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B&M Final Reflections

Saturday 15 July 2017

B&M team 2017 Final Reflections

Saphara has been a journey that has changed my outlook on life completely. The dedication and pride the children I taught demonstrated in their education touched me deeply and taught me to appreciate what I have in life. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried but most of all I have made memories which I will cherish forever.

Katie Mann, Dominican College Fortwilliam

This trip has been an incredible experience with amazing people and I would definitely do it all again! My highlight of this trip has been the eagerness of the Indian children to learn and their willingness to be educated. I’ve taught them some English, Maths and Science and they’ve taught me that even when I feel I have nothing I actually do and I should really value everything in my life.

Emma Loughery, Dominican College Fortwilliam

When we think of inspirational people, generally we imagine our heroes–those achieving the unimaginable in the eyes of the world. Little did I know, heroes can be found in the humble slums of Dehradun or trekking the Himalayas daily in the hopes of a brighter future. After these two and a half weeks I can say with absolute certainty that if my Saphara 2017 journey has made me even a fraction as selfless, gracious and passionate as the people I have been able to meet through Saphara then this has undoubtedly been the best possible way I could spend my summer.

Maria Murray, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

This journey has taught me many things about myself. Ultimately it has taught me that I came to India a selfish and proud person; however I am leaving humbled and with a new sense of value and worth.

Conor McAuley, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

What struck me the most was the happiness of the children we met. When we visited the slums my eyes filled with tears as I imagined myself in their shoes for a day. However, a young girl dressed in purple, filthy rags grabbed my attention as she reached out to shake my hand with the biggest smile. She taught me that it is not money that makes the world go round – but positivity and happiness.

Rebekah Weston, Dominican College Fortwilliam

My time in India has been extraordinary! What a “jiffy” two and a half weeks I have had. Learning that education is key and to appreciate everything back home was reinforced by meeting many inspirational people like Dr Reeta Rao and Surender Singh. I will never forget this experience. Thank you Saphara! This journey has marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Clare Mulholland, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

People think Saphara is about Irish students teaching disadvantaged Indian children – but it is actually the other way around. We get to teach them valuable subject such as Maths, English and Science but they teach us the important stuff. Stuff like how to be happy with nothing and how simple acts of kindness can make your whole day. Most importantly these children have taught me that even if you are living in a mud house with eight other people or have to trek two hours through the mountains to get to school you can still do the things you want to in life if you work hard, have a lot of dedication and focus on the things you have rather than the things you don’t have.

Oran McNaughton, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

Saphara has been a life–changing experience for me. Before I left I considered school a chore but after seeing how much the children in the Indian schools we worked in, appreciated their education and how much they valued everything we taught them, I have learned to fully appreciate the privilege of my education.

Ciara McTaggart, Dominican College Fortwilliam

The bonds we built at Kaplani were so evident in the colourful and handmade cards presented to us on our final day of teaching. It really showed me how much of an impact my teaching really had on the kids and how much they appreciate everything that comes to them.

Aliesha McNally, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

The Saphara experience has been one of a kind and I will always look back fondly on it. To see how even stickers made these children’s faces light up shows just how little they have and to me emphasises why we help. I’m overwhelmed by the purpose inherent in this journey we have all been on and am proud to have been involved this year.

Aaron Hughes, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

When I closed my books after my final exam in May little did I know that this would not be the last thing I would be learning this academic year. My highlight of the journey was the significant impact the children have had on me. I’ve learned many lessons from them these past two and a half weeks despite coming out with the expectation that they would only be learning from me. I will forever be grateful for this experience.

Anna Martin, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

I came to India not knowing what to expect. I was unaware of how much my inexperienced teaching could affect the lives of so many children. I was oblivious as to how the things that I thought were so simple, make such a difference to these children. I got first–hand experience of how life can be through conversation classes, as I spoke to so many children who lived in slums. Being part of Saphara really was a life–changing experience.

