Yesterday the volunteer work with Aim Abroad included two of our volunteers helping with a delivery! Two girls from the US went to a local hospital in Delhi NCR to help mostly at a gynecologist's office and at a pediatrician's office. At the gynecological ward, they observed the birth, and helped the nurses with taking care of the newborn baby. In Indian culture, it is believed that the first person who feeds a baby has a connection with the child, and the child will grow up to have a similar personality as the person who feeds her or him. One of our volunteers was able to feed this newborn baby for the first time and take part in this tradition! The nurses, doctors, and parents were happy to give the volunteer this opportunity, and she was quite ecstatic about the experience of feeding this twenty-minute old baby for the first time! After all of the volunteers finished at their projects (three other volunteers went to the school for underprivileged children), they met at a local mall and walked to a very nice market in the neighborhood. After they finished at the market, the volunteers decided to have a rickshaw race! Two volunteers went in one cycle rickshaw, two in a second rickshaw (which left about one minute after the first rickshaw left), and finally one volunteer went in the third rickshaw. The second rickshaw to leave the market ended up winning the race! In the photo, you can see what these rickshaws look like as one of our previous volunteers, Roger from Barcelona, sits on a rickshaw in Jaipur (although the rickshaws in Delhi NCR did not have a sunshade). After their short rickshaw race through Delhi NCR, the volunteers went back to the host family home, enjoyed their dinner, and watched "Mean Girls" with the host family after making some popcorn. Everyone really enjoyed their day with Aim Abroad yesterday!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Volunteers with Aim Abroad have gone to the street children program and one of the local clinics in Delhi NCR for volunteer work today. The volunteers who visited the street children project went to help teach the children computer processing and spend time with these extremely underprivileged children. The volunteers have been teaching computing from a text book, and they will hopefully be able to start teaching with a real computer so that the children can see how to apply a theoretical approach of computer's education with a hands-on method of seeing how to apply their learned material in front of a computer. We have seen that some preparations for the computer course for the children are under way, but the teachers would like to offer as much as possible for the children. I will update more about the computer course and how the children's studies are going. For now, though the children study in a park outside, they have been taking exams to keep up with their curriculum of the Indian government's standards, and the children have been quite successful with all of the help from the teachers and the volunteers. In the photo, you can see the children at their school just as school is about to start.
Two other volunteers went to one of the local clinics in Delhi NCR, where they will work with a gynecologist, a pediatrician, and several nurses and other health care professionals. The volunteers have been to this clinic once before, and gave wonderful feedback: that they would like to continue the volunteering project in the hospital. The volunteers felt that the doctors spent a lot of time with the volunteers to help explain medical concepts in depth, to help spark more interest in the volunteers' interest in a future profession in medicine. After finishing their project today, the volunteers will go to the host family home for lunch, and two will go to a local mall in Delhi NCR. This weekend, three of our volunteers went to Agra, and had a great time traveling around India as a group of friends. Otherwise, the projects have been going very well, and we are looking forward to all of the improvements the projects have been making with all of the help from the volunteers!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Last night, just minutes before the dance party at the host family, the volunteers who traveled to Rishikesh this past weekend came back from their trip! The six volunteers at the host family went to sing happy birthday, have cake, dance to very popular Bollywood songs, and even show their own dance moves from the West to the Indian girls at the host family home! The volunteers were a bit shy dancing, but one of them danced the entire night with the family!
This morning, a volunteer from Denmark and another from Canada went to the street children project to do volunteer work with the Indian children in Grade 2. Yesterday evening, three volunteers went to the street children's school's coordinator's home, where they sat in a presentation. The company, HCL, has created an interactive computer software for teaching English, Math, Social Sciences, and Science. The volunteers and teachers who listened to the presentation had mixed feelings, but in general were impressed, and thought about whether the software would be useful. The school does not have the funding to implement the program; however, they will get in touch with the corporate offices to see if they can perform their social duty and help a struggling school. We are very enthusiastic about the software, and hope that they will be able to implement the technology to improve the children's education. In the photo, there is one volunteer, Raquel from barcelona, with the children who go to this very school.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The monsoon in India is still going on! In at least the past thirty years, if not longer, the monsoon has never stayed in India this late! We have had much rain the past few days, and it doesn't seem like it will stop any day soon. The volunteers, however, have been enjoying the host family atmosphere during monsoon season. Many times, families sit together and play cards, drink chai, eat pakodas, samosas, or kachoris on these special occasions. The temperature has been very favorable too, especially in the evenings.
