Alazne: I will keep working on the project even if I have to do it from home
Alazne, Maria, and Adrià from the September 2019 Take 10 Volunteer Team had their project work in India as a trio. They have been eagerly working in Jaipur in a project called Academy for Working Children. Before having to return to their home countries because of the world pandemic they managed to get a lot of things done but their work is not over yet.
The trio keeps putting in the effort into supporting the project from home in whatever way they can. We talked to Alazne to hear her insights about the project and the current situation in India.
What was your project about?
Along with my teammates Adrià and Maria, I went to India for the Project Period. We spent the three first months working in Jaipur, in a project called Academy for Working Children. We worked in two different schools, located in very different areas.
One of the schools was located in a slum and the children enrolled belonged to families with very little resources. In fact, some of them even skipped classes in order to help their families at work.
What did your tasks include?
Our tasks in the school located in the slum were to improve the education level, prepare activities for the children, help the teachers, improve the maintenance of the school, etc.
However, we realized that there was a big problem at the school and we needed to work on it. Many children skipped classes because the school did not provide food and they were hungry. Their parents left the house very early in the morning and the children did not have breakfast and they had dinner very late in the night because that’s when their parents got home. Therefore, they were hungry for too many hours. We decided that we had to find a solution to this problem, so we started looking for partners who can provide lunch at the school and increase the attendance rate.
The other school we worked with was located in a more economically stable area. Our tasks in there were similar to the other one, but we did not have any problems with the food.
In order to work more efficiently in both schools we divided the tasks: Adrià worked on the search for partnerships, Maria worked on the activities for the children, and I worked on the English course. I realized that the English level at both schools was very low, not only among the children but also among the teachers. Therefore, I decided to not only teach the children but also teach the teachers after school for them to be able to continue with the course after we left the project.
We also joined another project
In March we were asked to join another project in Bahraich where the Kadam and Kadam+ Programmes were implemented. In this project, we worked in several schools with a big group of teachers. The Kadam Programme consists of bringing out of school children back to school (public schools) and the Kadam+ Programme focuses on improving the education level at the schools. Therefore, Humana teachers and government teachers work together at the schools.
Our tasks in this project were a little different since we were about to host the visit of one of Humana’s most important partners. We had to organize several events and prepare the children for the visit. We also worked on a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) project and helped the children prepare to take part in a science fair.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the project and what is the current state?
Unfortunately, the situation got difficult and our schools got closed due to the current pandemic. We spent over a week locked in our house which was also the office where all the teachers gathered after school. However, we kept working from home, correcting activities and preparing future lessons. Eventually, we had to be sent home.
Even though we had to leave India and the schools were closed, there is currently a lot of work in the projects. The families we worked with live day by day and with the current situation, they can’t work and cover the essential needs. Therefore, my teammates and I worked from our homes to collect money and help them.
The Humana teachers have been informing the families about the situation and teaching them about the precautions they should take. They are also distributing food and other essentials like soap, for example. We managed to collect enough money to feed 210 families for ten days, but we need to keep working because we do not know how long this situation will last.
What have you learned from this experience?
I have learnt a lot during these months, especially about working together as a team and finding solutions for difficult situations. My goal is to keep working in the project until the situation improves, even if I have to do it from home.
Even though we had to leave India and the schools were closed, there is currently a lot of work in the projects. My teammates and I are working from home with whatever we can to support the project.
– Alazne, September 2019 Team
Read more about the experiences from the September team…
Sabina gave us her insights about her project period in Mzimba, Malawi where she and team mate Carlos worked on projects related to preschool and teacher training. Currently they support the projects from Europe.
Even though we were forced to leave Malawi prematurely, Sabina and I are still supporting our projects in Mzimba (Malawi), from home. We have different kind of projects and this one is about sustainability.
Adrià worked in a trio with Alazne and Maria with education in northern India where the three of them learned and achieved a lot, working with Academy for Working Children and projects in the slums of Jaipur.