Padraig Hamilton, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

Before I came on Saphara I had no idea what to expect. I knew about the poverty but I had no idea it was so vast. With Saphara I witnessed urban and rural poverty. Both experiences have changed me for the better. In my opinion the children who come from impoverished backgrounds deserve all the opportunities that we can help provide for them. They are the most hardworking, attentive and interesting kids I have ever met and I hope to continue to do my part to help them flourish in the future.

Conall Finnegan, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

Leading up to our trip I was apprehensive as to how much it would actually affect me. I honestly didn’t believe that these children would have an impact on me. After my first day in Kaplani I realised how wrong I was. These relationships strengthened throughout the week and by Thursday when we had our final lesson and the children presented us with cards they had made for us, it was a truly humbling experience. The past 16 days have been some of the best in my life. Saphara has changed my perspective on the world in ways I never thought possible. I am extremely grateful to Saphara for all I have experienced.

John Walker, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

I always knew that my journey to India would impact me but I never knew just how much it would. I am coming home having gained so much more than I have given through teaching in Kaplani, Donk and SNEHA. I know what I have gained will stay with me the rest of my life.

Bríd McGee, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

Before coming on this journey, I was very apprehensive and nervous as I didn’t know if I would enjoy myself  but from day one this trip has been the most incredible journey I’ve ever been on. I thought I was just going out to teach the children but in reality they have taught me so many valuable skills which have shaped me into a better person. I now appreciate the simple things in life, such as family so much more and I will treasure the memories and friendships I have made for the rest of my life.

Aoife Rafferty, Dominican College Fortwilliam

Spending 45 minutes giving out stickers to primary school kids in SNEHA has shown me that joy can be found in the smallest of things if you have the right perspective.

Oisin Donaghy, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

Saphara 2017 – what an experience! From the minute I stepped off the plane I was eager to embrace a culture and a life so different from my own. The houses, the roads, the weather – everything! The guilt hit me straight away. How can these individuals live on the pavement sheltered by only a bare tree, yet I live in luxury? Something I know I will deeply miss is those delicate and delighted faces each time I stepped into the room of Class 8 at Kaplani High School and Class 3 at SNEHA, knowing these children have walked hours to get there. Nothing will ever give me a better feeling. Saphara summed up for me has been the best two and a half weeks of my life. Until next time, India…

Annie Groom, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

Before the trip, I would have considered myself to be a closed book with little emotion to show. When I finished teaching the students in Kaplani they showered me with hugs and gifts that really showed me the impact that I had on them. I really am going to miss them.

Liam Cosgrave, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

I came to India with an ungrateful attitude. Seeing the children at both Kaplani and SNEHA and their willingness to learn and go to school even when their home life isn’t the best has amazed me. A highlight for me was when I was teaching in Kaplani. At the start of the week there was a girl who was so shy and wouldn’t look at me when I was speaking to her. By the end of the week she was the first to put up her hand an answer. It was wonderful to see how I affected her confidence and how much it has built up my own confidence too.

Emma Young, Dominican College Fortwilliam

I came to India with the intentions of expecting just what it says on the tin – but after experiencing first–hand the massive difference between the rich and the poor and seeing face to face what many families go through every day, I have been impacted a lot. I think it has not just affected me as an individual but the mind–set of our whole group to life.

Ronan Murphy, St. Malachy’s College Belfast

Going in, I never thought I could learn so much about both myself and about life from my encounters with so many special individuals. Throughout the journey it felt almost more like the children were teaching us – rather than us teaching them. I gained a lot over the course of my time spent in India; new attitudes, fresh perspectives and a desire to travel and help those truly in need. Saphara 2017 – a truly gratifying experience and one I will look back on very fondly forever.

Ronan Hughes, St. Mary’s Grammar School Magherafelt

Lotus Temple
Lotus Temple
Posted in Belfast & Magherafelt Team 2017
on Saturday 15 July 2017