Today, though the remnant puddles of the monsoon cover the roads, the volunteers, one from Denmark and one from Canada, went to a school for disabled children in Delhi NCR. At the school, they will teach the children in English and Mathematics in particular, and will play games and do activities which help stimulate their minds. In the photo, one of our previous volunteers from Barcelona, Roger, went to volunteer at this school for disabled children. After the project ends in the afternoon, the volunteers will go back to their host family home to have lunch with the host family. This evening, there will be a birthday party for a set of twins in one of the host families! The twins, both who study in college, have decided there would be a dance party in their room at midnight tonight, and they are looking forward to the event!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
At Aim Abroad, the volunteers are enjoying their time while here in India! Last night, after the volunteering projects ended, three volunteers from the US enjoyed watching a Bollywood film, Tere Bin Laden ("Without your Bin Laden"), that one of the volunteers purchased from the DVD store. The film was a comedy, and they thought the movie was enjoyable. Today, they will go to central Delhi to go to the US Embassy for a toga party: As they will already be in the central area, they will visit Palika Market in Connaught Place to shop around and spend time in one of the nicest shopping districts in Delhi. Afterwards, they will head out to Rishikesh, where they will most likely go white water rafting, and be in the yoga capital of India. If they have time, the volunteers will likely visit Haridwar as well, which is nearby. Both cities are in Uttarakhand, and I have attached a photo from when one of our volunteers from Barcelona, Raquel, went to Shimla, capital of the state Uttarakhand. Afterwards, when they return, they will begin the computing class with the school for underprivileged children. We are really looking forward to this new opportunity for the children!
Friday, September 17, 2010
This morning, Jess, one of our volunteers from the US, went to a school to teach the underprivileged local children nearby her host family home. At the school, she spoke to the school coordinator and another volunteer from the US, who went to the school. The three discussed the school's struggle with funds, their need for some shelter under which to teach the children, and a new computer course, which they want to start for the children. Although the school coordinator has two very old laptops, she would prefer better equipment for the children, should the computing class become successful. At the moment, there is no nearby area for them to teach the children computing in a proper room or classroom, and the school will somehow have to find a way to teach the children. The school and the volunteers looked into monthly rental leases, but they were far beyond the school's budget, which has decreased over the months with dwindled governmental support of the school. Even with their many obstacles, the school, with its extremely devoted staff, still runs, and the children come to school each day more knowledgeable and happy than the last. We hope that they are able to successfully teach their computing course, which would truly open endless opportunities for these bright children to learn. We have attached a photo from when one of our volunteers, Sonia, was teaching at this very school a few weeks ago.
Friday, September 10, 2010
All of the members of Aim Abroad would like to wish everyone around the world a Happy Eid, or "Eid Mubarak!" This photo was taken at Kashmir, when our volunteers visited a famous mosque in the region. We hope that the people in Kashmir, and all other people struggling throughout the world, can find political as well as personal peace! Let us remember that there are many suffering throughout the world, and it's everyone's responsibility to help those in need!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
The volunteers from Aim Abroad went to the charitable hospital again today. After they finish at the charitable hospital, they will go back to the host family homes for lunch. This evening, two of the volunteers will prepare for a trip to Haridwar and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand! In Haridwar, alongside the Ganges river, the volunteers will observe Hindu traditions. Rishikesh, famed for its focus on yoga and spirituality, will offer the volunteers a new adventure for their interest in Indian culture!
