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Final Reflections!

Saturday 21 February 2015

As we approach the end of our wonderful trip, we spent time with some inspirational young girls at Kalkaji Government School who, in spite of their impoverished circumstances, were flourishing through an innovative IT programme. Following this we visited the Lotus Temple where we had a chance to reflect on a week crammed full of many experiences, both inspiring and challenging.

Here’s a few of our final reflections:

It was a once in a lifetime experience and thanks to Christine’s exceptional planning, we had a wonderful trip. The highlight was visiting the schools and seeing the joy on the faces of the pupils who were so eager to please. Saphara is a wonderful organisation and we saw the results of all the hard work over the past 10 days.                                                    
          Sally McGahan

My second visit to India with Saphara and all expectations were exceeded. I was privileged to see the schools and the progress that has been made in the past few years. Donk Primary school was accessible this time (unlike during our last visit when it snowed) albeit after a long and challenging hike. I have been humbled and inspired by the truly inspirational people we have met. A wonderful experience!                                                                                                                                                                  Bernie Devlin

This trip was an overwhelming experience for me, but one that has also left with me hope and determination. The sheer volume of need, the injustice, the needless poverty, the discrimination which all of us have participated and co–operated in is startling. When we have the courage and humility to face up to it, we must change our thinking and behaviour if we really grapple with its implications. This is an enormous challenge and will take time to process and outwork. Saphara, though small, is really making a difference. Thanks to the Principals – it was a joy to work with them with the highlight for me being the teacher training day at SNEHA. Thanks to Christine, Dominic and Cheryl for their care, support and help with reflections. Let’s make a difference!         
Peter Dornan

What an amazing experience and humbling opportunity to visit all the Saphara schools in India. Fantastic staff and pupils in very difficult circumstances – 50 in a class is not easy. A brilliant journey and a great team.                                                                                                         Barbara Green

Looking back on my week in India I will certainly remember places and things I’ve seen but most of all I will keep in mind the children, the teachers and the villagers I met.  We saw the great challenges that marginalised and rural communities face but came away impressed by the tremendous courage, resourcefulness and dignity of the men, women and children who lived there. The teachers in SNEHA, Donk, and Kaplani schools and our own N Irish principals worked wonderfully together and I look forward to seeing this aspect of Saphara’s work developing.  Thank you to the principals and to Cheryl for making such a great contribution to the work of our Indian schools.    
       Dominic Breen 

Exceptionally well organised and planned from beginning to end with a variety of school contexts. A wonderful country of contrasts, of brilliance and of deep poverty and social injustice. However, in spite of this there is the hope for something better for these wonderful children – through inspirational ‘ordinary’ people doing extraordinary work.                                                Julie Taggart

‘Dreams are not those things that we see in our sleep; they are the things that never let us sleep’ (APJ Kalam). This seems to me to encapsulate the indomitable spirit of India. It is embodied in all of the people in the schools, in Surender and Prince David whose NGO work is doing so much to support the poor and the marginalised, and in the lovely Saphara team who I shared reflections with at the end of each amazing day. I don’t know yet how this experience will change me, but I know it will help me to keep dreaming.
     Jacqui Argument

 A huge thank you to our N Irish school principals who generously gave up their half–term break to come to India with Saphara. I know how much the Indian teachers appreciated your workshops and interactions equipping them as they seek to inspire the children to believe in their potential despite their difficult circumstances. Yet I know that the principals felt that they received just as much encouragement in meeting such amazingly passionate educators who make a huge difference to their students. These mutually empowering encounters are right at the heart of Saphara.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Christine Burnett

Posted in Principals Trip 2015
on Saturday 21 February 2015