Saturday, 9 February 2013

Gems at GEMs.

Readers, bloggers, travellers, friends, anyone who may read this, I've been wanting to write this post ever since returning from India (amongst my other posts too) or even from leaving Sainji but I cannot find the right way to say any of this which I am about to say. So forgive me if it sounds preachy or perhaps overdramatic but just bear with me (grrr).

The main purpose of our time spent in Sainji has been to volunteer and help at the GEMs (Garwahl English Medium School) in Uttarakhand. We work with the children and have fallen for each and every one of them, each with their own heart-wrenching story, shining eyes and priceless personality. Our roles vary from teaching, to being makeshift librarians, to trying to teach Class 6 the history of English music, to mixing our basic Hindi with our failing English in an attempt to keep Nursery/Kindergarten's attention...the list is almost endless! I for one have loved planning our classes for Class 2 when their wonderful teacher took leave to get married (see my married master-post that it to come soon!) despite my moaning...the kids were the most enthusiastic bunch I have ever met.

Their love of learning and eagerness to be educating was humbling and made me see how they take nothing for granted at all. Their upbringing means that they know just how important education is. In the local area there is a poorly run Government school that may leaves kids with a feeble education at best, and having GEMs on their doorstep really in priceless for these kids. They teach English, Arts and Crafts (and PE!), Social Studies, EVS, Hindi, Maths, Grammar, Sanskrit...the list is ever growing, as is the school.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we have been lucky enough to stay with Lori and Kunwar who both live in Sainji. I won't go into too much depth regarding their story, but when they met 6 years ago they shared a desire to improve the lives of the villagers and kids as best they could. If you want to read the fully comprehensive story then you can do so here on the school's website! The school is always in need of donations, and having experienced the kindness of the kids, the staff, and most of all their Principal and Ambassador, I am so eager for more people to hear about what this project has to offer.

The school was started in a cow shed just 3 years ago with near 8 students and now, only a few years on, the school has 232 children and an extensive staff. It's impossible to believe that some of these kids have been with GEMs since the beginning and will have seen the transformation from cow shed to brand new building. I wish I could name all the kids that made an impression on me, but it would take me all day. I was expecting to help the kids, not the other way around. But the impression that these children have made on me, on both of us, I know will stay with me for a long, long time. They really are gems.

Walking home with some of the kids.

With the use of just an iPod and some speakers, we were able to teach Class 6 all about 1900s British music! David Bowie, Twist & Shout, you name it we taught it!

If you want to find out more or are interested in volunteering (they're always looking for help if you're willing!), fundraising, donating, or even finding out a little more about the school then please don't hesitate to email me on, as I, and Flo, am/are just so eager to shout about this project!!

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