Last night, as I mentioned in the previous blog entry, four volunteers went to the Indian Habitat Center in central Delhi to attend a function for the school for underprivileged children (I have attached a picture of Raquel, from Spain, who volunteered at this school last week). The function was very nice, and had several speakers and special guests who discussed the school for the children and a film that was created about the school (the post from April 26th has pictures of when the film was being made!). One of the volunteers, from the US, who went to the function was in the film too, and he mentioned how special it felt to be part of such an inspirational and altruistic cause. The film was screened at the function as well, and then the volunteers went back to their host family home. The volunteers described that they were very happy and content with the evening, as it was a special and memorable ceremony.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Today, two volunteers went to the charitable hospital in Delhi NCR. The volunteers will likely stay in the general ward to observe any surgeries (if there are any scheduled today), or they will also volunteer in the gynecological ward to learn more about other medical specialties as well (the photo was taken in this charitable hospital's surgical theater). After they finish the volunteering project in the afternoon, they will visit one of the largest markets in Delhi NCR, nearby the charitable hospital, to learn more about Indian culture and perhaps find some good bargains. One other volunteer went to the school for street children in Delhi NCR, where she will start teaching a computing course with the children, along with focusing on teaching proper English grammar and communication with the children. In the evening, the volunteers will go to a special screening of a short documentary about the school for street children in the main area in Delhi, as they have been invited by the program coordinator. We will hear more about their evening when they return!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
This Sunday, two of our volunteers from Barcelona, Tania and Raquel, have gone back home to Spain. They stayed with us for five weeks, volunteering in Delhi NCR with the teaching programs with the children from slum areas mostly. They also spent about two weeks volunteering in the hospitals, assisting in surgeries, and learning about medical practices and the Indian health care system. Additionally, they volunteered in Shimla for a week, where they taught at a local school in the setting of the breathtaking Himalayas. Afterwards, they returned to Delhi NCR to finish their last week of the volunteering program. As they became a part of our family, we organized a mini-party for the volunteers with a wonderful fresh fruit cake! The two were very sad to go and were saying that they see themselves making another trip back to India!
On Monday, Jessica, from the US, and Marion, from Belgium, went to the orphanage for girls in Delhi NCR again, and spent a lot of time with the children at the orphanage. Meanwhile, two other volunteers went to a government hospital to assist with surgeries. The two observed and assisted with a Cesarian birth, which they described as a truly special experience! Otherwise, they observed an intestinal surgery, a still-birth procedure, and another small procedure. After they returned from the hospital, they came back to the host family home for lunch, and rested. Later, a volunteer from the US, went with a volunteer from Belgium to a local temple, which was very interesting for her, as she didn't know much about Hinduism and Hindu temples. In the evening, all of us had a fun evening of Parcheesi and cards, before having dinner!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Today two new volunteers with Aim Abroad, Marion (from Belgium) and Jessica (from the US), are volunteering at an orphanage in Delhi NCR for orphaned girls. In the morning they ate traditional North Indian bread pakodas with the host family as they drank chai. The orphanage is close to a famous market in the neighborhood, and the girls and volunteers are likely to spend some time there as well, once they finish their volunteer work at the orphanage. Marion, who arrived two days ago, went to a charitable school in Delhi NCR, where she assisted a teacher with her classes, with special focus on English grammar and communication. In the photo is one of our previous volunteers, Sonia, who taught at the same charitable school just a few weeks ago. Aside from Marion and Jessica, the other volunteers are still traveling in Rajasthan and in the north (the group who went to Amritsar and then other cities). Next week there will be more volunteers together, so we are excited for them all to meet each other!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It has been quite some time since our last post, but we have been very busy here with the volunteering projects in India! I will give a brief summary of what we have been doing since the last post.
We have been continuing the volunteering at the street children's schools (see photos!). The children have been improving in their English, as well as enjoying their time in school with their friends and the volunteers from around the world.
Some volunteers have been going to the school for disabled children, and they have been donating wonderful toys and games for activities to stimulate their minds.
Volunteers have also started teaching at a charitable school in Delhi NCR, where the school teaches around 800 students. The volunteers have really enjoyed interacting with these children, and the students have been quite happy to meet foreigners from around the world at their very own school!
Volunteers have been attending the medical projects, including two charitable hospitals, and two volunteers even observed a Cesarian-birth and a hernia operation!
Those volunteers who have been working in orphanages in Delhi NCR have been teaching plenty of English to the children, and even some Spanish, to enrich their cultural awareness!
Tomorrow, a group of four volunteers will be traveling to Ajmer and Pushkar, while four other volunteers will go to Amritsar and Dharamsala. The volunteers are getting ready for their trips, and we look forward to hearing about their trips when they arrive back at the host family homes this weekend and next week!