My younger daughter, Tini and I were fortunate enough to be able to spend the month of April voulenteering for The working with Children Project, set up through the Voulenteering with india (VWI) Organization.
It was an amazing and humbling experience, which I will recommend for all those interested in getting to truly know India and in making a small difference.
Our main objective was to teach English, Maths and Art and Craft/life skills.
Teaching is a huge challenge given the difference in age range and the boys various degrees of education. Most did not speak a word of english either.
We were lucky to be 2 and found it useful to divide the boys into different groups in which we were able to adjust our teaching to better suit their needs.
We started our days with English, everyday repeating days of the week, which day is it today, yesterday, tomorrow. We worked with basic knowledge as the alfabet, colours, months, seasons, fruit, vegatables, parts of the body etc. We then connected these topics with the other subjects, which included drawing and colouring fruit and vegetables, give them a price, drawing money, setting up "stalls" where the boys had to be customers and merhants greeting eachother politely, buying and selling, working out change etc. We all really enjoyed this!
Some of the boys were really clever in maths solving all the work we could give them easily. Others had no experience at all and we worked on really basic numers and adding single figures. We played with dice and counted dots.
In Arts and Craft the skills were also very variable. We worked on simple shapes, put these together to make simple drawings. Sometimes we read stories which our intepreter translated to Hindi, then we made drawings on the blackboard connected to the story which the boys copied. We also drew typical scenes from the different seasons in our country, showed the pictures from Norway, which they had to copy, we talked about continents, countries and capital cities. We played board games and did jigsaws.
I will recomend to bring materials from home if at all possible. We managed to buy some materials in Jaipur, but found the supply was very limited. Paint, colours, scissors, rubbers, pencil sharpeners and definately items showing letters and numbers.- but also simple board games! Memory was a big winner! Anything suitable for indoor activity.
Most of all we tried to be there for the boys - tried to make them smile and laugh - praising their work and effort, trying to help and encourage them to take a step forward however small.
The VWI organization was faboulous! Sukret organized everything perfectly, all meetings and pick ups and trips were without fault, Govind our intepreter was soo sweet, both with us and the boys. Our driver Totoram was fantastic mastering the eratic traffic in Jaipur, and we soon deared to keep our eyes open! - He also knows the best place for strong sweet Chai where we all used to end up after work.
We were also pleased with our accomodation, a far cry from a luxury hotel, but all the same a safe and quite place that felt strangely like home!
VWI certainly made us feel comfortable and welcome! We also had a super week end away on safari with Sukret and Govind. Thank you Sukret, Govind (must get your mums receipe for that peneer dish!) and Totoram! - And thank you to Ramesh at Bal Basera and last but not the least our sweet, sweet boys !!