Home page Aisha Rasool, Pakistan

The moment I came to know about the Volunteering in India program, I was eager to join it. As I was very much interested in the cause that this program was holding and more then that I was interested in knowing the rich Indian culture. It was my earnest desire to visit India second time. And especially Jaipur as my last visit was of very short period.

From Delhi I chose to come to Jaipur by bus, in order to see different places on my way.
Though it was a long journey but the people on bus were very nice and welcoming.

As I reached Jaipur, I saw a man holding card on which my name was written. Without any difficulty I reached to him. He was Vishnu, a man Vinod appointed to drop me to the guest house. I was thankful to Vinod for the making things easy for me. My room was very spacious and with facilities, another thanks I owe to Vinod here. After some rest I met Vinod, he was I nice man and told be few basic things about the culture and program and I was having no difficulty to adopt them quickly due to my intense interest in this program. He also briefed me about the tasks I was suppose to do in coming weeks.

I was told to explore Jaipur in two days. Abdul was appointed to be with me and to help me out with visiting different places. I saw Hawa Mahal, Jaigarh fort and few other places. They all were worth seeing. I shopped extensively and madly, everything was worth buying and beautiful.

On the fourth day of my project I drove with Vinod to the small city of Sikar two hours away from Jaipur and arrived at the beautiful Bajaj Bhawan Haveli which was to be my home for the project duration. I was welcomed by all the lovely and friendly staff and made to feel at home straight away.

My target was to teach the children of the Kachi Basti slum school. Children between the age of 5 to 16 years and class contained around 45 students, who were keen and eager to learn. The very first day I tried to know each of them and their capabilities and I was amazed each child was full of potential, just needed guidance and polishing. I would teach for about 2 hours each day in the morning then spend the rest of the day preparing for future lessons and making up activities. I used to teach them in very interesting way which was more like a game and learning. And with each activity done I could see a sparkle in their eyes and I could feel the satisfaction inside myself.

These were sort of interactive lessons and each child was given opportunity to express him or herself.

I devised a basic structure for each lesson starting with everyone participating with teacher led vocabulary sessions. We would then go over the words learnt the previous day and introduce the new day’s topic. Splitting up the group allowed us to focus on the older children with the more advanced topics, and provide colouring and play time for the younger children. I purchased folders for the pupils to keep a record of their work and give me a chance to see their development. And records were regularly updated. I also used to have competitions among the students and used to give prizes to them, which was one motivating factor for learning.

Sometimes I used to tell them to tell their class a story by using the words they have learnt. Sometimes I would tell them stories which I heard from my grandmother. And they used to enjoy them. With time I had the feeling I was their favourite teacher. Some of the students gave me their hand made cars saying they love me. And this was the sweetest moment for me. And I was thankful to them for their warmth and love.

It was a very exciting time to be volunteering with the Bajaj Trust as they were in the process of setting up a variety of new projects and developing the site to accommodate lots of new volunteers. The staff and their families are all so friendly and welcoming we felt so at home and really part of the team when we were there, and since leaving we are still in regular contact.  We were served with traditional meals, which were deliciously cooked. And I learned few of the recipes too like daal makhani, very delicious kheer and palak paneer. Food was mouth watering.

Over the weekends I used to visit local families and used to interact with them. I even stayed with one family and enjoyed with them. Next morning they gifted me a sari and taught me how to wear it.

Over all this was a life time experience and I would say the best holidays in my life.
This was kind of experience that you cannot find merely by visiting India for sight seeing.
The best moment was when I used to see sparkle in the eyes of the children, eager desire to learn more and the satisfaction that prevailed on their parents faces.
I was satisfied and blessed to be part of this holy cause.