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Final Reflections

Wednesday 1 August 2018

My Saphara experience was one I will not forget in a hurry. The cultures, values and sense of life we have experienced over the past two weeks has been incredible. Our team was been so close, which made working with the children all the more special. The children we met at SNEHA and Kaplani schools were filled with so much joy and showed such a love for learning in spite of their background. This experience has put so much into perspective about how we view our own education and our advantages in life. The skills I have gained from this experience have been invaluable.

Sophie Nelson, Sullivan Upper School

My Saphara journey has been such a life changing experience. The children’s energy, motivation and eagerness to learn in the classroom, despite their difficult living conditions, is something I will never forget and I feel privileged to have worked with such special kids.

Casey McConville, St Ronan’s College

Travelling with 21 team members and 4 teachers has been the most amazing journey. Hearing about the children’s dreams to become teachers, doctors and engineers was really inspiring. I would not have been as motivated as them at their age. Overall the experience was life changing and the dynamic between the team was something I will never forget and it made my experience ten times better.

Ellie Malcolm, Priory Integrated College

Saphara has been the best experience of my life so far, beginning with a massive culture shock with all of the different sights and smells, you could tell that we were far away from home. Teaching at SNEHA has been the most enjoyable and rewarding thing I have done as seeing the young children react so happily when you just smile and wave at them, that’s a golden moment I will never forget. Leaving SNEHA after 5 days was difficult as everyone became attached to their classes and knowing that my pupils and I have now gone our separate ways really makes me want to come back and do this all over again!! I am so grateful to Saphara for giving me this life changing opportunity and it has really open my mind about what things I take for granted and complain about at home; things which would be considered a luxury for many people in India. My Saphara journey has made me strive to become a better person who is grateful for the little things in life.

Karl McCullough, St Patrick’s Grammar School

Having this experience has completely changed my life. If I did not come here, with this team and with these leaders, I would not feel how I feel right now. I feel so privileged to have what I have in my life, this trip has really opened my eyes. Having the experience of teaching all types of ages, and experiencing the walks the children do just to get an education, that we back home take for granted, has really motivated me to do more. Best 16 days of my life, and I am so glad I got to spend it with such supportive and amazing people.

Lauren Matthews–McAllister, Priory Integrated College

Saphara gave me the incredible opportunity to see first–hand the huge difference we all can make to the lives of others as individuals and as a team. The past two weeks have been truly unforgettable and, though I came to teach, I cannot believe how much I have learnt. Each member of the team was inspired everyday by the unwavering drive of the pupils we taught, making us all appreciate our own privileged lives so differently. The people we met like Dr Reeta and Surender proved to us the huge impact one person can make to the lives of so many and encouraged all of us to look to the future with their positive determination for change. India itself is a truly unique country full of culture and colour and I cannot imagine sharing this challenging yet exciting experience with better team.

Rebecca Bolton, Sullivan Upper School


This has been an experience I will never forget and always cherish. I came to India with my first intention to teach the school children but in fact they also taught me to appreciate what you have got in life regardless of how little and to always tackle life with a smile. I could not have done this without my Saphara team as we were all there for each other and worked well to be a great team. I have witnessed some shocking scenes on this trip but I hope to be more encouraged to make a difference. It has been a joy to work with the children in both Kaplani and SNEHA and I hope that I made a difference to their lives.

Hasan Ghafoor, Sullivan Upper School

This has truly been a life changing experience! It was such a thrilling journey and every second was fascinating. The last 16 days has changed my life in so many ways. It is without a doubt something I will never and could never forget. I’ve definitely had some of the best moments of my life on this trip, seeing the children’s faces while you teach as they look at you in awe is such a heart–warming and thrilling feeling! It’s hard to believe it’s over, it really has been an amazing experience with a group of the most amazing people.

Kristen Magee, St Ronan’s College

My experience of India through Saphara has been challenging and exciting. The hustle and bustle of Dehradun and Delhi to the pounding of rain on the roofs at Mussoorie is part of a journey I will never forget. The bright smiles of the school children, immaculate clothing and bright colours lie in stark contrast to the conditions in which they live. I found this particularly challenging but oddly in ways comforting that in a small way, I was helping to make a difference. I could not have shared the experience with better people!

