I spent the summer of 2017 in Hyderabad, India. While there's many more issues than the ones I witnessed, I want to share my experiences and help educate people on some of the problems. In the end, I hope we were able to make an impact on some of these people lives. However, I know the impact they made on me is much greater than anything I could have done for them.
The biggest project we worked on with education was helping with a preschool in a slum called Nirali. Many of the families are too poor to send their kids to government school, so they don't receive an education.
We helped to paint a building for a school right in their community but more importantly we worked on training the teachers, Mahalakshmi and Yasmine. They are some of the most kind and caring women I've ever met. We taught them basic child development lessons and helped them create a curriculum so they can continue to teach the children in Nirali.
After a few weeks of interaction with the kids in Nirali we saw so much growth in these kids. Just giving these kids time and attention made such a big difference. I'm excited to see what education does for them because I guarantee they're going to be some powerful people.
We kept running into this issue of what we called "India time". Pretty much people are always canceling on you and things are constantly falling through. After a couple hard days due to India time our coordinators reminded us that every minute we spent with the kids was a minute well spent.
Everyday women across India wake up before dawn to trek to a field where they can use the bathroom without being seen. But even when they don't have to worry about being harassed or seen by men, there are things like cobras to fear.
Children use the bathroom right outside their homes and on the streets- which is a health crisis in its own. Women are nervous to send their daughters out and often go to the fields together in large groups.
Soilets, a bathroom created with earthworms to decompose waste and keep the room odorless, are a solution that provide women and their families a safe and close place to use the bathroom.
Hearing and recording these women's stories and seeing their excitement over being selected to receive a soilet makes me want everyone to know how much these women go through and what a difference these soilets can make.
With the help of our in-country partners SAPID we were able to do a free health and eye clinic for people living in the slums.
We were able to help with blood pressure and blood sugar tests to look for potential health risks in people who don't have a lot of access to medical care.
While the tests were simple, people were eager to come and learn about risks and ways they could minimize negative health effects.
India will forever have my heart after these experiences. I traveled with an organization called HELP International. If you'd like to donate or learn more about the program you can click the button below.