Taj in the Rain
11th July 2015
After a quick breakfast at 5am we loaded onto the bus for the long journey to Taj. We hoped for a little more sleep on the journey however the male coach chorus had other ideas. Thankfully there was no stopping the choir led by David and Nikolai with their endless repertoire of songs and chants. However, we all joined in for a rendition of ‘If I were a butterfly’ complete with actions and laughter.
Approximately 62 songs later we arrived at the Taj Mahal and despite the rain the views were magnificent allowing for an abundance of photos. By the end of the tour we were very hungry so a quick bus journey and a couple of songs later we arrived at the incredible Trident Hotel where we were treated to a delicious 5 star meal and some luxurious toilets (which were well received by all!) Some of the boys (and 1 or 2 girls) went up to the fabulous buffet multiple times – no names given!
With full stomachs and fresh faces we boarded the bus once more for a visit to the amazing Agra Fort but the rain didn’t dampen our spirits. Our very chatty tour guide informed us on the history behind these beautiful monuments. Tara was pleased to learn that she shares the name with the goddess of money and Wills enjoyed getting a few snaps with the locals. After a further 4 coach songs we found ourselves at the Marble Factory. We watched a demo of how the tiles of the Taj Mahal were made. Our tour guide taught us the tricks of the trade so now all of us could spot fake marble from a mile away. Josh and Charlie enjoyed browsing the fabrics while Níall was intrigued by the delicate hexagonal marble designs.
After finally dragging the boys away from the fabrics we were back on the bus and ready for the journey home. While most of us were hoping for some well–deserved shut eye, the male chorus made their triumphant return. Finally after 1435 songs we arrived back at our hotel, thankfully for the boys as Lucy was at her wits end with the music. We packed our bags and collapsed into bed, ready for our train journey tomorrow to Dehradun.
Micheál, Niamh and Dara
Into the Clouds
12th July 2015
We left bright & early this morning to get the train to Dehradun – a lot of us snoozed then got excited for our first week teaching!
We then stopped in Dehradun for some lunch and met the North Belfast Team who have just left Kaplani – the school which we’re teaching in tomorrow! It was so good to hear their stories and get some advice, which increased our excitement even more.
After a busy day travelling we have arrived in the fabulous Himalayas. Everyone is happy and well and busy planning our 1st lessons for tomorrow at Kaplani High school. The Internet is poor so we will give you all the details of our past few days tomorrow. We have had an amazing first weekend and hope you all at home aren’t missing us too much!
13th July 2015
After a long, winding journey (with purpose), we arrived at Kaplani HS to finally begin our first day of teaching. With an impressive welcome during the morning assembly, we were utterly blown away by the passion and enthusiasm displayed by the children and their willingness to learn. Our excitement and anticipation heightened when we were invited to take part. As school children ourselves we often disregard the benefits of a morning assembly and we all simultaneously remembered them.
Then straight to teaching. All three of us had the pleasure of teaching class 6, the equivalent of first years back home. All six of us were nervous, as we were told the day before by the North Belfast team that we should prepare ourselves for an eventful day. To be honest, after a long night of “kaplanning”, this wasn’t what we needed to hear!
But thankfully, the pupils were exceptionally well behaved. We got stuck in immediately, with an aim to remind them how special they are – within only half an hour, they were singing and dancing to our “Special” song.
Our next two lessons were science. Now…having struggled with chromatography during GSCE, and with over half of our small team not even having studied chemistry, you can imagine our dismay when we found out we were teaching it to first years AND with a language barrer. Luckily for us, the children were so fascinated that we got away with it!
We could tell you so much more but lesson planning for tomorrow calls!
Tara, Chris & Andrew
Another Amazing Day
14th July 2015
Waking up at 7am seemed like a sweet lie–in compared to what our body clocks are accustomed to. After a typical Indian breakfast of cornflakes and toast, we headed out to the taxis where we were greeted by the legend Surrender among others.
To our great delight, Aretha Franklín was blaring in the car, and we all sang along to our favourite tune of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. As the journey passed we observed the mountainous views of the Himalayas, which were something else, we can tell you that for free.
When we arrived we were greeted by our new m8s, with their wonderful smiles of welcome. Fast forward to the assembly, where we all chorused along to our second favourite tune of ‘If I were a butterfly’. Basically, this is a wee number which was particularly enjoyed by William Preston.
As we were greeted again by the amazing enthusiasm of our Class 7 fam, suddenly we knew that the long hours of preparation were more than worth it. Something that hits you when you meet the children here is their joy just to see you, and their excitement to learn.
