Our Conservation program Volunteers joined their hands with the NSS(National Service Scheme) school students for emphasizing the Environmental Awareness at Ullar.
The Students as well as the Volunteer worked together for 2 days and about 21 school students participated for the program. During the first day, the participants planted over 4 unique variety of plant saplings including - Azadirachta indica (widely used as insecticide),Vites Negundo(used for treating neuro -skeletal and muscular systems), Erythrina variegate (useful species for soil enrichment also used as fodder for animals)and Silk Cotton (used as food for birds) and about 50 seeds allover Ullar.
The important thing to be highlighted is - all the saplings were raised in the Model Farm itself. Then the students were taken around the Model Farm and taught about the functions of the Model Farm.
And during the second day, Volunteers were invited by a Doctor in a Primary Health Centre and as per her request, some of the herbal plant saplings were planted in the Primary Health Centre.
Contributed by Nadia – the Social Manager
On Saturday 18th September we travelled to Velliveethiyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School for September’s Dirty weekend. When we arrived we were greeted my many smiling children of different ages, all keen to try out their English on us. They asked us so many questions; what was our name, our national country, how old we were. We were both very impressed with their level of English and how well and fluently they spoke it.
Projects Abroad had donated two new whiteboards to the school to replace the old black boards they were currently using. So while the whiteboards were being fixed onto the wall we interacted with the children and played games such as Simon says and Chinese Whispers, although the loud festival going on outside made it difficult to talk to the children as a big group. They also brought their work to show us and which text books they used, depending on their age, and postcards left by previous volunteers of their home country, and attempted to teach us Tamil. The time flew by and once the boards were fixed on the wall we presented the boards, new pens and eraser to the head teacher on behalf of projects abroad. Everyone was very grateful. We then attended a thanking ceremony, the school and children thanked us for the donation, many of the children gave a speech in English explaining how these new whiteboards would help them learn and improve their chances of a good career.
Looking back, we will never forget this completely new and inspiring experience and it will always be with us, especially the welcoming and smiling faces of the Velliveethiyar Corporation students.
Contributed by Alice MUDRACK(Italy)&Rebecca CLIFFORD(United Kingdom)/ Medicine
On 23rd of October 2010, Projects Abroad India celebrated the Make a Difference Day at Love & Care orphanage. The day was specially meant for helping others. All the staff members and nearly 30 volunteers attended the day and activity over the day was unforgetful.
We all joined our hands and prepared the lunch meals for about 200 children and for the staff working in the orphanage. It was really a tough job especially during a hot sunny day but our volunteers did the work in a very interesting manner.
In the afternoon, we conducted some games for the Kids such as Skipping race, hit the target, etc.,. After that, we had a traditional Indian sport named Uri Aditthal for the volunteers and staff as well. ( In Uri Aditthal, an earthern pot will be tied to some height and the eyes of the participant will be tied so t hat they cant see where the pot is. Then the participant will be given a long stick and asked to break the pot and the person who breaks the pot will be declared as the Winner). And few of our volunteers managed to find the pot and one of our staff broke the pot as well.
In the evening, we had a prize distribution function and a thanks delivering by our team of Projects Abroad India.
Contributed by Nadia – the Social Manager
On 15th of October we had the Ayudha Pooja celebration in the Projects Abroad main office at Madurai. Ayudha Pooja is a famous pooja festival celebrated all over India and its been conducted for the sake of developing one’s own business and surroundings.
As per the Hindu religion customary we(all the staff members) cleaned the office, decorated the office with color papers, balloons and stuff like that then worshipped the god by offering some sweets to the Goddess Saraswathi. Then we distributed sweets and snacks to all the people nearby to our office and to all the staff members. Also the volunteers just arrived participated and enjoyed the pooja as well.
Contributed by Nadia – the Social Manager
India has always been a land of intrigue and beauty, the British themselves for as long as they were there named her the jewel in their crown. For those who have the heart and for those who have the roots, India takes you and pulls you in deep. My own beginnings were East Africa but my ancestors were Hindus and India has always held a very special part of me captive. From a very young age, my uncles and aunts, my father and grandparents would weave stories that would have me dreaming of a place where I could fit, where I could make a difference. I finally visited India in my early 20s and while I held those same stories in my chest, the reality was so different. There were children in the streets, abject poverty lining every corner I visited and I was shocked and hurt. At that age, I had my own family to take care of and my own poverty to get over, but the images and the want to be a force of change took hold in a very deep part of me and stayed.
That was 30 years ago. I am now a proud Mother of 3 beautiful children and it was through my middle daughter that the 30-year-wish of a 20-year-old girl finally became reality. My daughter, in her third year of pre-med on Ontario was looking for an opportunity to exercise her skills in a place that truly needed them. She too was entranced by India and brought this back to me, excited about some organization called Projects Abroad that would enable her to volunteer and live in India for weeks on end. I decided to accompany her, but on a slightly different project. You see, I found an orphanage, I found the little girls I saw on the streets decades ago and I found a way in. And so we packed. We took suitcases and suitcases, not of clothes, not of amenities, but of school supplies. I am a trained teacher here in Canada and although I was not completely certain exactly what it was I was getting myself into, I knew that this was finally an opportunity to change something, anything, and I was going to push the limits and do just as much as I could.
