Monday, 2 April 2012

Reality Tours and Travel News...New York Students build Community Center in Indian village

World Leadership school, the Berkeley Carroll High School in New York and Reality Tours and Travel realized a great project in Chinchoti, the village we usually visit on our village tour with Krishna. 


On Sunday, the 18th March 14 students, two teachers and two facilitators including our founder Krishna started a great one week experience none of the participants will forget so fast. Their Mission: building a community center in Chinchoti. How to do that? By raising $3.500 in advance and using this money to mobilise resources and materials and building a new house with the help of the village residents. 


Village Residents prepare the site 
for the arrival of the
students
Krishna went to the village one week in advance to prepare the home stays and construction site with the village residents. He was amazed by their collaboration for this project - 200 out of 1000 residents came to help on the site: unroof and demolish the old building on the spot and cleaning up the place. The people were very excited to meet their visitors from far away.


On their first day in Mumbai they visited a few sights like Gandhi's residence, Mani Bhavan and Victoria Terminus. The girls also bought saris for themselves and explored the markets of south Mumbai. 


On their second day they came to Dharavi, doing a slum tour in the morning and joined the Reality Gives activities  afterwards. Seven students taught our Youth Empowerment Program students how to write a bill in Excel, the other seven students played with the kids in the Kindergarten


"The diversity among the pairing of students from two very different nations was incredibly educational and one of the most inspiring and encouraging moments of the trip so far." 
(Quote from the High School Blog)

On the third day they finally went to Chinchoti by ferry, bus and rickshaw. Upon arrival, the guests were greeted with a parade and celebrations, as the entire community came out to welcome them. For the rest of the week they stayed with local families, shared their food and house facilities. It was a tough challenge for the NY students since the food was spicy and the sleeping mats hard and the kids were just not used to it. But the overwhelming hospitality of the local people made this forgotten very fast. 

During the week they build the new community center in a great team work with the village people. They helped mostly with carrying and fetching concrete, laying bricks, and creating piles and piles of bricks wherever they were needed! In between they were sitting with their families and trying to conquer the language barrier by playing games, drinking chai and dancing together. In the morning the students were hiking to the hills and temples around to do early morning Yoga and meditating. 
The New York Students on the construction site

Intercultural Teamwork
One highlight was the new years ceremony on thursday evening with a lot of dancing, sweets and gifts. Also the visit to another village where the bricks are made impressed the students a lot. And the girls of the group joined a Bollywood dancing class given by the village girls.

"We'll definitely miss our home stay families, village and time together in India!"
(Quote from the High School Blog)
The Community Center before it got a roof
Eventually the community center was build up and the students were exhausted but happy. On Monday, eight days after their arrival they traveled back to US with bruises, sun burns and some pain in the neck but above all with a big smile on their face!

We want to thank all the students and teachers and of course our partner from World leadership schools who made this project possible. We hope to make a lot more visits like this happens in future. 

1 comment:

  1. Friends,
    Congratulations on the new web site and features. And thank you for the work you do and your deep and rich commitment to doing it well, with dignity, honesty, and simple human goodness (and those T-shirts are great, too). Best wishes from all of us

    ReplyDelete