In our first lesson of personal development, we soon encountered a few more emotions, as we taught the children about happiness, anger, sadness and excitement. A highlight of Niko’s day was when one boy who was struggling with English was able to suggest something that made him happy – his family.
You’d think that teaching science to second years would be an absolute ‘mare and a half – far from it! We had never seen children so excited to learn about the components of white light. Conor, Niko and Dáire found that some children near the back of the class were struggling to read the board, due to distance and ability with English.
We found writing on small white boards and being able to make sure the children, who were struggling, could get everything they needed to write. In a class full of boys, Karis was grateful to have the company of 3 beautiful girls – Ratika, Kavita and Arti.
Small groups were an amazing way to build deeper relationships with them and learn all about their lives, while making bracelets and learning some Indian dances. Lunchtime was a sure highlight for all of us, when boys and girls of all ages joined together in the most boisterous rendition of ‘The Hokey Kokey/Pokey’ you ever did see. Of course, nothing could stop the lads from a classic game of rugby in the playground.
After a really encouraging day at Kaplani High School, we were all exhausted, but the thought of scheduled craic at 9pm kept us going. Everyone loves a good bit of scheduled craic. Awk sure, you know yourself like.
By Conor and Karis, with special thanks to Charlie, David and boy Dáire.
‘Thank you for Respecting Me’
15th July 2015
This morning began with us dining with the monkeys for breakfast – they were outside the dining room while we were inside! We then made our usual journey to Kaplani High School. During the day some of the group visited the HTB primary school (who get midday meals from Saphara every day) and both taught and learnt songs from the children. One of which was ‘Spring Chicken’ which quickly became a favourite.
During teaching, Wills experienced a moment which reminded us why we are here in India. In Class 7 (Wills’ class), he was teaching the boys in his group when 1 girl joined them. So he took the opportunity to teach the boys the concept of ‘Ladies First’ – and he was so moved when in response the girl, Ratika said “Thank you for respecting me.”
Another highlight of teaching today was when a boy in David’s class wrote a Hindi phrase for him which was “tum mera aacha dost hoon” which translated to “you are my best friend”. How great to know that the children realise that we really care about them!
After teaching we trekked up to the village where Charlie broke umbrella number two just minutes after purchasing it (but sure we’ll say nothing). We then got our usual fabulous ice cream and headed home.
Teaching prep then began and we made small present packs and cards for each of the children in Kaplani, in preparation for our last day. For dinner we ordered Pizza and we ate it so quickly we were like wee birds from Castle Espie. We then had our reflection and everyone shared their most special moment of the day. Everyone then headed to bed to prepare for the inevitably emotional day that would follow, due to it being our last day in Kaplani High School.
Our Amazing Trip to Donk
16th July 2015
Day 9 began with an early breakfast, everyone feeling a little tired from the week’s teaching but eager to get to Donk. We had the usual breakfast food then each made a pack lunch to bring with us on the trek – along with our own ‘home comforts’. Then, before setting off on our taxis, it was time for our daily tranquilisation by Christine’s magical ‘herbal medicines’, otherwise known as travel sickness tablets. We began our trek fresh as daisies, with the exception of sorry few who, quite frankly, epitomised the general appearance of sick stegosauruses.
The main man Surender enriched our hiking experience with some compelling folklore regarding the surrounding area. When we eventually made it to Donk Primary school,a brief leech check was had amongst the ranks. Whilst half of us began our lessons with the young whippersnappers, the remaining few (and the student team who had joined us along the way), visited some local homes.
(Daire) “By chance we passed by the home of a student of mine from Kaplani High School named Kuldeep, who was so excited to see me and my team mates from Class 7 that he ran up the hill from his home to make sure we all saw him and could say hello for the last time”. “I (Anna) was fortunate enough to run into Priyanka (one of the pupils in class 10 from Kaplani) she invited me into her house and showed me exactly how she lives. It was so good to see her one last time. The goodbye was a little emotional.”
The lessons consisted of reading and acting out the childhood favourite “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” and making goat faces to coincide with the tale. Despite a few language barriers, we used our initiative, bodies and faces in order for the children to understand to make the lessons a success.
