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Final Reflections

Monday 27 July 2015

As the East Belfast team head home – here are our final reflections…

I came on Saphara to try and make some small difference to the lives of the people here, but the truth is the love they showed to us has made a real difference in mine. God has blessed me so much by allowing me to come to India and meet the amazing kids in Kaplani, Donk and SNEHA – I know I will never forget them. Especially their enthusiasm, generosity, and thankfulness for everything they have. Karis

Karis
Karis

The past 16 days have been exhausting, but extremely rewarding. When we began teaching, it was clear that we had almost as much to learn as the pupils at Kaplani. However, we left the school having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and feeling that we had achieved what we had set out to accomplish. Saphara is a trip that I will never forget, and I am delighted to have met all of the wonderful people in the various classes, the staff, and every member of the East Belfast team. Josh

Josh
Josh

When I was accepted onto Saphara, I was ecstatic – though slightly doubtful that it would change me as a person. Now the trip is over I can honestly say I have never been more wrong. The pupils who I taught in Kaplani and SNEHA moved me with their overwhelming enthusiasm and happiness towards their education. I will never forget these children, or any of this indescribably wonderful experience, and I am so thankful that I have been a part of it. Margot

Margot
Margot

Before coming to India I was very unsure as to whether it would change me a person and I was totally unaware of what to expect. However, now after 16 days here in India the experience has been over and beyond what I was expecting. The children’s eagerness to learn was inspiring, the trip has made me aware of and appreciate everything that I have. This has been an experience that I will never forget. Micheál

Micheal
Micheal

Before I came to India I knew that I was going over to teach Indian kids English, but I didn’t truly understand what that meant until our first day teaching in Kaplani. The children’s sheer enthusiasm and eagerness to learn will be something I will never forget and it really makes you try and appreciate the things you have even more. The last 16 days have been an incredible experience and I really couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend it with! Níall

Niall
Niall

Saphara has been everything and more than I could have ever imagined, I never thought that in 16 days I could do so much and make so many new friends. Teaching in all three schools taught me so much about India and the friendships I made with the students will never be forgotten. I have had an unforgettable trip. Although it was often hard and tiring, every moment has been special for me and I hope one day I can come back to India and visit all the amazing students and teachers that made the trip so special. Niamh

Niamh
Niamh

16 days. Thousands of miles. Alternating stoic endurance of taxing conditions – to deliver what we set out to achieve twelve months ago – with downright joy and thorough participation and delivery. There isn’t a one of us fresh or fragrant, but we are all sure we made a difference. There are so many more we need to reach, but that is for next time. Sam Quigg, Campbell College

Sam
Sam

Applying for Saphara was genuinely one of the best decisions I have ever made. And I don’t say that sort of thing lightly. From the first moment to the last, I can say hand on heart that we made a difference. Every member of the East Belfast team can be immensely proud of themselves – and showed great character from start to finish and the teachers were terrific also. Altogether, it was a fantastic experience and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Andy

Andrew
Andrew

Once more, an incredible Indian adventure! I have had the great privilege of working with wonderful teachers and students from N Ireland and India alike. Leading our team in their SNEHA teaching was a challenging experience, but I was so blessed to have enthusiastic and hardworking team players who showered all their classes with such love and respect. My personal highlight was embracing our mutual, intercultural love of music and singing. India and Saphara, you have surpassed my expectations yet again. It goes without saying that I will be back!! Michaela Mulholland, St Michael’s PS

Michaela leading choir
Michaela leading choir

The most amazing thing about Saphara was the relationships. The bond that we made with the children in all 3 schools was so strong that it brought us all to tears at one point or another. The camaraderie between the team itself was truly important as we inspired each other to be the best that we could be for the children. This trip was amazing and I would just like to thank the teachers – I will really appreciate the work my teachers do for me now know how much work goes on behind the scenes. Thank you Saphara! Nikolai 

Nikolai
Nikolai

Watching the Indian children’s eyes light up when we gave them small presents and the pride with which they showed us their homes has really shown me that things we take for granted are treasured by others. For me, there was no greater happiness than the feeling I got when watching the children understand something we taught – especially how special they were. Brónagh

Bronagh
Bronagh

I have most definitely learnt a lot… mostly that I have a heart as I was the first to cry leaving Kaplani – I could have stayed with Class 10 forever. The most poignant moment of my trip was definitely when Manisha promised me that she would work hard and become a nurse. To have that much of an impact was breath taking and that will stay with me forever. Walking into SNEHA to see the love and happiness radiating from the children and the teachers, was unlike anything I have seen before. Thank you Saphara for the best summer I could have imagined! Lucy

Lucy
Lucy

Even though I’d heard how life–changing and revolutionary Saphara would be, I never in a million years thought I’d be thinking of each child, each lesson and each day and smile uncontrollably as a result. The sharing, caring and loving was like a second–nature; every child was unbelievably willing to learn. These children have had such an irreversible effect on me and my aim now is to spread this joy and true happiness with everyone I know. Tara
The most poignant moment was when a group of SNEHA children brought us their homes. Seeing these unhygienic and cramped conditions at first made me feel disheartened at the thought of these children living here. However seeing their beaming faces as we entered their tiny one roomed houses and their pride when introducing their families was inspirational, something I will never forget. Thank you Saphara for the once in the lifetime experience and for changing my outlook on life for the better. Dara 

