Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry chrisrtmas and Happy new year 2012

May this Christmas be merrier and New Year even more prosperous and fulfilling for you and your beloved ones!!!
During this Christmas and New Year of 2012, we would like to say a big thank you and send our most sincere appreciation and gratitude to you for what you have done to support our children. Without your help and support it would not have been possible for the children to be what they are today. You have given them the best possible gift of all: a caring and loving home: Alice in wonderland
Each child is unique in its own way and each has a different story to tell. These children at Alice in wonderland have endured a common but most difficult and traumatic experience that would make even the toughest soul weep. With your helping hand, these children have overcome the misery and paint a smile in their faces. We are not talking about the monetary support but the care and love you have rendered to them.
On this occasion, on behalf of these children I would like to send sincere thanks and best wishes to you and your family.
Enjoy your holidays!!!!
Best regards,
kranti sharma

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aim Abroad and Volunteering in India: Happy Independence Day

Aim Abroad and Volunteering in India: Happy Independence Day: "Freedom in the mind, Faith in the words.. pride in our souls.. lets salute d nation Happy Independence Day to all"

Happy Independence Day

Freedom in the mind,
Faith in the words..
pride in our souls..
lets salute d nation
Happy Independence Day to all

Sunday, July 31, 2011

L'Inde, que d'aventures!

C'est dans le pays le plus colore du monde que j'ai fait mon entree. Ouvrez bien vos yeux car il y a quelque chose de merveilleux a chaque coin de rue. Arrivee a Delhi pour passer la premiere nuit a Faridabad et deja la vie a l'indienne vous innonde de chaleur, de chansons locales, de lumiere et de couleur. Le premier jour, recontre avec les petits orphelins de Faridabad, ils vous sautent dessus et reclament toute votre attention et bien evidemment, impossible de resister a tant d'emotion. Ces petits ont tant d'amour a partager, ils font chaud au coeur et c'est avec le sourire que vous en repartez.
Apres une bonne nuit de sommeil, depart aux aurores pour me rendre a la ville rose, Jaipur. Quelques six heures de bus parmis les Indiens, pendant lesquelles je n'ai pas pu fermer un oeil, un trajet qui vous montrera la plus grande pauvrete, melangee a de superbes paysages. A l'arrivee, un accueil incroyable par une famille, l'hospitalite Indienne est epoustouflante et m'a permis de plonger dans leur univers, leur vie quotidienne, rythmee par les repas, les prieres, les discussions et le travai..l. J'ai appris enormement et ai cree des liens indefaisables. A nouveau, c'est dans un orphelinat que j'ai partage mon temps, avec le plus grand plaisir. Pendant mon temps libre, les visites de la ville sont a l'honneur et j'en ai pris plein les yeux!
Une experience qui reste gravee a jamais en soi, qui vous permet de realiser qui sont ces gens, parfois si pauvres mais si bons. Un enrichissement personnel mais aussi partage. Merci Aim Abroad pour ce voyage incroyable.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

information for medical volunteers

I spent two weeks in June volunteering in a small clinic in was an amazing experience; the doctor was very welcoming and living with the host family was unforgettable. There is really no better way to learn about Indian culture (and food) than living with a family. I got to play with their son, learn how to cook, share stories, and learn all about Indian hospitality. If anyone has any questions feel free to send me a message! Thanks Aim Abroad


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Agra, Jaipur, and Jaisalmer

During their work here, our volunteers have the opportunity to travel around northern India. We will organize trips so that volunteers can travel together by train, bus, or taxi. Hotels are about 5-10 dollars a night and food is 2-6 dollars per meal so it's cheap to travel.

Agra- 4 hours away--
              Of course the main attraction in Agra is the Taj Mahal and it's not a site to miss! Surrounded by gardens, the beautiful pristine marble building towers above you. The tomb is perhaps the most famous building in India and it is truly a wonder of the world. Agra is very clean because no factories are allowed in the city to prevent pollution from contaminating the Taj. I would recommend going for a weekend although the city can be covered in a day trip.

