Druk White Lotus School students are all ears as Dubai’s Dev Vohra, 10, holds forth. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Summer holidays in exotic locales are quite the done thing for Dubai residents. But as a clutch of five students have shown, pleasure trips can be purposeful as well.

When brothers Kaivalya and Dev Vohra became privy to their dentist mother Seema Vohra’s recent plans to visit Ladakh of India to hold a free dental camp for underprivileged children, they were also tempted to go along. But wanting to make a difference in their own capacities, they hatched a plan with their sibling friends Alina and Mikhail Shaikh, besides Krish Sapru.

 “We wanted to improve the limited digital literacy of the students in Ladakh.”

 - Kaivalya Vohra, Dubai student

The Dubai-based students said they decided to leverage their skills and conduct wokshops on computer science, math and filmmaking for high school students at the Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh.

Subpar facilities

Kaivalya, 16, said, “The main reason for conducting this workshop was to improve the limited digital literacy that the students had. Computer classes are optional, teaching facilities are subpar and internet connectivity is awful due to the hostile weather conditions there. So when we learnt that most students don’t study computers, we decided to share what we knew with them. Within a week, the students picked up the basics of web design with HTML and even collaborated on a new design for the school website.”

Dev, just 10, said, “I experienced a high when my partner mikhail and I taught a few 10th grade students the basic rules of filmmaking. Our first project as a group was a feature on campus life. We also did a fun short film about two kids trying to escape from school. The story was put together and filmed by the students on our direction. We also participated in the school assembly, after which we filmed an anti-bullying video.”

In Mikhail’s view, most kids they interacted with liked acting as much as camerawork. “Our lessons in filmmaking, acting and editing were very well received.” Also a 10-year-old, he said the film on the two kids running away from school was an attempt at comedy. “The other project on bullying was an action film. It was about a new kid who was getting bullied but knew how to fight it, which caused an all-out war between the bullies, teachers and bystanders.”

For Alina, 14, the trip to the Druk school was nothing short of being “incredible”. “My workshops were on the use of Photoshop, the making of simple graphics and editing. I also taught the students how to greet people in different languages. I was also blessed with the opportunity to donate my pocket money and sponsor the education of one of them until graduation.”

Similarly, Krish, 16, pitched in with math classes.

The youngsters said they too had a lot to gain from Ladakh–from learning the local language and customs and adapting to hostile climatic conditions to appreciating nature’s beauty and being grateful for what they had.