Soon, our blissful classes came to a resounding finish and we regrettably had to let the children leave our sights after the dahl and rice… (which was very nice), frivolities were enjoyed by both pupils and teachers alike with Joseph’s own technicoloured parachute. (Ah–ah–Ah)
After giving out a few presents to the children following their assembly we made a swift departure and set off in a number of groups on the hike back up to the top. It is safe to say that we collectively produced enough sweat to fill the Ganges. The fast group (which included: Anna; Daire; Andy; Niall; Micheal; Andrew; Jeff; Chris and of course Ajay) had notable success with their demolition of the current Saphara record, with a time of 1 hour and 5 minutes, beating the previous time by 5 minutes.
A short taxi ride took us back to the hotel and we spent our afternoon catching up with some much needed sleep. Although the day was tough it was inspirational to experience the trek taken by the children everyday just to get to school.
Last Day in Mussoorie
17th July 2015
On our last full day up at Mussorie, we had a much deserved lie in after a busy week of teaching in Kaplani. It was a very special day – as it was It was Dara’s 18th birthday – so lots of Happy Birthdays’ were sung during breakfast and the dining rooms was decorated with banners and balloons. We then began a workshop for global awareness with Surender Singh, the director of MGVS who run Kaplani and Donk schools. He provided us with an enlightening insight as to how poor Indian communities can be transformed through empowerment.
After the workshop we moved on to the story of the ‘River Babies’ run by Millsy, a story which portrayed the contrast between charity and justice. The story depicted a couple who each evening came upon more and more babies floating in the river. The couple, concerned by what they came across, continued to fix the reoccurring dilemma of the babies appearing yet none considered to discover the source of where these babies were coming from. We performed renditions of the story in several different styles; West Belfast shmick, American Sitcom, Musicals, Downtown Abbey and Ninja style. The performances were truly outstanding and were rewarded by the first ever Sapharies awards, in which the musical picked up the award for Best Piece.
We took a break from our usual schedule to take a look around the whole of Mussoorie town, visiting shops that specialised in clothing, foodstuff and crafts. After a quick pizza at Dominos, we finished off our shopping then all met at Café Coffee Day. We all tucked into a ‘Chocolate Fabtasy’ cake as per suggestion of Christine, whilst having a parful rave to the tunes of Lil’ John. For the clubbers in our team it was just like being back home in Thompsons, EYAK! The cake was phen–om–me–nal!
After dinner we presented our birthday girl, Dara with a group hamper and a cupcake to celebrate. We then gathered in one room and watched ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’. Basically it was fantastic!!;)
By Lucy and David
Reflections on our Week
19th July 2015
Today we enjoyed a time of reflection called the Happening before heading down from Mussoorie to Dehradun. Everyone – both students and teachers – shared their thoughts of the significance of the week we had just spent – some with song lyrics, Bible verses and even a song. Many shared a memorable encounter theyhad had with one of the children at Kaplani and Donk – and running through all this was the knowledge that these children had impacted us just as much as we had them. A special and emotional time. We are now preparing for our days ahead teaching another group of very special children at SNEHA school.
20th July 2015
After the luxury of a warm walk–in shower and a buffet breakfast, the team packed into the Vikrams (larger tuk–tuks), and hurried off to our first day at SNEHA Doon Academy. The school was of a huge contrast to Kaplani which had its beautiful scenery and breathtaking views, compared to the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle in Dehradun. The 1200 strong population of the school created a buzz we were not expecting, and the assembly was a sight to behold. The sheer volume from the children was so substantial that it felt as if we were back in Ravenhill listening to the classic ‘stand up for the Ulstermen.’
The classes range from 30–50 pupils in size, which took all of us a little while to adjust to. However once we were into the flow of the lessons, the raw enthusiasm from the kids (p1 – p3) shone through. When the man himself, Nadesh, entered a room it felt like a fire extinguisher had been set off. The love and excitement the kids showed towards him was truly inspiring as we watched in awe of his presence. During a break between classes, the teachers from class 1 had the opportunity to attend the Kindergarten assembly, and once again spread the “Spring Chicken” song. The teachers were enjoying the singing arguably more than the children, to such end that they requested the lyrics afterwards. After teaching the younger pupils in the morning, we had the pleasure of meeting in smaller groups with the older pupils of Class 9 for conversation class, with an age range of 14–17. After spending a great class explaining about how everyone is special and really watching them get comfortable and start to open up, we really were both tired but satisfied that we had had a good day in the office. The Vikrams delivered us home in one piece, (We’re fine mum) and following a hearty Mcdonalds, we knuckled down to plan our lessons for Tuesday.