Jaipur- 7 hours away ---
               As the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is a huge and active city in the hills of east India with a population of 3.5 million. As the home of ancient kings of India, the city is filled with forts and palaces. You can get group tickets for all the historic sites for a discount and spend anywhere from one to four days exploring the winding staircases of the forts and intricate architecture of the palaces. To see the sunset from the top of a fort is breathtaking but remember that you will be doing a bit of a hike around the city so be comfortable and be aware of the heat. As many historic buildings as there are in the city, there are just as many animals. You will see goats, pigs, cows, monkeys, peacocks, camels, and elephants to name just a few. You can take an elephant ride to the top of Amber fort and visit a monkey temple where the monkeys will eat peanuts out of your hands.
                     Jaipur is also known for its shopping, filled with jewelery and textile markets that you can get great deals on. I would recommend spending a weekend to a whole week in Jaipur depending on how much you want to see.

Jaisalmer--19 hours from Delhi (take an overnight train with a bed though and you really won't notice)
                Jaisalmer is in the middle of the desert which is not for everyone but can be a real life changing experience if you're up for it. In the summer, it is almost completely deserted of tourists and has its own gorgeous fort worth wandering around in to really get to see Indian life and locals. Book an overnight camel safari to see the sand dunes, travel on your own camel, and sleep under the stars. You can also travel by dirt bike or jeep to see the beauty of the desert. Jaislamer is a great place to go for a weekend.

useful information for volunteers

Just uploaded some pictures of the children from the Alice In Wonderland orphanage in Faridabad. For those of you who are arriving in the near future or who are interested in coming these pictures are from the orphanage program. In the next few days we will be uploading more pictures from the Slum School and other orphanages around the area. When you arrive we offer wi-fi internet access, comfortable beds and meals. In the language and culture program, you're able to go to Delhi to enjoy the daily culture and if you wish you can travel to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, to Jaipur to enjoy the elephants and cobras or to Dharmshala by bus to see the Monks for a very small fee!

Agra for the day is 800 rupees for the transportation and 700 rupees for entrance into the Taj Mahal.
Delhi for the day including most of the popular sights will be around 1000 rupees for the day!
Old Delhi and the Red Fort will also be around 1000 rupees for the day!

We can also arrange trips to Jaipur, Dharmshala and even Goa!
If you have any questions email Shaun Fantauzzo via!

As I have said, more pictures to come.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sponsor A Child's Care

As many of you already know, much of my time in India has been spent working with an orphanage run by a program called Aim Abroad. Aim Abroad is located in Faridabad, a town just South of Delhi.

Presently, Aim Abroad is in need of help in the form of sustainable small donations. Before I share the specifics of its needs, please take a few moments to read about the services Aim Abroad performs.  

Aim Abroad is a six-year old program that runs its own small orphanage and connects volunteers with other reputable orphanages, slum schools, hospitals, and women’s empowerment initiatives. Aim Abroad additionally serves as the orientation point for many volunteers entering Northern India through partner organizations. Volunteers generally spend one-to-two weeks in the residence of the program Coordinator or a local host family, during which time they receive lessons in Hindi, helpful aid in acclimating to Indian culture, full meals, organized and safe transportation to and from the specified projects and opportunities for sightseeing in Delhi, Jaipur and Amritsar. 

Presently, Aim Abroad has finalized construction on a second small orphanage catering to the needs of handicapped children, but needs your help to furnish that facility, as well as to make certain the incidental monthly costs of caring for the children in both orphanages and the volunteers can be sustained. Such expenses include, but are not limited to clothing, food, school books and school fees, wages for caretakers, appropriate furnishings and fixtures accommodating children with special needs, and medical aid for the children.

Since it is a small organization operating under the larger umbrella of the Global Orphanage Trust and currently receives only nominal donations, Aim Abroad does not yet qualify for a tax exempt status, which would qualify your donation as an exemption. Aim Abroad is growing with marked speed, and hopes to qualify for exemption status within the next year. 

