Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's time for some change.... redecorating

I've decided I need my blog to look different, and I want to add in a new focus this year. So over the next few days I'm hoping to make these changes and be ready for a new start in the new year.

Stay in touch - I'll be back soon.

All the best for your new year celebrations and holiday season.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What's Special about teaching English?

A student's gift to me - it should read 'My Best Friend is Tamara'

This one reads ' my friend Tamara, your my friend, N.Rahi.... bye bye.

Just some of the girls as our school in India, happy as they wave to you their Diwali Wishes!
I have returned home to Australia, to my family and my work, my hobbies and my garden. But the memories that have been built up in the past two months will stay with me forever.

My friend and I support this school and the Barathi Girls Hostel in Tamil Nadu. When we are not in India, we're involved in fundraising here in Australia. When we are in India (generally each 2 years) we volunteer as conversational English teachers to help build the girls confidence with English.

This past trip we saw much change, development and growth. The KGBV School (which is mostly government funded) has a well established team of very confident teachers and great axillary staff (cook, admin and groundsman). The Barathi Girls Hostel (which is not currently funded) supports graduates from the KGBV school, to live in the town where they can attend the local high school and further their education. At the Hostel, we saw much development, as they were seeking certificates and approvals to be eligible for some government funding. During our visit we saw the water bore being drilled further to ensure a water supply, the sleeping halls were tiled for cleanliness and hygiene, and the back yard was being leveled to manage a water draining problem.

Two highlights for me to mention here.
a. While my friend and I were visiting Madurai one weekend, and shopping in a popular Indian clothing store (Pothi's) we heard 'Madam, Madam!' from across the racks - this is what we're called by the girls at our school. So our heads turned.... surprised to find one of our ex-students had got herself a job in the city! We were so proud. She had come from a difficult past - her poor family couldn't afford to give her an education, so they kept her home to work on the farm. She was accepted into the KGBV school at the age of 10 to to an intensive primary school education and pass an exam to get into high school at aged 14. To see her working in a respectable and popular local store was just wonderful.
b. While working at the school and Hostel - we were talking with the management team about the hostel. They have many requests for financial assistance, however a simple request was made that we thought was achievable. The Hostel has been well supported by English volunteers in the past - all leaving and donating English readers and novels for the hostels library. The Library now houses several shelves of a cupboard. All well and good if the high school girls felt comfortable reading English. Generally they don't. So the request was made for a Tamil Library collection - in their own mother tongue. A quick sms to Australia, several emails later - we have $300 donated and the hostel management team could beginning purchasing some Tamil books for the girls to, hopefully, learn the Love of reading.

If you too, would like to donate something to the Hostel funds - see the buttons at the top right of my blog site.
P.S. News from India recently:
In the training center, with the support of Chris and Tamara the women stitched 160 cotton bags. We received 8 Australian dollars per bag from Chris. It is a good donation and encouraging the women.

In the Barathi hostel we fixed good tiles and now the floor is clean and easy to wash.

Also, received Rs.17500 as donation to buy Tamil books for the library, because all the books donated by volunteers are in English.

With this support we bought 143 books and still we have balance of Rs.6800 which we aim to buy on the week of New year. Because the book sellers will organise exhibitions and we will buy with concession rates.