In August 2017, 15 international volunteers from Europe joined the 2 weeks long ‘Blue Mahal’ work camp at Jodhpur Rajasthan, organized by FSL-India.
Around 230 school children benefited from the camp activities of this 2-week program with Environment / Kids / Culture theme.
Jodhpur is the 2nd largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. It is a popular tourist destination, featuring many palaces, forts, and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar Desert. The city is known as the “Sun City” for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred to as the “Blue City” due to the vivid blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. The old city circles the fort and is bounded by a wall with several gates. The city is renowned for its textiles and furniture shops, handicrafts and cuisine.
Every year, FSL-India’s projects are carried out in various community schools, at Jodhpur. This year, all the program participants worked at the local government primary school locally know as the Raj Mahal Government Girls’ Higher Primary School. The school provides free education for poor children of the community, i.e. people who work for street wanders near the clock tower of Jodhpur, labourers, daily wage workers and migrants.
FSL-India places volunteers at the school, where they work with children from 4-15 years of age, teaching them basic English, Mathematics, games, rhymes, songs and craft activities. They also take care of the health and hygiene of the children and help the local staff in renovation and class room painting by educational pictures and painting walls, organize sports activities and educational games.
This time, the volunteers participated in the Independence Day celebration on 15th August at school with the children, government officials, and parents where a large crowd gathered. They also enjoyed the children’s dance performance, speeches and some of the volunteers performed a dance enthusiastically.
The volunteers organized an environmental awareness program focused on health, hygiene, and solid waste management. They also had exposure to Indian culture and some of the cultural aspects of India by interacting with the local community and visited well-known places in Jodhpur, which are rich in cultural heritage. The volunteers enjoyed visits to the Mehrangarh Fort, Jashwant Thada, Umaid Bhavan Palace, Mandore gardens and were interested spectators at a traditional puppet show and Rajasthani folk dance.
On weekends, the group made a plan to visit Jaisalmer and enjoyed desert life through a visit to Jaisalmer Fort, Gadisar (an artificial lake) and the local bazaars. They experienced a camel safari in the desert and had an overnight stay in the luxury tents of Jaisalmer desert.
Next, they participated in Henna culture with the local people, visited an Indian family and also visited the local market.They had time to learn, to have fun and to know more about India. The highlight of the camp was that FSL-India’s international volunteers built a bridge between the local community students and the staff members of the school.
This was a great chance for inter-cultural learning and also to de-stress. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience that FSL-India’s volunteers had in the 2 weeks of this short time project.