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Giving hope for the future

Saturday 2 August 2014

On this the last day of our 4th and final Saphara team in India I am filled with many emotions including pride at how wonderfully our 90 young people and teachers have responded to the challenges of teaching in Kaplani SNEHA and Donk schools. 

Our young people have communicated much more than the English lessons they’ve been asked to teach – showing the Indian children how special they are and what potential they have to do something amazing in their lives. Our NI teachers have been unfailingly encouraging with their fledgling young teachers – we teachers discovered that facilitating others to teach is much harder than teaching a lesson yourself! Watching the young people flourish in the classrooms has been a real joy for us all.

Yet as we head home to hot showers and clean water and comfortable beds, we remember that the young people we leave behind must continue to cope without any of these luxuries. Do we truly deserve to have everything while they have nothing? Will we remember them in a way that will make a difference to their ongoing difficult lives?

The Scholars
The Scholars

One way in which we can do this is through the Saphara scholarship programme. It was a great joy last week to spend time with the 10 Kaplani students we are supporting – 4 to go to university – Lokendra, Kamlesh, Sangeeta and Babita – and the other 6 to attend Sixth Form College. To hear of their dreams for the future and how they give back to their families. One inspiring young woman is Kamlesh from the poorest Dalit family who has completed the first 2 years of her BA degree. As well as her studies, she works in a chai café where she earns enough to support her widowed mother. Recently her concerns about her young brother’s poor school attendance has prompted her to bring him to live with her so she can ensure that he goes to school every day. Her mother is so proud of her that she says, ‘She’s like a son to me!‘ (It’s not so long ago that this was the ultimate compliment from an Irish mother!)

So as we head home I think of the others who as yet we haven’t been able to support like Heena – a SNEHA school girl from a very poor Muslim family in the Dehradun slums who longs to become a nurse. If you’d like to support Heena’s dreams please get in touch.

Thanks. Christine

Posted in Christine
on Saturday 2 August 2014