In the meantime, I can personally vouch for the merits of Aim Abroad and the aid it is servicing to a community in dire need. But, Aim Abroad needs your help in the form of a sustainable cumulative donation of $100 - $200 USD a month. It does not matter if the amount comes in the form of $2, $5 or $10 USD a month from multiple persons or if a sponsor is able to contribute on a larger scale. What does matters is that Aim Abroad is able to continue servicing its community and country in providing a loving and safe home to the children it looks after and the volunteers it connects with other relief agencies. Aim Abroad wishes to sustain its current operations and movements towards expansion so as to reach as many children in need as possible.

If you are able to contribute to Aim Abroad on any scale, please contact via email urgently. If you know of opportunities for large scale corporate or private sponsorship, let us know. We will perform the leg work. Documentation, receipts and photos can be provided to you as evidence of how your money has been spent in the continued aid of the orphanages and volunteer services. Additionally, you are invited to come to India or send a representative to make purchases for Aim Abroad directly, should you feel more comfortable. Opportunities to volunteer are also possible. Aid in all forms is welcome and so very much needed.   

For more information on Aim Abroad please visit or

Please contact us via email me should you be interested to help at

Very best,
Bethany Renee Mezick
Aim Abroad Volunteer

Monday, May 30, 2011

General Informations form a Volunteer

Hi! My name is Rachel and I'm currently volunteering with Aim Abroad. I've been here for 5 days and it has been truly amazing already. So far I've worked in the orphanage, volunteered at a hospital and worked with an empowering women project. They have all been really interesting and the program is really great about letting you mess around until you find a project that suits you. They also help plan trips for you if you want to travel and make sure you have other volunteers around you. Through trying out different programs I have met 4 hosts families and they are all wonderful people, really wanting to help out the volunteers staying with them and inspired to help those in need in India. The two things I was most worried about coming here were the heat and my safety. To tackle the first one, I will be's hot, slightly hotter than 100°F, 40°C every day. However, Indians beat the heat by waking up early before it gets too hot to go outside and staying indoors with AC for the hotter part of the day. As long as you drink plenty of water, you'll be fine. Water btw is about 20 rupees, 40 cents per liter so it's easy to come by. The second concern, safety, hasn't been an issue at all. I have walked to different volunteer sites and markets near my host family's house by myself just fine. It takes a little getting used to to be in such a different environment and I originally walked with other volunteers but now I feel comfortable to go out during the day alone within walking distance of the house. If I go out at night, it's with other people and we avoid unsafe areas.

The country is extremely busy and it is definitely a culture shock when you first get here because it is different than anything you can picture. However, even after only 5 days I have been able to become comfortable with the environment and really appreciate the crazy Indian culture surrounding me :)

I hope this helps you with an introduction into Aim Abroad. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Monthly Update

