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Final Reflections

Monday 22 April 2019

Taylor McCoy

Education IS empowerment. The past 11 days in India, working with SAPHARA at Kaplani and SNEHA, has made me realise just how empowering education really is. I feel truly honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity to work alongside my peers and incredible teachers to help those in their educational journey, if only for a short time.

Leah McCormick

Before joining the SAPHARA team, I knew India had a special place in my heart and I have loved being here over the last 11 days. Meeting the children and teachers in SNEHA and Kaplani helped me understand the value of developing relationships in the classroom. The team teaching with the other students encouraged and motivated me throughout our time in India. Seeing the impact of the Midday Meals and Girl Champions programmes was an experience I will never forget.

Catherine Maguire

My SAPHARA experience has been indescribable. I will be forever grateful to the teachers I met and to the children we taught and learnt from. This whole experience has been amazing and I feel so honoured to have been a part of it. The short but valuable time spent in India, teaching in Kaplani and SNEHA, has developed my educational outlook completely. Firstly, the teachers of SNEHA, are solely driven by the satisfaction of helping their pupils strive for better things through education.  Secondly, the children of both Kaplani and SNEHA are so grateful for education and this is reflected in their attitudes to learning. This trip was an experience I will never forget and I can only ask ‘When can I come back?’

Sarah Miller

I will never be able to fully describe the experience I have had over the past 10 days. Arriving at SNEHA in the Vikrams, seeing all the children lined up and singing songs in their assembly will be a moment I will never forget. The passion shown by the teachers of the school was truly inspiring as their hard work and dedication really brought the school to life. The pupils of the school will always have a place in my heart as their kindness and laughter made me smile every day. However, I think the best part of this trip was creating strong friendships with the team members from Stranmillis and St Mary’s which will hopefully last a life time.

Sarah Robinson

We each have a lot to learn from the children in Kaplani and SNEHA. I left home with a very open mind as I had no idea what to expect from the SAPHARA experience. I am coming home with many emotions as I witnessed the hardships that children and their families face to receive an education and even survive in their conditions. Very quickly, it became obvious that we really do take so much for granted. As a team, we were so shocked to realise how much the teachers wanted to learn from us, the student teachers, and how they were so thankful for every idea we shared with them. I hope I can always remember their yearning for more knowledge and training as I go forward in my teaching career. Despite their circumstances, the children in my class greeted me with such enthusiasm and a passion for learning every single day. I will never forget my SAPHARA experience and I will never again question if a difference can really be made in such a short time. Every encounter with a child has the potential to positively impact their life. I am so glad to be connected with a charity that I know really does change lives.

Erin Watts

I expected to come to India to teach children, but I didn’t expect to be taught such invaluable lessons from these children that I will never forget.

Aisling Johnston

My time on Saphara has been one of growth and laughter.  I learned so much, not only about the children we taught, but about myself and the kind of teacher I want to be.  Jo said the key to Saphara is relationships and this has been proven on this trip.  The relationships with the team, with the children we taught, with the teachers we taught alongside, with every person we met.  This has been an experience of a lifetime.  There are truly no words to describe the beauty of India and the people who live there.  I would tell anyone to jump at the opportunity to go. It is inspiring to see the hard work Saphara does in practice in the schools. A small gesture can make a huge difference.”If we want to reach real peace in this world, we should start educating children” – Mahatma Gandhi

Finbar Burns

I truly believe that India is one the most vibrant and exciting countries in the world. This Saphara trip was an experience that will live with me forever and has already left me itching to get back to India to help educate the impoverished and keep closing the gap in gender inequality. I made friends for life through an awe–inspiring experience.

Maria Armstrong

My experience with Saphara has been everything I could have imagined and more. It has given me a completely new out look on life. Seeing the children of Kaplani and SNEHA arrive to school so well presented, with smiles on their faces and eager to learn despite where they may come from filled my heart with so much joy. Saphara means journey with a purpose, and I don’t think I could sum up the past 10 days any other way; it is a charity that’s purpose is to help change the lives of those who need it most and from what I have seen this is certainly true. I am so privileged to say I have been a part of this fantastic charity, along side an amazing team and inspirational leaders.

Grainne Clancy

My Saphara adventure in India has been one that has opened my eyes and touched my heart in a way that can’t be put into words. I am humbled and honoured to have been given the chance to teach the amazing children in SNHEA and Kaplani who are so lovable and filled with such joy despite the poverty that they are faced with. The work of Saphara is without a doubt changing the lives of so many children in India and seeing where the money is going has given me a determination and drive to help Saphara in the future. 

Laura McKillop

My experience in India has had so many memorable moments; from learning I’m not as bad at dance as I thought… to a trip on a moped (sorry Jo). However, one thing I will always remember about India is the genuine joy and enthusiasm from the children and teachers we met in both Kaplani and SNEHA.  Another is looking over the wall in SNEHA on the last day and seeing people lifting rubbish from the river below. This really made me realise the importance of SNEHA as a safe haven and a chance to escape poverty and how vital the work of Saphara is in Dehradun.

Catherine McGarrity

It is difficult to summarise my experience with Saphara into a few words. I have experienced a whirl wind of emotions throughout the trip. The children in Sneha Doon Academy are amazing and uplifting, their warm smiles and greetings, their positive attitude and their dedication is indescribable. These children who come from impoverished backgrounds with nothing, who are able to come to this sanctuary like school have touched my heart. I am so humbled to have been a part of this school and contribute to the inspiring work carried out by Saphara. I feel truly changed by my experience, I am returning to Ireland a more knowledgable and aware individual who is determined to ensure that children recieve the opportunities which they deserve to achieve their full potential.


Posted in College Team 2019
on Monday 22 April 2019