I am Marlene from Germany and I am 18 years old. Since last three months I am doing volunteering Program in Bengaluru (Karnataka) in the south of India with the organisation FSL-India.
During my first week the NGO (Need Base India) I am working for, send me to a project with slum children.
So in the beginning I went every day to a slum in the north of Bangalore and taught English Alphabets and some numbers to the children. I did these lessons under a big tree inside the slum.
Besides these small lessons I managed to teach some songs and dances to the children. In the beginning I thought the language is going to be an insuperable challenge, as nobody in this slum talks English and I do not talk Kannada.
After some days I realized that I just need a few words in Kannada, later I started using my hands and gesture to communicate with the children. This was the moment where I felt totally in love with my project.
In the meantime my Project Contact person looked for a classroom and finally we got one room in a school near by the slum. In this room we have a black board and the possibility to hang posters and pictures. Now everyday 25 to 40 children are coming to our class. We usually began the day with lessons and after the lunch break we are dancing, singing and playing. Also sometimes I bring Henna colors and draw on their hands, moreover nearly everyday I take my speaker to dance with them and I even taught them some German songs. After my first three months I can see learning progress for the children, this makes me really proud and I feel very useful.
Besides to the lessons I learn a lot about Indian culture and the local language Kannada from the children and my colleagues. For example: During the Ganesha Festival in September I celebrated twice, once with my Host family the other time in the slum. For the celebration they had a big statue of Ganesha in their slum, we did a puja and took a lot of pictures.
For these cultural exchanges I am really thankful, because I get a deep insight into the Indian culture.
I am happy that I am a part of my project and that I have eight more months to spend with the children and my colleagues.