   The following update should serve as an insight to the day-to-day life of the children at the Alice in Wonderland orphanage, and other projects, for anyone interested; especially potential volunteers and those wanting to help. The Alice in Wonderland orphanage, is located in Faridibad, about an hour's car journey south of Delhi and was founded around a year ago to offer a nurturing environment to children who would otherwise be without. The residents include Muskan and Rajat, brother and sister aged 12 and 9 respectively, Anish and Manish, brothers aged 7 and 6, Brijmohan, 7, Sonu, 7 and Khushi, 3. All with distinctive personalities that are guaranteed to charm.
    The 17th of April was marked by Brijmohan's 7th birthday, which was celebrated with a tea party at the orphanage which all the children and 3 volunteers attended. Just like there should be at every child's birthday, there was cake. Also greatly enjoyed, were the presents and a pinata. As a special birthday treat, the next day at school, Brijmohan proudly wore his own clothes, instead of his uniform!
   Not as fun for the children, however, was the outbreak of head lice, which resulted in haircuts all round. That's apart from Muskan; (12 years old) to chop off her beautiful, thick head of shiny black hair would be a crime!
   Another notable event was the day that the children received new outfits, courtesy of Simone and Colin, mother and son volunteers from London, England. The excitement could be felt in the air and they were only to happy to pose together for their very own photo-shoot. Being the subject of photographs is something they are only too used to as not a day goes by without a volunteer snapping their movements, whether they are dipping their chapati in their chai at breakfast time or waddling to school with their enormous backpacks, which they recently received from Bethany, a most-dedicated volunteer from New York, USA. Bethany was intending to take only a week out of her busy traveling schedule to spend in Faridibad, but after falling in love with the children of AiW, ended up staying with them a month, also sharing her devotion and skills helping and photographing the various other projects in the surrounding areas which volunteers can choose to donate their time to.
   Anyone willing to offer themselves to an extremely worthy cause should take note. As a volunteer who has spent 3 weeks here already (out of 5) I can say from experience that the considerable amount that can be given by a dedicated volunteer and gratefully received by the children, is unsurpassed by the amount that can be learned.
   Also worth taking note of is the current temperature, which has been reaching and exceeding 40 degrees Celsius almost every day. The heat, however, is not uncomfortable if the following precautions are taken: drink plenty of water, around 3-6 liters, appropriate clothing is always worn, which can be purchased from the nearby markets for extremely reasonable prices. (Additionally, wearing appropriate clothes from the market is appreciated by the locals and helps to make you feel less like a foreigner!) At certain times of the day, it is best to be indoors where the fans and air conditioning make a considerable difference. Most of the projects are equipped with fans, more recently the Alice in Wonderland school, which hosts around 30 children from the surrounding slums in Faridibad, has been fully kitted out, making it a more pleasant working and learning environment.
It won't be long before the next update, thanks for reading! For further information, photographs and contact details please visit our Facebook page:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Project Ready To Open in a Few Days!

We have some exciting news over with the projects at Aim Abroad! Our new orphanage for children with disabilities is almost ready to open! We finished all of the exterior construction about a week and a half ago, and as of this morning, the interior reconstruction has finished! Now, we are working on cleaning and organizing the orphanage, and getting enough supplies and everything ready for the opening. Additionally, we are not clear on exactly who will be given the opportunity to live in the orphanage, but we do know two children, desperately needing a home, whom we would like to offer a place in the home and family. Aiming to house about four to five orphaned and disabled children in this home, we are looking forward to this great new project to help the poor and needy in India, especially now with a focus to help disabled children too! Otherwise, our school for children who live in slum areas has been going well. We have been maintaining an attendance of thirty children, who are all eager to come and learn (and enjoy a treat for arriving on time!). The children have been studying learning their ABCs orally, and they have been working on mastering the use of the pencil, drawing straight lines, circle, squares, basic shapes, etc. Hopefully soon the children will be starting to draw the symbols in the English and Hindi alphabets!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Medical Volunteering and Orphanage Children's Academic Reports!

Today Marie Murphy (as seen above), one of our medical volunteers from New York, went to a charitable hospital called Sharma Charitable Center. She mostly took measurements of the patients' blood pressures, weights, heart rates, etc., but she also had the opportunity to go with the doctors on rounds and observe the doctors working in the outpatient department. In one particular case, she described a patient with a rash on his chest, resulting from heat and dehydration. The doctors prescribed a lotion and told him to drink copious amounts of water, as the summer is around the corner and the temperatures are not too extreme right now: he needs to prepare for how his body will react when the temperature will peak by the end of May. Most of the other cases were fairly common cases, including cold or flu symptoms, which she felt were not noteworthy, but the rash case was particularly interesting to an aspiring dermatologist.

Otherwise, the children in our orphanage have been doing very well in their classes! Earlier this month the children took their final exams for the year, and tomorrow they will be starting their new academic year in school. In India, the academic system works differently than how most volunteers describe their academic system runs in Western countries: Our new term begins in the end of March, and the school year ends in the beginning of March. Children have summer vacation off as well, but in the middle of their school year. Once the children finished this academic year, the results came in! Muskan, Rajat, and Anish, all performed at the top of their classes! Brij Mohan and Sonu also did very well in their classes, as Brij Mohan placed second and Sonu placed fourth out of all of their classmates. Unfortunately, it breaks my heart to see Manish struggling so much through his school work. This year Manish did poorly on his exams again, though the teachers have been seeing improvements! After our parent-teacher meetings, we all decided that he would stay back in lower kindergarten, and in three months' time we will reevaluate his progress. Sonu, Anish, and Brij Mohan moved on to upper kindergarten, while Rajat moved on to 1st grade and Muskan onto 5th grade. We will continue our hard work with all of the volunteering projects, especially educating the young children in our orphanage! Our results, for the most part, prove that we have been doing the best job possible!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Volunteers Visit the New School!

