Volunteer update at our education projects in and near Rishikesh
Hari Om Dear Souls! It has been my privilege to be in India for nearly a month now. Thanks to Padma, Jaya and Radha’s many weeks, months and years of groundwork I feel that I have joined a project ready to burst. Our work here is focussed in two areas. The Sunshine School, now renamed ‘Flower Club’ meets on a Sunday afternoon by the river in Rishikesh for one hour. Through yoga, we spend an hour with the children who use the ghats (riverside) to sell blessings for the river (flowers and sweets). Through teaching yoga, they learn English and are all given several pieces of fruit to supplement their diet. God willing, this project will develop to include craft making (such as malas or simple jewellery) providing an alternative income from begging.
During Padma’s time in Rishikesh, it became clear that the need was greatest in the village schools. You learn quickly in India that everyone knows everyone and so through the ashram that keeps an eye on the flower children, Padma met a teacher who works in a village school that is in great need of renovation and support. This will be a long term project starting ‘inside out’.
Teachers travel up to two hours to reach the school curtailing the time and energy spent educating. Here support is needed on all sides with sensitivity to the culture of both the children and teachers that already exists.
Children are expected to support their parents who are farming and mostly illiterate meaning they frequently miss school.
Currently, we are teaching yoga which is helping to instil the many values that will help these children to access education and reach their full potential.
Gently, routine and discipline are being introduced with simple approaches such as the meal prayer, lunch assistants and meditation at the beginning of school, after lunch and end of the day.
Over time, the playground and an outbuilding need renovating which will provide a flexible space for community events and yoga. However, it’s clear in India that nothing can be rushed and, in fact, this is better as we find our way to develop the best, sustainable support to ensure the long term success of the school and village. Thank you for all your continuing support and help. We have been shown nothing but the utmost gratitude. Om shanthi, shanthi, shanthi.