We arrived in India and after one night together my daughter went off to her host family and I was escorted to the orphanage. Thirty five minutes away from Madurai sat Ballar Illam Orphanage, my new assignment. I was nervous and immensely excited, here was India again, here was the heart of a 20-year-old girl who just wanted to change something It took me a few days, the orphanage was of course set in its ways, had schedules and the girls were always busy. I didn’t know where exactly to start with the three suitcases of Montessori supplies and everything is intimidating when it’s new. It took me about a week, but by then I had a classroom, a scheduled rotation for the girls to come through it and a special student I would teach in the daytime while the girls were away. It was a dream, early in the morning the first sounds drifted into my little window, whispered children’s voices and the sounds of the brooms yielded from the trees hitting the pavement, sweeping the early morning dust away. As the girls finished their early morning chores, I’d be ready on the steps outside my room waiting for them to bring their homework over before school started and I’d be asked to draw and correct, point out and laugh.
The day was quiet when the girls were away at School and I spent time getting to know the Warden and the teachers in the school nearby. The days passed far too quickly for my taste, each girl took up her own space in my heart and I could barely tear myself away from the orphanage for any real sight seeing while I was actually in India. I saw everything I wanted to see in the eyes of the little girls and it’s these eyes that will draw me back as soon as I can gather up the time and the space for another stint Projects Abroad.
Contributed by Munira NAGJI (Canada)/Care Volunteer (Alumni)
Saturday 25th of September, 12 volunteers from Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Journalism, Conservation and Care got together for a Lice Treatment Camp at Love and Care hostel.We often see young and grown ups scratching their heads, this affects their night sleep too.
The idea came from one of the previous volunteer from Projects Abroad and Nadia from Projects Abroad helped with the purchase of the lice treatment shampoo and combs.
The day started around 10 am in the morning and it took some time for us in getting the things to be organized for the 150 children staying at the hostel.
Four volunteers were shampooing the children one by one. We started with the youngest and also got good help from the older girls at the hostel.
After shampooing they had to wait 4-5 minutes before they went on to the next station which also has 4 volunteers over there for washing the shampoo out.
After the washing process 5 volunteers were ready with the combs. And this task took some time, since many of the girls have thick and long hair.
Also we got an excellent co-operation from the Children and they keep on smiling all the day.
The result was quiet good, though there are some eggs left and they have to do the treatment 3 more times.
From the next times onwards, the children and the staff can do the steps on their own because now they know how to do it and what treatment to use.
All the shampoos, combs were sponsored by Projects Abroad. The day ends with lunch at the hostels manager house. We enjoyed the day so much.
From 27th of September till 3rd of October the children has their holiday period. We thought that it was a good chance to make some activities. There is a lot of joy and laughter during this time, during when the volunteers and the children are jumping around. Also we did yoga in the morning continued by painting activity for the kids with crayons, water color, henna and we put on nail polish on both girls and boys.This was a huge hit in our orphanage!!
Contributed by Anne Olaussen (Norway) & Sofia Angel (Sweden) - Care
Jeg er nu trådt ind i min tredje måned som hospitals-frivillig, og har stadig tre måneder tilbage. Indtil videre har det været rigtig spændende og utroligt nyttigt for en som mig. Jeg afsluttede gymnasiet lige før sommerferien 2010, og var som nybagt student nu klar til at prøve nye grænser af. Havde længe været i tvivl, om jeg skulle tage et sabbatår eller om jeg ville starte direkte på medicinstudiet lige efter ferien. Grunden til at jeg var i tvivl, var at jeg var bange for at jeg ville føle at et år gik til spilde. Denne tanke har dog ikke slået mig en eneste gang efter jeg startede mit projekt i Indien. Med Project abroad har jeg nemlig haft rig mulighed for at lave noget studie-relateret. Udover at jeg kunne vælge at være på et hospital, kunne jeg også vælge hvilken område(r) indenfor medicin jeg ønskede at lære noget om.
Jeg var som de fleste meget spændt på at skulle starte mit projekt i Indien, men var også nervøs for at jeg mistede et fly, da det var første gang, at jeg skulle ud og rejse alene. Dette var dog ikke noget problem, da jeg var heldig at møde tre andre frivillige i Chennai, som jeg hurtigt faldt i snak med. Da vi ankom til Madurai var der allerede en fra organisationen der stod klar til at tage imod os. Vi blev samme dag vist rundt til de vigtigste steder, (net cafe, supermarket, bus- og tog stationer.)