Today one of our volunteers, Jenny, from Malaysia, went to volunteer at our new school for children who live in slum areas! While there, she helped distribute some donations to the children, mostly school supplies, textbooks, stickers, etc. and  helped put up charts and posters of different fruits with their names in English and Hindi, and different vegetables with their names in English an Hindi. Now that we had a volunteer with us, the teacher and Jenny went around the classroom helping the children starting to learn how to properly write some Hindi and English letters, though they have only started a few characters in each script. Jenny also helped the children pronouncing the names of the English letters and numbers, and the children have been practicing their nursery rhymes, oral counting (in Hindi and in English), and orally reciting both the alphabet and devanagari (the Hindi alphabet). We also want to express our satisfaction with our project's success, as our new program of rewarding the children with candy for attendance has had such a great impact on our attendance rate! Now our school has grown by 50%, as today we had thirty children. We do not think we can extend the group to more children, as our workspace and funds are prohibitive, but this improvement shows that our work and ideas are helping the kids in being motivated to come and learn!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More about our Newest Project

At the school for children living in slum areas, the work has been a bit slow, since we have several obstacles to overcome before our children can start learning at a rapid rate. At the moment, because the school is in the beginning stages, many of the children have been arriving irregularly and tardy, which drastically limits our rate of progress: We must work on punctuality to help discipline the children. After reviewing our budget, we have decided to implement a program to encourage the children to arrive on time: We will award the children who arrive before classes begin with a small candy, a rare treat for these deprived children. Our volunteers have not been to the school since its opening, but starting tomorrow the volunteers will work at the school, now that the children are a little more accustomed to using pencils and doing the activities requested by our teacher, Neetu (who is shown holding a child in the first picture). We feel that the volunteers' presence will have such a great impact on the children: while the children focus on learning very basic techniques with writing, the volunteers will practice songs with the children so that they can start learning the alphabet and counting. Neetu is also teaching the children the Hindi alphabet system, known as "devanagari," or "ka kha ga" (which is comparable to "ABCs" in English). 

Neetu is actually a local teacher, having grown up in the very same neighborhood as the children! She is very studious and self-motivated, and she is pursuing a degree by correspondence right now. In the mean time, this job will help her earn while she honorably helps our students gain an education. Though her English communication skills are somewhat limited, she will be able to communicate enough with the volunteers to work together. One common theme in our children's behavior is a lack of discipline. We would like to be able to afford uniforms for the children, to help foster a sense of discipline and professionalism in the children, but the funding is simply unavailable. One complete set for the uniforms per year would cost 1,000 Rupees per child, about $22 USD, or for the entire school of twenty children, about 20,000 Rupees, or $440 USD per year. Considering what we do provide the children, however, we still feel that there is much room for improvement, once we have all of the funding necessary to support our cause. With our current budget, we can only provide one banana per day per child, but ideally we would like to provide a nutritiously balanced meal rather than a small snack. Let's see how the work with the volunteers goes tomorrow!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Holi!

At Aim Abroad, we wish everybody had a colorful Holi yesterday! In spirit of the festivities, we helped organize a Holi gathering for the children at our orphanage! The children played on the roof of the house where they stay, and everybody had a wonderful time. For those who do not know about the holiday, Holi is a festival where we take colored powder, called "gulaal," and mix it with water or throw the powder on its own to color everyone in a variety of colors. There are many stories and different origins of the tradition; however, one tradition's moral is that the color of one's skin does not matter, a very respectable teaching!

Many of our volunteers recently went traveling, mostly to Jaipur, as the celebrations in Jaipur tend to be a little more vibrant than in our region of Delhi, so we hope that they too had a wonderful time. This evening most of the volunteers will be returning to their host families to continue with their projects tomorrow. We will be continuing our work with the new school and continue to post updates about the progress of the children's education. Once again, we wish everyone had a Happy Holi, or "Holi Mubaarak,"  as we say in Hindi!