We came close to actually losing several knuckles during the production of a seemingly infinite number of paper caterpillars and butterflies, but we managed to complete them unscathed. After the wonderful Ms Mulholland taught us SNEHA’s school song, we headed out to a local restaurant for dinner. Lovely food and a bundle of laughs were just the perfect way to finish the day off and the ice cream was purely the cherry on top. We’re all greatly encouraged from our first day at SNEHA, and can’t wait to get back in the classroom tomorrow, before our visit to the local community post–teaching tomorrow.
Nikolai and Charlie.
The Life of a Teacher
21st July 2015
The morning began with another exquisite breakfast at the hotel in which we thoroughly enjoyed. At roughly 8:00 o’clock we once again piled back into the Vikrams. Personally this is one of my favourite parts of the past few days, as they are so quick and nimble and yet feel pretty rickety, but I like to think that all of this adds to the experience. We reached SNEHA around 8:30, which gave us a bit of time to take in the landscape around us and also have a good look at the incredible school building in which we had the privilege of teaching. Like on the first day of teaching at SNEHA, we all lined up at the front of assembly, in front of the 1200 kids that attend the school. Yesterday I felt quite intimidated standing at the front of the school, having 1200 pairs of eyes staring at me – today all I could see was the friendly faces.
This morning the mood had dropped slightly due to a lot of tired people; however, it lifted again once class had started. Eager, smiling faces gave us the motivation we needed to get down to work. After the first forty minute period, which came and went very quickly, we had forty minutes of rest to recover before the next lesson. We both teach in class 3, the equivalent of P3 at home, and the class is large (45–50) but thanks to teamwork they are also manageable. David led the group in the theatrical reading of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” (actions included) – the class LOVED it. At the very end of the story, the family discover a bear. When this happened, Daire stood in the corner of the room with his back to the class. He then raised a bear (hand puppet) over his shoulder to the terror and delight of all the children.
Today we also visited the nearby marginalised community, accompanied by teacher Nadesh, the head boy of SNEHA and a few other Class 12 pupils. With their help we navigated the narrow maze–like alleys and small backstreets. Jeff described the scene as “A war zone without the war.” Despite our initial shock, we were amazed by how happy the children were. They were proud to show us their small corrugated iron homes and one boy invited us into his room, which he then went on to say that he shared it with the other four members of his family. It’s amazing to see that these wonderful children come such challenging circumstances.
On our return, we had the opportunity to speak with the director of SNEHA, the wonderful Dr. Reeta. It was through her vision that the school was set up 15 years ago and she has been instrumental in the expansion of the school since. She answered our questions with an obvious wealth of knowledge and gave us a brief insight into the ins and outs of the school and the wider work of SNEHA with the girls and women in the community.
We are now back at the hotel – knuckling down to preparation for the tomorrow’s classes. OH, the life of a teacher!
Jeff and Wills. x
22nd July 2015
Today began with the daunting but wonderful experience of leading assembly for all 1200 SNEHA pupils. Michaela did an amazing job of turning us into a fabulous choir aided by our great soloists – Karis Anna Dara and Micheal.
The kids especially enjoyed our role play of the Good Samaritan. Everyone then went and taught their classes with eager faces! We all in these last few days have grown to adore every child in our classes and we will be sad to leave tomorrow. The SNEHA teachers are also amazing especially Nadesh who is an inspirational person that I’m so happy I’ve met. We all love doing our conversation classes with the older kids as we always end up dancing with them! After finishing the classes we all headed home in the vikrams to prepare the last lesson and wrap gifts for each child. Nick is still wearing his ducky hat and the kids love it! Farewell!
24th July 2015
Today was our last day at SNEHA – a place of love and joy where children from the harshest of environments find refuge. Our classes were once again a fantastic interaction with the younger children –where our story books and songs brought many smiles and laughter to the children. And our conversation classes gave us a final chance to interact with young people not much younger than ourselves who are so committed to their studies that some of us are coming home with a new resolve to get serious about our own!
The cultural exchange showed off the amazing talents of the SNEHA students with colourful Indian dances. And we had one more chance to share our songs – including the Dara’s favourite chicken song!
Then we bundled into the Vikrams for one final journey – away from all that SNEHA has come to mean to us – with its love and inspirational young people, teachers and of course the amazing Dr Reeta and Esther Mam. Thanks for everything!
