Aisling Kelleher Volunteer, Sabuj Sangha VP16

10 Weeks teaching the children of Aalor Disha school, Kolkata in 2016

10:30 train to Champahati followed by a short walk down the trainĀ tracks with my teaching partners Dervla and Tatiana before walking up the stairs in Aalor Disha to be greeted by excited cries of "Auntie, Auntie!"
Lessons began after the 12 noon prayer. The kids in our class varied from 10 year olds right down to their 2 year old brothers and sisters that were sent into school with them each day. We would split the class into different levels to teach English and Maths, then regroup after lunch for a whole class lesson on the weekly theme: shapes, colours, weather, family members etc
Arts & Crafts each Friday was the highlight of the week. Both for us and the kids!

Last day of school alongside our amazing teachers Dipika & Mita and Sabuj Sangha's Arts & Crafts teacher Sukla.

So what about Kolkata, why do they call it the City of Joy?

You'll soon find out that the answer is the people! Even with the language barrier we made some great friends on the commute to school each day on the train, as well as developing strong relationships with our regular street food vendors, photocopiers, corner shop boys, tuk tuk drivers and many more.
Whether after a really productive or a tough day at school, I could always count on coming home at the end of the day to a house full of laughter with my fellow Sabuj Shampions.

Team Sabuj Sangha 2016. Friendships that you can guarantee will remain much longer than the 10 weeks in Kolkata.

Kolkata - Sundarbands - Darjeeling - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Jaipur - Rishikesh - Manali - Amristsar - Taj Mahal, Agra - Varanasi

The travel option at the end of placement - sure when else will you be able to travel India with so much freedom and so cheaply again?
But lastly, I'd like to introduce you to Fiaz. He is 8 years old, loves school, is amazing at English, very artistic and also learned subtraction this summer. Each child in Aalor Disha received one of these blue school bags from Suas donations, they each brought theirs in every day whether it was full with copies and pencils or completely empty, they were just so proud of owning them.

The Suas Overseas Volunteer Programme allows you to join a movement whereby young people are striving to use education as a tool for social change. By working with local partners, the work you put in for 10 weeks will be continued long after you've left the children a summer of happy memories.

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Aisling Kelleher

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