Friday, March 18, 2011

School in the Slums Project Began Yesterday and Holi 2011!

Yesterday we started our first day of teaching at the new school in the slum area! Here is a picture of the view from the school and its vicinity. Though today we didn't have any volunteers go to the project, we met with the teacher for the school and began the first class with the children. We have about twenty children from the neighborhood in the slum areas, all who are completely illiterate up until now. To get them accustomed to school, the teacher passed out supplies for the children, among them pencils, which they had never used before. They all practiced grasping the pencils, and were getting used to properly holding a pencil so that we can eventually teach them writing skills. After the children we used to the proper technique for holding the pencils, they began some scribbles and doodles, and at the end of the day they a chance for creating their own art. Although today their artwork was not so artistically impressive, the children's dedication to their task and their satisfaction with their own creations impressed us by far! We are very happy that the first day was a success, and look forward to more improvements with the school!

Also, we would like to wish everyone a very happy Holi! May your day be as filled with color as it will be for all of us in India!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Launching a New Orphanage Project and a New School Project

Here is a picture of a new orphanage we are creating: this orphanage is especially geared towards helping children who are disabled. We will be hosting five children when we begin on April 1st, 2011! We are still working on refurbishing the home and some construction on the exterior of where the five children will live, which is why we have not begun the project yet.

Also, our school project has been coming along nicely as well. We currently have our student body ready, and the students' parents have agreed to allow us to provide their children with a free education, school supplies, and one meal daily. Approximately 20 students will comprise the student body. We have made the arrangements for supplies for the school (a blackboard, chalk, a carpet, etc.) and will be beginning this project later on this week too. Though we will be the size of a small classroom, we hope that we can spread awareness of the need for education to more students in the neighborhood, and we hope to raise more funds to support a larger student body!

Though we have been unable to write on the blog as often as we would like to, our projects have been running continuously, and we are finding more and more ways to give back to the community with each passing day! We will try to update as regularly as possible. If you would like to learn more about the program, please check out our website, We look forward to meeting more altruistic volunteers with a passion for inspiring and helping the needy in India and around the world!

Donations from the Local Community!

Last night the children at the orphanage had special guests visit them for dinner! A local family in Delhi NCR decided that they wanted to come and spend time with the children, and brought dinner for each of the children at the orphanage: The family was also interested in spending time and making donations for the children, for which we are extremely grateful. In other news, one of my husband's acquaintances has a connection with the people who own a restaurant at the park, which the children love to visit, and he has requested that we mention his name, and the children will be able to order anything that they like! Though we will not spoil the children and tell them, we are certain that whenever the children go to the park, they will have the opportunity to eat at the park, as a chaperone would use the connection and provide the food for the children! Here is a photo of the children at the same park, as they enjoy their morning together in the park with some volunteers! It is a true inspiration to see the kind of help that so many people in the neighborhood are eager to offer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New School with Aim Abroad!

We are sorry that we have been unable to post this week, but things have been very busy here in Delhi NCR as our volunteering programs are expanding and helping more people in need! We have some wonderful news as well! This week, we have been working on opening a school for slum-children in the neighborhood, and we have received the funding for start-up costs! We plan to open the school close to an area of very needy people, who cannot afford food or basic amenities for their families. Most of these families prefer not to send their children to school, as they would rather have the children work or earn money. We plan to offer the children at the school one meal daily, school supplies, and a set of school clothes and shoes for the summer and winter, to help persuade local parents to enroll their children in our school (for free) and invest in their own children's education and future! For the past few weeks, we have been meeting with some real estate agents to find an affordable yet convenient location for our mission, and we believe today we have found the right spot! Here is a picture of a girl nearby, who we believe will be one of our future students! We are very much looking forward to this endeavor to reach out to help more people in a different way, as this can help sustain children who have families yet are trapped without a means for education.