Hannah Jemphrey, Sullivan Upper School

My experience with Saphara has been everything I could have ever imagined and more. It has opened my eyes to some of the injustices of the world but, equally, it has opened my eyes to some of the things I could be doing, in India and when I get home, to help those who truly need it. It has shown me that even if the difference I make is seemingly insignificant in the ‘big picture’, it can be life–changing to an individual. These past 2 weeks have been an amazing and life–changing experience.                     

Sarah Robinson, Sullivan Upper School

The last 16 days have been eventful to say the least, and they have certainly had their ups and downs. Of course, with the ups being getting to work with so many bright children from both SNEHA and Kaplani and the fact that they are always so happy and hardworking, given some of their backgrounds, is truly inspiring. Definitely another up would be getting to know my Saphara team better and realising how everyone cared for each other and also seeing how much fun we could all have together. On the other hand, as I said it wasn’t always a smooth ride, as I think every night everyone one was really tired, and also the odd bit of sickness tends to get you down as well. However, I wouldn’t change this experience for the world, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, and for this I can’t thank Saphara enough, for giving me this opportunity, and everyone else on my team, for making it a truly enjoyable experience.

Jack McNeill, Sullivan Upper School

Saphara: Journey with Purpose. I don’t think anything sums up my experience throughout the past 16 days more. The purpose of Dr Reeta, the truly inspirational principal of SNEHA: educating, supporting and simply showing what a strong woman can achieve. The purpose of Donk and Kaplani: providing an education to even the most rurally situated children. The purpose of our leaders: to support us through the amazing times, the good, the bad and the overwhelming times. As Paula says, “to be the mum away from home.” And finally, the purpose of all the 21 students: to have understood the necessity of fundraising in changing lives but to have appreciated that there is no greater gift than love, smiles and generosity of the heart. In my eyes, this is what Saphara is, generosity of the heart.

Meabh Turbitt, St Ronan’s College

The past 16 days have been a blast from getting closer to the team and meeting so many amazing kids. From SNEHA to Kaplani, the kids have been motivated and hardworking in everything they do always remembering to smile and bring fun to every lesson. Saphara has allowed me to travel to new world filled with inspirational people. It’s a trip I will never forget!

Matthew Graham, Down High School

The past 16 days have provided me with an experience of a life time. I loved teaching the kids in both SNEHA, Donk and Kaplani. All the kids taught me so much through their own individual personalities, such as to appreciate all things in life, and that no matter how low you are feeling you are never too low to smile as this can just brighten someone’s day. It amazed me how bright and bubbly these kids were and they never failed to make my day with their smiles and outgoing personalities. I also loved getting to bond with my team mates and become like one big family. Saphara has really inspired me to do something like this again in the future in order to help make a difference in life.

Georgia Hamill, Priory Integrated College

Saphara has been an amazing experience that has enabled me to make a difference and help enrich children’s lives by showing interest in them and by spending time with them. After spending so much time together, we have all really bonded as a team and I have seen everyone become much more selfless and compassionate towards each other. It was a privilege to be able to teach these incredible children who are so well–mannered and content with the little they have in life. It was life–changing to see the marginalised community where many of the SNEHA students live and seeing how they manage to come to school every day spotless, eager to learn and full of excitement. This trip has changed my perspective on life and what the important things are, and it has taught me to be less materialistic and value friendships and my opportunities much more.

Phoebe Patterson, Sullivan Upper School


This experience has been two things, life changing and worth it. The two and a half weeks I have spent in India, travelling, teaching, making friends for life and most importantly making a difference to the children’s lives, is a period of time that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I have loved being part of such an amazing group and feel that it really has been a journey with purpose.

Odhrán Dougan, St Patrick’s Grammar School

My ‘Journey with Purpose,’ with Saphara has been more than I could have ever imagined. I have gained invaluable experience and life changing memories that I will cherish forever. Not only did I have the opportunity to teach and bring smiles to the faces of some of the most disadvantaged children, I was able to learn so much from them too. Their positive attitudes, determination and dedication to their education have truly inspired me.