Dara
Dara

Each day was saturated with things that are worth remembering. One surprise was how close I became to my class in such a short space of time. It was just so obvious how appreciated we were by the children that I couldn’t help but get attached. The children are motivation enough to get you through the long evenings of class preparation. It all equates to an affecting experience that has altered the way I see even the simplest things that we take for granted. Wills

Willis
Willis

Before I went to India, I thought – could 16 days really change me that much? Now on my way home, I can only now begin to understand what Saphara is. In the four days we spent in Kaplani I formed a bond with my 11 students – I know I will ever forget their energy and I will always think about what they are doing. At the end of the four days it was so bitter sweet to walk out of the gates for the last time but I knew we had made a difference. But I soon started to realise that I was learning more from the people that I was supposed to be teaching. I don’t think I have ever felt such happiness as I have on this trip. Thank you Saphara for this trip and for all you do for the people that I have met. Ella

Ella
Ella

I am immensely proud of the East Belfast team as we journeyed together. One special moment was when Neetu from Class 5 proudly showed us around her home while holding my hand and asking if she could be my best friend. It has been a wonderful opportunity to take time out of my busy life to remember that we all need to be loved and valued and this has nothing to do with material goods. I hope that all of us will feel truly blessed and changed for the better from this experience and no matter what we do in life, that we learn to live simple so that others can simply live. Cathy McCrossan, Aquinas Grammar

Cathy
Cathy

16 days is a long time to be away from home, but I can honestly say that I have never had a better time in all of my life. This experience has had its challenges and its delights – and each one of us will return changed, if even a little. It would not have been the same without every single member of the team, a group of wonderful people who I have had the pleasure of getting to know inside out. I love you all, and I will never forget. Anna

Anna
Anna

Eventful, interesting and hopeful are the three words that come to mind after my 16 days in India. It has been a long and challenging journey but one I have fully enjoyed and will remember for years to come. I really enjoyed all of the teaching, especially in Kaplani HS, and getting to meet new and amazing people on the team and in the different schools we went to. These people have really been an inspiration and I think I would do well to be half as kind, heartfelt and as amazing for my life hereafter. Dáire 

Daire
Daire

This trip has completely changed the way I hold both myself and others. The inspirational people I met in both Kaplani and SNEHA opened my eyes to what truly matters in life. The kids in their joy of learning and the teachers in their love of what they do. I have been so blessed to have been on this trip with the most amazing people and our friendships will be ones that last a lifetime. This has not been a once in a lifetime trip – as one day I hope to go out to India and do this all again. Chris

Chris
Chris

I cannot think of two weeks I will ever treasure more than these past two. The friends I have made, both in the team and in the schools, and the memories that I am taking away far surpass any of my expectations. To see the gift of education we take for granted so coveted amongst the children we met is something I will never forget. The tears shed leaving Kaplani and SNEHA from both ourselves and the pupils spoke deeply of the impact on us all. I fully intend to keep in contact with the schools and the pupils, and to return to India in the future. Charlie

Charlie
Charlie

I started this trip felling confused, yet fascinated. The realisation that the normal living standards of everyday Indian people, is so far below our own, was difficult to accept. On our way to SNEHA each day we would drive over a bridge where the poorest of the poor struggle to survive. If I had to sum up my time in India, I would say that there were times when I was excited, happy, relaxed, stressed, scared, annoyed and exhausted. But would I do it all again. YES!!! Jeff

Jeff and Willis
Jeff and Willis

Saphara has been the most worthwhile experience of my life and I truly believe that I have gained a great deal personally from it, and it has given me a new lease on life so to speak. The pupils in both Kaplani and SNEHA were truly inspirational in their outlook and I would like to think that some of that has rubbed off in me and will benefit me in the coming years. Conor 

Conor and Andrew
Conor and Andrew

I joined the team as a teacher for many reasons some of which are: personal faith, a love for the poor and a strong desire to see my pupils thrive, flourish and be challenged in the trajectory and outlook of their lives. And so, on the other side of the trip I feel deeply privileged to have witnessed the way these amazing young people continually answered the call beyond what I ever could have expected. They witnessed heart–wrenching poverty which drove them on to make their lessons even better and their love more obvious. I have been profoundly challenged by this trip and my question as I go back home is – will I ensure that my life is devoted to helping those who need it? Andrew Miller, Sullivan Upper

Tara
Tara

What surprised me most about the trip was how attached we grew to the students we taught, even after only 4 days. The children were happy, selfless, and eager to learn, and seeing how much they valued their education was truly eye opening. Saphara has been a amazing experience for me, providing 16 days full of joy and amazing people that I will surely never forget. David

Posted in East Belfast 2015 Team
on Monday 27 July 2015