Day 5 – First Day in Sneha
This morning’s wakeup call brought great excitement with it as we knew that we would visit Sneha school for the first time. Outside the hotel, our vikrams awaited and we travelled in true Indian style through Dehra Dun’s traffic. As we approached the school we were faced with the first harsh reality of the trip as Christine pointed out the river bed around which many of Sneha’s pupils live. However, these pupils that come from such humble backgrounds greeted us with fantastic smiles and waves as we approached the school.
Sneha presented itself as a haven within the challenging surroundings. The school building itself is so impressive and paired with Dr Reeta Rao’s story of how it was established was truly awe–inspiring. I was touched by Dr Reeta’s story of how she turned her back on a high–profile medical job to help the children of the marginalised community gain an education, and in turn an escape from poverty. One message rang in my ears throughout the story “You’ve got to keep the faith.” It was amazing that such a simple idea had developed into a school that was home to 1100 pupils and that Saphara had aided this amazing establishment.
A music filled assembly greeted us with a focus on faith, positivity and empowerment led by the year 7,8 and 9 girls. From the beginning we could tell that this was a school filled with love and support. Before we knew it, it was time to step into the classroom. I taught in Year 7 alongside Michaela and Melissa. We were so impressed by the level of English that was being taught as the pupils could fluently engage in conversation as we played ice breakers and got to know them. The pupils enthusiastically participated in our lessons and the classroom was somewhere that we felt right at home from the beginning.
We left Sneha filled with joy, excited for our return to the smiling faces in the morning.
Ciara Rafferty, St. Mary’s University College
on Tuesday 10 April 2018