Pajifond, Margao. Andrea, Vanessa, and Sandra each do their bit at the centre to get the children to have a fun experience.
Andrea teaches them to read using phonics. Vanessa is an accomplished singer and trains the children to sing (individually and groups). And, Sandra shows them the basics of drawing and painting.
In addition, they also work together to create a program that is aimed at the all-round development of the children. In order words, they want to make sure all these children grow up to be confident, well-spoken and well-read.
It’s a busy world at the Hungry Minds Activity Centre. The ladies conduct summer camps with a focus on music, elocution, and craft. This helps the children learn more about the world they inhabit.
April is going to be fun too. The Hungry Minds Activity Centre is organizing a book event called Once Upon a Book in collaboration with the DogEars Bookshop in Margao. The event is scheduled for the 7th of April.
May is also looking good for the centre. They are using the theme ‘Under The Sea’ to teach kids all about life under the sea. Through songs, stories and even poetry, they hope to make it a great experience for the children. It sounds absolutely wonderful!
So if you live in and around Margao or are willing to travel all the way there, be sure to check it out. Your kids will probably thank you for it.
What’s in the works for the Hungry Minds Activity Centre?
Besides these wonderful activities planned for the summer, the ladies are also working on something special for school children. It’s a series of sticker books designed to help them with their reading skills. They hope to make enough books to distribute to the village schools in particular where most children tend to struggle with reading.
As Andrea says, “All kids love stickers and low-income kids don’t have access to a sticker book. We want to print one at the lowest cost and make it available to these kids. We hope people will join hands and make this possible for us.”
Sandra has this to say, “We love to teach and reach out to children. The feedback we get from parents, teachers and even the kids themselves is what keeps us going.”
And of course, not to be left behind, Vanessa chimes in, “Our small batch size ensures that the kids learn at their own pace and enjoy what they do as they are free to express opinions and ask questions.”
Well, this is definitely a commendable effort on the part of the Hungry Minds Activity Centre. It’s not easy reaching every child but then again, every little bit really helps. So let’s wish these ladies all the best and try and give them a helping hand!
For more information, give them a call on +91 9923103514 and even check out their Facebook page.