I came on Saphara to try and make some small difference to the lives of the people here, but the truth is the love they showed to us has made a real difference in mine. God has blessed me so much by allowing me to come to India and meet the amazing kids in Kaplani, Donk and SNEHA – I know I will never forget them. Especially their enthusiasm, generosity, and thankfulness for everything they have. Karis
The past 16 days have been exhausting, but extremely rewarding. When we began teaching, it was clear that we had almost as much to learn as the pupils at Kaplani. However, we left the school having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and feeling that we had achieved what we had set out to accomplish. Saphara is a trip that I will never forget, and I am delighted to have met all of the wonderful people in the various classes, the staff, and every member of the East Belfast team. Josh
When I was accepted onto Saphara, I was ecstatic – though slightly doubtful that it would change me as a person. Now the trip is over I can honestly say I have never been more wrong. The pupils who I taught in Kaplani and SNEHA moved me with their overwhelming enthusiasm and happiness towards their education. I will never forget these children, or any of this indescribably wonderful experience, and I am so thankful that I have been a part of it. Margot
Before coming to India I was very unsure as to whether it would change me a person and I was totally unaware of what to expect. However, now after 16 days here in India the experience has been over and beyond what I was expecting. The children’s eagerness to learn was inspiring, the trip has made me aware of and appreciate everything that I have. This has been an experience that I will never forget. Micheál
Before I came to India I knew that I was going over to teach Indian kids English, but I didn’t truly understand what that meant until our first day teaching in Kaplani. The children’s sheer enthusiasm and eagerness to learn will be something I will never forget and it really makes you try and appreciate the things you have even more. The last 16 days have been an incredible experience and I really couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend it with! Níall
Saphara has been everything and more than I could have ever imagined, I never thought that in 16 days I could do so much and make so many new friends. Teaching in all three schools taught me so much about India and the friendships I made with the students will never be forgotten. I have had an unforgettable trip. Although it was often hard and tiring, every moment has been special for me and I hope one day I can come back to India and visit all the amazing students and teachers that made the trip so special. Niamh
16 days. Thousands of miles. Alternating stoic endurance of taxing conditions – to deliver what we set out to achieve twelve months ago – with downright joy and thorough participation and delivery. There isn’t a one of us fresh or fragrant, but we are all sure we made a difference. There are so many more we need to reach, but that is for next time. Sam Quigg, Campbell College
Applying for Saphara was genuinely one of the best decisions I have ever made. And I don’t say that sort of thing lightly. From the first moment to the last, I can say hand on heart that we made a difference. Every member of the East Belfast team can be immensely proud of themselves – and showed great character from start to finish and the teachers were terrific also. Altogether, it was a fantastic experience and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Andy
Once more, an incredible Indian adventure! I have had the great privilege of working with wonderful teachers and students from N Ireland and India alike. Leading our team in their SNEHA teaching was a challenging experience, but I was so blessed to have enthusiastic and hardworking team players who showered all their classes with such love and respect. My personal highlight was embracing our mutual, intercultural love of music and singing. India and Saphara, you have surpassed my expectations yet again. It goes without saying that I will be back!! Michaela Mulholland, St Michael’s PS
The most amazing thing about Saphara was the relationships. The bond that we made with the children in all 3 schools was so strong that it brought us all to tears at one point or another. The camaraderie between the team itself was truly important as we inspired each other to be the best that we could be for the children. This trip was amazing and I would just like to thank the teachers – I will really appreciate the work my teachers do for me now know how much work goes on behind the scenes. Thank you Saphara! Nikolai
Watching the Indian children’s eyes light up when we gave them small presents and the pride with which they showed us their homes has really shown me that things we take for granted are treasured by others. For me, there was no greater happiness than the feeling I got when watching the children understand something we taught – especially how special they were. Brónagh
I have most definitely learnt a lot… mostly that I have a heart as I was the first to cry leaving Kaplani – I could have stayed with Class 10 forever. The most poignant moment of my trip was definitely when Manisha promised me that she would work hard and become a nurse. To have that much of an impact was breath taking and that will stay with me forever. Walking into SNEHA to see the love and happiness radiating from the children and the teachers, was unlike anything I have seen before. Thank you Saphara for the best summer I could have imagined! Lucy
Even though I’d heard how life–changing and revolutionary Saphara would be, I never in a million years thought I’d be thinking of each child, each lesson and each day and smile uncontrollably as a result. The sharing, caring and loving was like a second–nature; every child was unbelievably willing to learn. These children have had such an irreversible effect on me and my aim now is to spread this joy and true happiness with everyone I know. Tara