Jeg havde mange forestillinger om hvordan men værtsfamilie ville være, og var spændt på om jeg ville falde til i familien. dette var dog ikke noget problem, da familien tog imod os med åbne arme, og var klar til at hjælpe os med hvad vi end havde brug for. hos værtsfamilien var der allerede andre frivillige, som også tog godt imod os, ved at tage os med ud og shoppe, så vi havde noget indisk tøj, som vi kunne have på, når vi skulle på hospitalet.
Allerede dagen efter jeg var ankommet til Madurai, startede jeg på hospitalet. Her var jeg i tre uger, hvor jeg ikke rigtig følte at jeg fik noget ud af det. Dette fortalte jeg til Doodle (ham der sørger for de medicin-projekt frivillige), og han flyttede mig uden problemer til mit nuværende hospital indenfor 2 dage. Lægerne og sygeplejerskerne har hele tiden noget jeg kan lave, og skulle der være et tidspunkt, hvor der ikke er noget, er der mulighed for at gå rundt og kigge til patienterne, som altid er villige til at svare på spørgsmål. Det kan dog til tider være lidt besværligt med kommunikationen, da mange af patienterne ikke har det store ordforråd indenfor engelsk, så det kan til tider være et projekt i sig selv at spørge patienter om noget..
selvom jeg endnu ikke var medicin studerende, var lægerne villige til at give mig små opgaver som at give vacciner og sætte drop, hvilket jeg lærte at sygeplejerskerne.
Udover at lægerne lærte mig forskellige til, fik jeg også lov til at kommer med ind til operationerne og se hvordan det hele foregår derinde. Dette var meget interessant, da det var meget anderledes end hvad jeg havde forestillet mig. Jeg havde før jeg var inde til den første operation forstillet mig at der ville være meget stille og at alle ville være dybt koncentreret, men det viste sig at lægerne og sygeplejerskerne snakker om alt muligt andet under operationerne, og lægen har derfor også mulighed til at vise og forklare de forskellige ting han/hun fortager sig under operationen. Dette har været meget nyttigt, da jeg som ikke medicin-studerende ikke rigtig vidste hvad der var hvad.
Samtidig med at jeg arbejde på hospitalet, var der mulighed for at besøge andre hospitaler (1 – 2 dages ophold). Her har jeg bl.a. besøgt et leprocy hospital, HIV-klinikken og naturmedicin/siddha medicin. Dette hjælper også til at hverdagen ikke bliver for ens og at du kommer til at se mere end blot hospitalerne i byen.
Udover medicinprojektet har project abroad også taget os med på weekendture til forskellige steder i Indien. Her er der mulighed for at møde andre frivillige, der er i samme sted som dig. Det er dog op til en selv om man ønsker at deltage i disse ture eller om man i stedet ønsker at udforske landet selv eller med værelseskammerater. Ønsker man dette og er man i tvivl om hvordan man skal komme rundt, kan man altid ringe til en fra organisationen og få hjælp, og der er endda mulighed for at få dem til at organisere det hele, så man blot skal betale for tog/bus billetterne. Jeg har selv været på ture både med project-abroad og sammen med værelseskammerater. Og det har været rigtig spændende at se hvor forskelligt det er fra by til by, angående hvor moderniseret de er.
Planen er at jeg skal fortsætte mit medicin projekt en uge mere, og derefter skifte til humanitært arbejde, som jeg håber er ligeså godt som mit medicinprojekt.
Hvis man ikke er sikker på hvad man vil, eller ønsker mere erfaringen inden for medicin, vil jeg helt klart anbefale dette projekt, da det virkelig er nyttigt og spændende studiemæssigt, samtidig med at man kommer ud og opleve en masse ting, som man ikke er vant til.
Contributed by Jasmin Thangavel(Denmark)/Medicine
The last weekend trip that the Projects Abroad India organised was to Kodaikanal – one of the very cool places in South-india. We had stayed there for two fascinating nights and really the days were good and lovely.
The first day we went for trekking and sight-seeing to the near-by places like Green Valley View, Pillar Rocks, Pine forest and so on.Also we did shopping in the lake-side area.And while during the second day we got a chance to visit the Kurinjaandavar Temple(an avatar of Lord Murugan).As a whole, the trip was wonderful.
Contributed by Nadia – the Social Manager
Projects Abroad India conducted the Outreach program particularly for the Medicine Volunteers recently. About 12 volunteers attended the program and they enjoyed the day as well.The Volunteers were taken to the MS Chellamuthu Trust Mental Health Centre which is one of the very famous mental health centre in Madurai.
The Volunteers were allowed to interact with the patients of all ages and also they visited hand-made products of those patients.The day was really good and helped the volunteers to get an in-sight view of Mental health and measures in India.
Contributed by Nadia – the Social Manager
Last Week, Projects Abroad India Medical Volunteers had an seminar by an ENT specialist in Madurai. About 5 Medical Volunteers attended the seminar.The Volunteers had a very different exposure and got an very good idea about Ear-Nose-Throat care in India.The seminar presentation was held at Star Residency Conference Hall where the Volunteers and staff were provided with Free Dinner by Projects Abroad India.
Contributed by Nadia - the Social Manager
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