Miss Lilian Ava Zeitelhack from Germany and Mr. Sean Gilhooly from London are the two long term volunteers of FSL India. The duo volunteers are placed in a teaching project at Milinda Vidya Samsthe in Koppa town of Somavarpete Taluk in Kodagu district. While Lilian has been teaching English to the children, Sean Gilhooly is assigned to teach them Art and Music. Besides both the volunteers are also teaching Geography, History and Moral Science to children. About 500 school children are immensely benefitted from the duo’s 5 to 6 hours of teaching service every day.
As soon as they arrived in early August 2011, FSL India assigned them with teaching projects. First they started teaching the children with disability. Later due to the need they were placed in Milinda Vidya Samsthe. Their popularity as committed and dedicated volunteers and teachers grew rapidly among the staff and students of Milinda School. They taught basic English and Grammar through alternative teaching techniques with singing and dancing as one of the tools.
On 15th January 2012, Times of India (Sunday Times) one of the leading National Dailies made a good coverage about their service. Mr. R. Uday Kumar, the news reporter of Times of India interviewed and interacted with the FSL India volunteers. Responding to Uday Kumar’s queries, Lilian Ava, essentially a student of Psychology stated that, “the students are very cooperative. As they can’t speak English in the beginning, it was a bit difficult, but later they picked up the language”. She further added that “Now, the children are able to understand English without any problem”.
What is so important to note here is that the duo’s vision for the children. “We want children to think on their own, be confident and to ask questions. No answer or question is wrong as long as one really tries to learn something” – this is the message of Lilian that really impressed the news reporter of Times of India to make a special coverage and appreciate their commitment and dedicated service.
Lilian Ava and Sean Gilhooly further inform the news reporter that “it is been learning experience for us as the children and community people teach us about the cultural and traditional values of India”. The duo command respect of the children and staff of Milinda Vidya Samsthe for their committed service.
FSL India deems the appreciation of Times of India to Lilian Ava and Sean Gilhooly as a living testimony which will go on the record to encourage other volunteers. What is important to note here is that the recognition of media is only one of the instances. There are hundreds of FSL India volunteers placed in various projects all across India and are involved in providing commendable service to the poor and needy which are yet to hit the headlines of electronic and print media like Times of India.