We started the day with something that I’m sure none of us will ever forget: a visit to the marginalised community. We went in groups of 6 or 7, with Dr Reeta or her son, Ron, as guide. First, we stood half way across the bridge, which leads to the other, main section of the community. As we looked up and down the river it was full of rubbish with small children wandering along it, filling white bags with rubbish for their families to recycle. It is hard to imagine 20 years ago when there was no bridge and everyone had to walk through it. This is one of the great influences SNEHA School has had on its surrounding area, increasing demand for infrastructure and resources.
We walked back across the bridge down a short alley to a small group of rooms. We all found it almost impossible to comprehend that families of 6 or 7 were living, eating and sleeping in these tiny rooms by ourselves with no beds or furniture. The heavy monsoon rain meant there was mud everywhere; yet in spite of this, women in their brightly coloured saris were brushing and cleaning their homes and smiling at us in welcome. No photographs could explain fully this shocking experience to you, never mind a thousand words.
Going back into school was strange after the realisation that almost all the children at SNEHA live in this marginalised community. Their pristine uniforms put ours to shame, and they are even more unbelievable when you realise where these children wake up every morning. However, we all decided to use our experience to teach these children with even more love and passion than we had before.
It was lovely to get to know each of the children in our little groups more, and see them progress in their English, as well as meeting new children that hadn’t been at school the past two days. The children that were more reserved on the first day are becoming more and more comfortable with us, and it is amazing to see the transformation some of them have gone through from the first day as they have grown in confidence. We taught three young classes, finishing our crafts and beginning the preparations for our short performance tomorrow, Thursday. I am teaching Class 1 and I really enjoyed seeing how unique and different my two small groups’ art and way of working was: let’s just say that the finished results, although both great, were very different!
Our final conversation classes were bittersweet as we saw all the Class 9 and 10s for the last time. As we have chatted to them over the past few days we have all grown quite attached to them, and will miss their rapping, dancing and singing. Most importantly, we will miss our conversations with each of them as, despite coming from such different backgrounds, we have all grown close to each other and have realised how much we have in common.
After school we had a treat: all of us got henna tattoos. There is a program at Sneha School which teaches the girls how to apply henna and we all sat on the ground as the Saphara girls got a pattern on the front or back of their hands, and the boys got their names on their forearms in Hindi.
An amazing day!
Sarah RobinsonPosted in Lurgan & Holywood Team 2018
on Wednesday 4 July 2018