Katie Smyth, St Ronan’s College

My Saphara journey has been the most incredible experience that I have ever been a part of and it would not have been the same if I did not have the team that I have been a part of. The journey that I have been a part of would not have a meaning if it was not for the children that we had raised money for and went out to see in India, it wouldn’t have been worthwhile at all. Being around these children that literally come from nothing really makes you appreciate what I have at home. Having these children around you really make you thankful. Overall, the Saphara trip has been absolutely amazing and a life changing opportunity to be a part of.

Áine McKenna, St Ronan’s College

My Saphara journey has been filled with so many different emotions. Watching those children come into school laughing and all smiles and in absolute immaculate condition after visiting the marginalised community which was truly astonishing and shocking to see. I have learned that it doesn’t matter what your background is, you can make something of the life you have. After that it would be hard to not be totally inspired and determined to make a difference no matter how small as we have seen first–hand how much even a small difference makes to every single one of those kids. This trip has been totally heart–warming and very inspirational and I have only Saphara to thank for that opportunity. Lastly, the trip wouldn’t have been what it was without having such an amazing team round me. Every single person cared for each other and helped each other through the times we were feeling a wee bit down. Life changing experience.

Dessie McCorry, St Ronan’s College

Saphara for me has meant the experience of a lifetime; it has meant that I had the opportunity to learn from the most amazing, bright, young individuals. The experience of working with these children was not only life changing but so valuable as well. The children’s smiles of joy and happiness during all classes even in the smallest of things were so amazing and have changed my view completely. I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience this and could not thank Saphara more; the team was so supportive of each other and made the whole trip utterly life changing.

James Daggett , St Ronan’s College

My Saphara journey has been filled with so many different emotions and memories which I will cherish for a very long time.  From the people I have met in my team and the children I have met in Donk, Kaplani and SNEHA they all together have made this one of the best trips I have ever been on. I really did not want to leave India!  It has been so challenging seeing the children coming from so little but each and every one of them aim to make every day they have the best they can and throughout this trip this is what I have aimed to do.  It is also something I will aim to do for a very long time.  If I didn’t have the same team who were always there supporting me and caring form me this definitely would have been a very different trip.  I will be praying for the children out there and especially those children who go to SNEHA.  Overall, I cannot thank Saphara enough for providing me with this amazing opportunity and making this a summer I will never forget. It was a wonderful thing to be a part of!

Zara Shaw, Priory Integrated College

Having had the privilege of participating in Saphara’s most recent summer trip to India, it is clearly evident that amidst immeasurable poverty and extreme social and economic inequalities, the charity is providing opportunities where previously there were none, simply and effectively through one of the most basic human rights – education. The beautiful energy of the children and their zest for knowledge and for life was both moving and uplifting. It is easy to see why teams return year on year to both SNEHA and Kaplani schools, fostering resilience and achievement, raising awareness and above all building hope of a better future for each of them and their families. Saphara is truly a journey with purpose. It will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Celine Moore, teacher, Priory Integrated College

My two weeks away with Saphara have been a rollercoaster. I wonder if the words amazing and incredible cover it enough. To see the growth of the young people with us and the friendships we

have all made has been amazing. We have all shared experiences which simply cannot really be put into words. Putting on my teacher hat, I am so full of pride after seeing the final performances in SNEHA. Those children were inspiring in their determination, patience, resilience, commitment and motivation to learn. Something perhaps we should all be taking a little bit of away with us. When we see what these children come from, it is such a pleasure to share just a little bit of our time with them. Thank you Saphara for this opportunity to share in your vision.

Caroline Hall, teacher, Sullivan Upper School

I was wanting to experience on this trip a sense of complete newness of culture as I have travelled extensively. I was not disappointed. I was humbled by the generosity of people who have so little, the beauty of the landscape, the overwhelming determination and self–worth of their work ethic. It has opened my eyes even more to appreciate the little things in life that bring an abundance of happiness for which I am truly grateful.

Mona Robinson, teacher, St Ronan’s College                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                

 

Posted in Lurgan & Holywood Team 2018
on Wednesday 1 August 2018