I have been working in Yadthady Tent School for almost 4 months and all I can say is that I am loving it. I am working with Shalini, the local teacher; she is always very helpful and great to work with. At the moment, we have 13 children attending school, we had a bigger group but a few families left the camp because their work here has finished due to the rainy season and other issues. It was very sad to see these children leave because I became very attached to them but I am very happy I was able to be part of their lives for a short period of time and spend time teaching, playing and just hanging around with them
The work is very challenging because we have children between the ages of 2 and 12 years old. First thing in the morning we go to the camps where they live (next to the tent school) and we collect the children and bring them to school. Some children are already waiting for us in the school everyday so I think that is a sign that they really enjoy it. We gather together for morning prayer and some gymnastic exercises and then we divide the children in groups. The toddlers play with toys and Shalini teaches one group and I teach another group. We teach them how to write letters and numbers, counting and some English words. The older children also learn some basic Mathematics, writing sentences….
After teaching for a while, the children gather again and we do arts and crafts, such as colouring, making bracelets with beads, planting seeds and any other ideas we come up with. They really enjoy it and are always eager to learn. At the end of the morning, we do another prayer and we give them biscuits or fruits (depending on the day of the week) and they return to their camps. Our children are really strong, they come to school even if we they have fever, colds or any other illnesses. We try everyday to give them the attention they deserve and sometimes a big hug or picking up a child when he/she is crying is more important and has a bigger impact on their lives than teaching them any other thing.
We also encourage them to talk to us if they have problems or concerns so they know their voice will be heard. They love going to day trips, they get so excited! We have visited a few temples, we have gone to the cinema (it was the first time for some children)… we are always trying to make a small difference in these children’s hard lives. It will be very hard for me to leave my project, but I am positive that new volunteers will arrive, full of great ideas and that this great project will keep going on and might bring a better future for our children.