The most poignant moment was when a group of SNEHA children brought us their homes. Seeing these unhygienic and cramped conditions at first made me feel disheartened at the thought of these children living here. However seeing their beaming faces as we entered their tiny one roomed houses and their pride when introducing their families was inspirational, something I will never forget. Thank you Saphara for the once in the lifetime experience and for changing my outlook on life for the better. Dara
Each day was saturated with things that are worth remembering. One surprise was how close I became to my class in such a short space of time. It was just so obvious how appreciated we were by the children that I couldn’t help but get attached. The children are motivation enough to get you through the long evenings of class preparation. It all equates to an affecting experience that has altered the way I see even the simplest things that we take for granted. Wills
Before I went to India, I thought – could 16 days really change me that much? Now on my way home, I can only now begin to understand what Saphara is. In the four days we spent in Kaplani I formed a bond with my 11 students – I know I will ever forget their energy and I will always think about what they are doing. At the end of the four days it was so bitter sweet to walk out of the gates for the last time but I knew we had made a difference. But I soon started to realise that I was learning more from the people that I was supposed to be teaching. I don’t think I have ever felt such happiness as I have on this trip. Thank you Saphara for this trip and for all you do for the people that I have met. Ella
I am immensely proud of the East Belfast team as we journeyed together. One special moment was when Neetu from Class 5 proudly showed us around her home while holding my hand and asking if she could be my best friend. It has been a wonderful opportunity to take time out of my busy life to remember that we all need to be loved and valued and this has nothing to do with material goods. I hope that all of us will feel truly blessed and changed for the better from this experience and no matter what we do in life, that we learn to live simple so that others can simply live. Cathy McCrossan, Aquinas Grammar
16 days is a long time to be away from home, but I can honestly say that I have never had a better time in all of my life. This experience has had its challenges and its delights – and each one of us will return changed, if even a little. It would not have been the same without every single member of the team, a group of wonderful people who I have had the pleasure of getting to know inside out. I love you all, and I will never forget. Anna
Eventful, interesting and hopeful are the three words that come to mind after my 16 days in India. It has been a long and challenging journey but one I have fully enjoyed and will remember for years to come. I really enjoyed all of the teaching, especially in Kaplani HS, and getting to meet new and amazing people on the team and in the different schools we went to. These people have really been an inspiration and I think I would do well to be half as kind, heartfelt and as amazing for my life hereafter. Dáire
This trip has completely changed the way I hold both myself and others. The inspirational people I met in both Kaplani and SNEHA opened my eyes to what truly matters in life. The kids in their joy of learning and the teachers in their love of what they do. I have been so blessed to have been on this trip with the most amazing people and our friendships will be ones that last a lifetime. This has not been a once in a lifetime trip – as one day I hope to go out to India and do this all again. Chris
I cannot think of two weeks I will ever treasure more than these past two. The friends I have made, both in the team and in the schools, and the memories that I am taking away far surpass any of my expectations. To see the gift of education we take for granted so coveted amongst the children we met is something I will never forget. The tears shed leaving Kaplani and SNEHA from both ourselves and the pupils spoke deeply of the impact on us all. I fully intend to keep in contact with the schools and the pupils, and to return to India in the future. Charlie
I started this trip felling confused, yet fascinated. The realisation that the normal living standards of everyday Indian people, is so far below our own, was difficult to accept. On our way to SNEHA each day we would drive over a bridge where the poorest of the poor struggle to survive. If I had to sum up my time in India, I would say that there were times when I was excited, happy, relaxed, stressed, scared, annoyed and exhausted. But would I do it all again. YES!!! Jeff
Saphara has been the most worthwhile experience of my life and I truly believe that I have gained a great deal personally from it, and it has given me a new lease on life so to speak. The pupils in both Kaplani and SNEHA were truly inspirational in their outlook and I would like to think that some of that has rubbed off in me and will benefit me in the coming years. Conor
I joined the team as a teacher for many reasons some of which are: personal faith, a love for the poor and a strong desire to see my pupils thrive, flourish and be challenged in the trajectory and outlook of their lives. And so, on the other side of the trip I feel deeply privileged to have witnessed the way these amazing young people continually answered the call beyond what I ever could have expected. They witnessed heart–wrenching poverty which drove them on to make their lessons even better and their love more obvious. I have been profoundly challenged by this trip and my question as I go back home is – will I ensure that my life is devoted to helping those who need it? Andrew Miller, Sullivan Upper
What surprised me most about the trip was how attached we grew to the students we taught, even after only 4 days. The children were happy, selfless, and eager to learn, and seeing how much they valued their education was truly eye opening. Saphara has been a amazing experience for me, providing 16 days full of joy and amazing people that I will surely never forget. David