Saphara’s core values are respect for others and a partnership which seeks to empower those who are disadvantaged.
Ellie Malcolm, Georgia Hamill, Lauren Matthews-McAllister and Zara Shaw volunteered to be part of the Saphara Indian trip in November 2017. Once selected, the girls worked hard over a period of 8 months fundraising and also took part in intensive training and preparation with the Saphara team. This included a residential weekend in Ballintoy, many bake sales, a school quiz, raffles and a terrifying abseil down the Europa hotel in Belfast to name a few. A total of 21 students and 3 teachers from Holywood and Lurgan schools with the Saphara team leaders travelled to India on 28thJune for 16 days.
Ellie, Georgia, Lauren and Zara tirelessly and enthusiastically spent their time teaching English to children in SNEHA school, in the highly urbanised area of Derahdun and also in Kaplani High school, situated in a remote area, in the foothills of the Himalayas. There was also time for shopping and sight-seeing in New Delhi, including a visit to the Ghandi museum and a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Every day posed a new challenge for the girls. They were faced with very early mornings (sometimes 4am), lesson planning, teaching English with limited resources in poverty stricken schools, trekking long distances in Indian Summer temperatures and the infamous monsoon rain.
On reflection it is clear that amidst immeasurable poverty and extreme social and economic inequalities, Saphara provides opportunities where previously there were none, simply and effectively through one of the most basic human rights – education.
Ellie, Georgia, Lauren and Zara found the energy of the amazing Indian school children and their zest for knowledge and for life both moving and uplifting. It was easy for them to see why teams return year on year to these remote schools, developing resilience and achievement, raising awareness and above all building hope of a better future.