My time with the Saphara student group 2018 was one filled with laughs and learning as we immersed ourselves in a totally different culture. I will bring back with me the passion and smiles of our pupils as a fond memory. From their dancing and singing to their general enthusiasm I have been inspired by their want to learn. I will never forget my time in India and all the amazing people I have met along the way.
Never did I expect to see such joy from a group of people living in the depth of poverty. We live in a society where we never have enough, we throw out what is broken, and take everything for granted, while the poorest people in India are content with the very little they have. Who would have thought that a 14 year old would be ecstatic to be presented with a simple sticker? That a 9 year old would insist on carrying your books to class for you? Or that an 18 year old would so eagerly request a hand shake? At first everything about India was loud, busy and frightening. As our travels came to a close, I viewed the country through completely different eyes. India is bright, cheerful and beautiful. The culture is strong, the food is great and the children are amazing! I return home with a newfound sense of compassion, the desire to do more to help others and to one day return to this wonderful place yet again.
Nothing could have prepared me for the last 10 days in India, the emotions, sights, sounds, relationships made along the way and the beautiful faces of the children we met. It is extremely hard, albeit impossible, to choose just one highlight from our trip. However, for me it has to be the children in Sneha Doon Academy. The warm smiles and handshakes we were greeted with everytime we walked past a classroom made my heart burst. It was hard to think that these children may not be given the same opportunities or reach their full potential due only to their circumstance. That is why it was amazing to see first hand the fantastic work Saphara are doing and the changes they are making to the lives of young people in India & giving these young people the opportunity.
Experiences like this truly change you and I am going back to Ireland a more appreciative and reflective person than before, with even more passion for education. As future educators we have such an important role in young peoples’ lives and our trip has highlighted the difference we can make.
The smiling faces of the loving children that greeted me everytime I walked into a classroom in Sneha was incredible! Teaching the pupils of Sneha has been one of the most amazing and enjoyable experiences I have ever had. The love, happiness and eagerness these pupils had to learn was fantastic to witness and to see children with so little aspire to fulfill their hopes and dreams was amazing to see. This is a teaching opportunity I will never ever forget!
Before going to India I had an image in my head of what it would be like, and it was ten times different! I had the best experience here over the past ten days and we did things I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to do. From planes, trains and vikrams we travelled to Delhi, Agra and Dekhradum. Arriving in Delhi we soon realised that India was a busy and noisy country, very different from home. The next day we travelled to the Taj Mahal which was amazing, people queued for hours to see this wonder of the world.
We then travelled to Agra where we visited the Kaplani high school and taught 15 year olds. It was clear how nervous and excited everyone felt before teaching however the children’s warm welcome soon put us to ease! After a day of teaching we walked through the Himalayas and the views were incredible.
We then continued our travels to the SNEHA school the following morning which was the beginning of the best week. I couldn’t believe that there were 47 students in each class which made me think if I would be able to control them all, much to my amaze the behaviour in this school is one which I had never experienced before and the children were so well behaved and respectful. We taught lesson from shapes, our feelings, our families, P.E. and music and the children loved every minute! Our last day at SNEHA school was an emotional one and no one wanted to leave. The children and teachers had practised all week to put on an outstanding assembly from Indian dancing to Punjabi Marshal Arts, I just couldn’t believe the talent each child here had. Later we travelled back to Delhi to prepare for the last day. First we went to the girls school to watch the graduation of the new B.E.d teachers, followed by a visit to the peaceful Lotus temple and the busy markets. We ended the day in the Irish embassy for dinner which was the best ending to a life changing trip!
Ríoghnach Moore, St.Marys University Belfast
Throughout the past 10 days in India, I have experienced things I never thought I would: things that cannot fully be understood through the use of words.
Firstly, I have loved being able to work as part of the Saphara team and have met some of the most incredible people. The Saphara staff members and the other students were so supportive and we had a great time working as a group.
Along with seeing some amazing sights, such as the Taj Mahal, the Gandhi museum and even trekking through the Himalayas, teaching in Sneha school was certainly my highlight of the entire trip. The children were an absolute pleasure to teach and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to practice in such a friendly, loving and supportive learning environment.
In seeing the work carried out by Saphara first hand, the trip has truly helped me to understand the struggles of some of India’s young people (young girls in particular) and has encouraged to me to do as much as I can to support them!
This was a trip I will never forget and I am extremely grateful to have had such an opportunity.
Aisling, St. Mary’s Univeristy College, Belfast.
The past 10 days in India has been an unforgettable experience! Working with an amazing group of girls both from Stranmillis and St Mary’s university was an amazing opportunity, allowing me to share teaching ideas and reflect upon the challenges and experiences we faced in India. Teaching in SNEHA school and Kaplani high school was unbelievable! I could not believe how loving, happy and welcoming these children were who were living in poverty and only had the basic essentials to live upon. These children will always have a place in my heart and I’m really glad that Saphara has give me the chance to participate in such a fantastic opportunity!
The biggest and brightest smiles I’ve ever seen came from the children at Sneha school. I feel so privileged to have met and had the opportunity to teach such wonderful children who continually strive to learn and cherish their education so dearly, despite living in such overwhelmingly deprived areas. The love each and every child conveyed to us every single day was overwhelming and teaching in Sneha school is an experience I will never forget.
Michaela Doherty– Stranmillis University College
I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to be part of an amazing experience with a great team! SAPHARA is doing a great work and the memories with the children of SNEHA will last a life time! My eyes have been opened to the poverty these children are living in and it’s been a privilege to be a small part of making them feel loved and valued!
Anna George, Stranmillis
“Complete.” A word some little boys in our Sneha class loved to shout when they finished their task. In one sense our time in India is complete. We have embraced the culture, given 100% in our teaching and most importantly we have loved well. It was an incredible experience which will never be forgotten. Although for us this experience is complete, the work in India is still ongoing. We leave India in the knowledge that the children we loved continue to attend school and have their lives transformed through the power of education. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela.
Suzanne HamiltonPosted in College Team – April 2018
on Tuesday 17 April 2018