Each school year, young people from different cultural and religious backgrounds are selected to form our cross–community school teams.
These groups are built around respect, cooperation and curiosity and their goal is to facilitate meaningful encounters both within the group with the young people in India. The journey begins here in Ireland as our teams participate in residential weekends, training days and workshops to raise their awareness of the issues facing people living in poverty.
Our focus in India will be teaching English to young children and so an important objective of our training is to equip the young people with the skills they will need in the classroom.
Once we leave for India, our teams also begin a spiritual and emotional journey, which we foster throughout our time away. One key part of every day is the evening reflections, where team members discuss what they have seen, heard and felt, giving voice to their shared experiences. On a practical level, the teams prepare resources and teach lessons in many subjects, but always with an emphasis on improving the English language skills that are so important in the Indian education system. A vital aspect of every lesson is that the young Indian children, coming as they do from such deprived backgrounds, are made to feel valued and appreciated. Conversation classes with the senior pupils give a wonderful opportunity for the Irish and Indian students of the same age to exchange ideas, compare cultures and share dreams and aspirations.
“It’s easy to think on these trips that we are the ones doing things; we have brought out resources, we are teaching them and have fundraised for them. But those children and their teachers at SNEHA will never realise that we’ve have gained in abundance…more than they will ever know.”