Also, the volunteers who went to Delhi this past weekend had a great trip. They described that they changed their itinerary a bit while on the road, and went to Chandni Chowk and Red Fort, otherwise known as "Laal kilaa" in Hindi, reserving Sunday for a trip to Connaught Place and the Lotus Temple before heading back to their host families with Aim Abroad!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Volunteers in Delhi and Weekend Plans

This weekend a group of three volunteers went to the central area in Delhi to visit some of the tourist attractions such as Delhi's famous Qutab Minar, the Lotus Temple, and Connaught Place, Delhi's famous shopping district. The volunteers headed out early in the morning, and we are certain they will have an interesting time, as other volunteers had advised them based on their previous traveling experiences. Also, this morning, a pair of volunteers went to the orphanage to help the children get ready for their half-day at school today. In the afternoon, a few of them will go with the children to Town Park, a very nice park in the area! I have attached a photo from when the volunteers took a few of the children from the orphanage over to the park a few months ago. We are looking forward to a nice day with everyone!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Volunteering at the Orphanage

At Aim Abroad, our volunteers have been continuing their work with us, especially with the orphanage and our newest addition, Khushi ji! One of our volunteers has been diligently waking up every morning at 7:00AM to help the children get ready for school. She has been with us for about five months, and her hard work and dedication are much appreciated by all of us, especially the children! After school, the children spend time with the rest of the volunteers, as they improve their English communication, which is a long, but worthwhile work in progress! Also, some volunteers are making plans to visit the main areas in Delhi on the weekend, and visit some of the tourist sites such as the Lotus Temple and Connaught Place, Delhi's major shopping district. We are looking forward to their exciting plans as it's always nice to explore every facet of the volunteering experience while in a foreign country!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Child at our Orphanage!

We have been very busy with Aim Abroad this past month, and thus we had not had time to update our blog in a while! We are sorry about this, but we hope to continue to be able to post as often as possible, as we want to keep everyone updated about our volunteering projects and programs! Firstly, we have some wonderful news! We have a new addition to our orphanage, Khushi, age 3! She is the second girl we have hosted at our orphanage, and now Muskan (holding Khushi in one picture) has a new friend who is a girl! We have all been very happy together, but with the new addition to our family, our work has increased a lot! The other kids have been adjusting well with Khushi ji (a respectful way to refer to Khushi in Hindi), and the volunteers have been enjoying working with a new individual as well! Our volunteers, in the mean time, have been continuing their volunteering projects in the orphanages and the medical projects, and a few have been volunteering at the schools for the children who live in slum areas. Mostly the volunteers have been working with our orphanage, since we have been making adjustments with Khushi ji, but everyone is having a nice time while we are all working together to make advancements!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hindi Lesson 3

Continuing with our discussion about using the English alphabet to represent the correct sounds in Hindi, I would like to go over the other vowel sounds, and some new important consonant sounds. In Hindi we find many different vowels, which are present in English, but the English vowel sounds are affected by the other letters in the words. For example, in English, we have a short "u" vowel with the sound in "book" ("buk," in this writing system) or "who" ("hu," in this system), which we will represent with the letter "u" in these Hindi lessons. This sound is not often come across in English, but we do find the longer "u" vowel more often, such as in "loom" ("luum") or "fool" ("fuul"), which we will represent as "uu" in this series of lessons. The difference is very subtle, and not extremely important, but it will help the Hindi student who has an interest in learning to properly speak the language. Basically, the short "u" is a shortened version of the longer "uu," which can be easily differentiated when we look at the difference in sounds between the words "book" and "loom."

Similarly, we have a short and long form of the vowel "i." Short forms are found in words like "pin" or "kin," while long forms are found in words like "clean" or "seen." To represent these vowel sounds, we will represent the short vowel form of "i" simply as "i." Thus, "pin" and "kin" are spelled exactly the same in both English, and this version of phonetic English. For the longer "i" sounds, we will use the symbol "ee," which is less strain on the eyes than seeing a word written with "ii" (for example, "deal" is easy to clearly represent as "deel" rather than "diil"). So, for "clean" or "seen," we represent these words as "kleen" and "seen" respectively.

