Our Second Week Volunteering for Ukindo
Posted on April 16,

Joe and I are a few weeks into our time in Rohtak now and are much more acclimatised to our new surroundings, our new temporary life. We've been shown around Smart Start Primary School and it's senior version, Indo-British (IB) School. Both of these are private and owned by one of the founders of Ukindo, Amar Dhull, which fund the charity school, mainly through it's own revenue. Both were a fantastic experience as we were struck by the colourful, welcoming feel to Smart Start and the air of motivation, concentration and potential in the classrooms of IB School.

Well, I say an air of concentration - this was the case when we were inquisitively wandering through the clean, quiet corridors before we were spotted by the kids. All thoughts of work and lessons seemed to evaporate in an instant as they stood up to wave and shout their 'hello's to us. Before we knew it, one class had flooded out from their lesson. Then another. And another. Within minutes we had disrupted the previously calm aura and were bombarded with smiles, sweets and handshakes. They clamoured to be near us, ask our names and how we are; bizarrely, even our autographs were requested! As strange as it was, the experience was funny and very touching; to be so warmly welcomed was incredibly sweet.

After managing to almost cause a stampede in the corridors, Joe and I thought it best to only spend the one day at IB School so as not to completely disrupt their education, especially as our accommodation was on the school site so we could still interact with the kids every day without it being in their lesson time. In fact, one of my favourite daily rituals soon became The Waving Off. The Waving Off consisted of us standing at the exit to the school with the other teachers to see the students safely onto the buses and on their way home at the end of the day - usually an orderly affair in which the students leave in a line of their class members with a few respectful 'goodbye's to the headteacher. Alas, Joe and I again proved to be disruptive as the students would break ranks to come and practice their English with us or wish us a wonderful afternoon. One girl even came and wished us a wonderful afternoon in her newly-acquired French!

As well as this, we spent several days teaching English and basketball at Smart Start School with the younger students - also an experience!! Often quite timid at first, the classes would quickly gain confidence with us and within fifteen minutes we would be amidst a cacophony of shouts and laughter as the children cried out answers and vied for our approval and compliments at their English skills. Deafening and energy-sapping as the sessions were, they were certainly entertaining!

All in all, it was great to see these schools in action and to be involved with the kids to the level that we were. Seeing their enthusiasm and excitement and how engaged they were in their education (most of the time!) made us even more passionate about the prospect of working with the under-privileged children. If Ukindo could develop schools just as good as these two, as per its aim, then there is no reason for there to be any disparity between students from either a private or a charity school. Both privileged and under-privileged children would receive the same opportunities, the same chances in life - after all why shouldn't they?