Snehalaya Charity update part 2
Olivia Adams, friend of SlipTest, reports back after an amazing first week supporting the Snehalaya charity as part of the Leeds RAG project:
I spent my first two days looking at all of the different outreach projects that Snehalaya run outside of the main campus. We went to the radio centre that the town Ahmednagar can listen to, the shows talk about recent topics, what Snehalaya is up to and makes the town aware that there is a safe place for those in need. The adoption centre is where about 25 children are nursed and looked after, including twins who were only 3 weeks old. This was an emotional trip as many of the children were really poorly and some of the stories of how they were found were shocking. There were many others projects such as a centre for ICT, allowing people to learn basic skills needed to use a computer, a centre for women in distress who received counselling and a safe place to live until they could be self sufficient. The people within the local slums are given English classes through Snehalaya and there is also 'Childline', which provides a service for children around the town to seek help when needed. There were also other centres for boys over 18 who would learn about agriculture to provide skills to then be employed. After visiting this centre we went on to see a place which provides education and job opportunities for those who are disabled. Finally, Snehalaya have a long term vision to build a community for those with HIV to farm and be self sufficient so we were able to go and visit. The charity has worked really hard to create projects that are sustainable and accessible to all and the work is incredible.
I have spent the last week mainly in the school, where we have painted educational visuals on the walls for teachers to use in school and have also held English classes for the children. We did English classes with the older girls and boys where we taught them basic colours, shapes and animals. Using a world map we taught them where different countries were and asked them to spell these words to the class. It was great to see how enthusiastic and willing the children were and the efforts they put in to learn the English language and culture. I also went to the 'Smile Factory', which is for the women at the centre who want to earn a small wage and be educated about how women should use sanitary products. We learnt that in India a lot of the poorer communities did not have access to proper sanitary products and so were using cloths, rags and rice/wheat which led to many infections and poor hygiene. Snehalaya has created a factory that allows the women to make sanitary towels very cheaply and easily for a very small amount of money. They can then sell these to hospitals, slums and the local community at a price of 30 rupees, which is roughly 30p per packet. This place was fantastic and very sustainable, providing women with empowerment and an income! My first week here has been incredible and seeing how happy these children are, along with the difference we can make has been unbelievable. I can't wait to tell you more about what I get up to!
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