Lastly, the last vowel sound to consider is the "o" sound. When we use the symbol "o," we are representing the sounds in words like "joke" or "most." For Hindi pronunciation sticklers, the sound is a little abrupt, in the sense that when we say "most," the first sound in the vowel is the sound we want, and the sound which almost sounds like the "uu" sound just as we pronounce the "s," this is a second, independent vowel, which should be omitted it in Hindi. In fact, the sound in "omit" is a much closer sound to what we want! Now, there is a final sound in Hindi which is similar to this "o" sound, which we will represent as "au," which, is its own vowel, and not two separate vowels, when you read through these lessons. This sound is uncommon, but found in words like "aural" or "drawer." This completes our discussion on using vowels!

We won't be able to finish up the consonants in this Hindi lesson, but I will introduce a very important discussion about pronouncing some of the most common consonants we come across in Hindi, and in the next lesson we can finish up these introductions to properly pronouncing Hindi words. Moving on, in Hindi, when we pronounce words such as "to" or "take," we do not pronounce them as "tuu" or "tek," but rather, as "Tuu" or "Tek" in this writing system. These capital letters differentiate between the t's, in which the tongue touches behind the interface of the top front teeth and gums ("t"), and the t's in which the tip of the tongue touches the palate ("T"), where the tongue touches the rear ridges in the roof of the mouth. This is very important to clarify, as in English, we do not use the tip of the tongue to make these sounds! We instead use a different region of the tongue, not the tip. In Hindi, we only use the tip of the tongue to make any sounds, and the rest of the tongue does not act in the articulation of refining sounds.

Similar to the "T" sound I have introduced, we also encounter "D," which is essentially is the same as "T," except the sound rolls as the tongue is still resting on the palate (similar in the comparison between "t" and "d"). In Hindi, we also have aspirated sounds, so we will also see the sounds "Th" and "Dh" appear, which should have clear pronunciation guidelines if you have been following these Hindi lessons. We also find a "n" sound, in which the "n" is produced by placing the tip of the tongue in the same place as when making the "T" sound, and we represent this as an "N." Similarly, we have a "S" sound, which nowadays has a sound equivalent to "sh," but in the older language the sound was produced by positioning the tip of the tongue near these hind ridges in the roof of the mouth, but not touching the roof of the mouth, and making a "sh" sounding utterance. This distinction between "S" and "sh" is commonly ignored nowadays, but I will remain true to the original and proper pronunciation of formal Hindi.

This wraps up today's lesson! We hope you enjoyed the lesson, as we feel it's necessary to cover the important tips about proper Hindi pronunciation for the avid learner!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year and Children's School Grades!

At Aim Abroad, we would like to wish everyone a very happy new year, or, "Naayee saal kee mubaarak baar!" ("Happy New Year" in Hindi), or simply "shubh kaamnaayein" ("congratulations" in Hindi)! At our projects in Delhi NCR, we have been quite busy during the holiday season! The children at the orphanage have had holidays from school, so we have been spending all of our time with the children, when they would normally have school hours. The children have also received their grades from school, and most of the children did extremely well! Muskan, the oldest child, came in first in her entire year in the school!  Brij Mohan and Rajat, two of the elder boys in the orphanage, also received the highest marks out of all of the children in their year! Anish did very well in his class, and Sonu received decent marks, however, Manish was not able to receive passing marks in school. 

We were very sad about the news regarding Manish's results from school, as we have spent every day working with Manish and helping him; but the language barrier, since Hindi is a foreign language to this five year-old, is simply too large an obstacle for him at the moment. Though he has improved immensely, we truly struggle with his inability to communicate or understand Hindi that is not extremely basic, and we especially struggle with his attention and focus issues, in conjunction with his hyperactivity. We are really searching for any volunteers who have special experience working with children in his shoes, either incapable of complex communication, or with hyperactive and attention disorders. Though the news was difficult for us, we are doing our very best, and seeing the progress of the other children has motivated us that it is possible to help Manish, and he will one day reach a level of success, if we persevere! Attached, I included a photo of Manish on his birthday, just a few weeks ago!