Final Snehalaya charity update

Olivia Adams, friend of SlipTest, gives her final update from her time in India supporting Snehalaya as part of the Leeds RAG project. 

My final update of my time in Snehalaya and what we got up to in my last week! In India, Easter isn’t celebrated so we decided to teach them about the meaning behind it and obviously held a little Easter egg hunt for them on the Sunday. It was great fun and all the children loved having a little chocolate treat followed by some cricket and games in the evening sun! In the last few days I also spent time in one of the projects open to anyone in Snehalaya called the ‘Earth Studio’. This is a creativity and design studio that allows people to make, create and design anything from bags, scarfs, and bunting to clay statues and earrings/necklaces. Children of all ages and many women use this as an opportunity to develop skills that can be applied to various things when they leave the charity and most importantly it provides a place for empowerment and encouragement. It was inspiring to see such young talented children and this project also allowed them to sell their pieces to volunteers and visitors, allowing a wage to be made! Similar to the ‘Smile factory’, this project is sustainable and educates the children and women, which is fantastic to see.

 Within the charity there are several dorms that the children and care takers live in however, we decided as a group that they needed some colour and attention, to make them more homely and personal to the children. Therefore we had taken out materials to re-vamp their rooms as much as we could! Each day we spent time in different dorms, making paper chains, doing drawings, creating posters and adding some colour and it was great to see their reactions to the rooms once they were finished. We even painted a blackboard wall in the toddlers dormitory so they could personalise the walls right by their own beds!

 The school on site is an ‘English Medium School’ and Nick (the English representative) asked us to do some presentations on introductions, manners, and hygiene as this is a current problem for some of the children. We decided to focus on the little children (age 0-5) for the ‘introductions’ presentation, teaching them ‘Hello, How are you? My name is and Goodbye’. This was a great success and for the rest of our time here we had them running up to us shouting ‘Hello, my name is….’,  this was very pleasing for us! To the rest of the children we decided it was time we got creative and we performed a little role-play scene about manners and hygiene. This included brushing teeth, showering, washing hands before and after meals and the toilet and saying please and thankyou. Although we may have embarrassed ourselves a bit acting silly, the message seemed to get across well and again the children for the rest of our time in the charity were doing impressions of our role-play scene and started saying please and thankyou much more.

 My time here in Snehalaya has been absolutely incredible and I already want to come back again. On our final night we did a presentation, showing any pictures/videos we had taken and we performed a dance to Jai’ho before inviting all the children up to dance the night away to there favourite song-jing jing jingat! Saying goodbye was the toughest experience I have ever had but it has only made me more determined to venture back out when I can afford too. The charity is up and coming, with many hopes and plans for the near future and in the long run. Funding for simple things like fuel, food and paying caretakers wages is a constant battle and any donations big or small would be greatly appreciated.

 Please spread the word about this incredible charity and explore the website snehalaya.org to see how you can donate and what impact it can have on the children and women. You won’t regret it.

 

 

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