Girls having eyesight tests
The girls returned to the boarding home on 26 June before the schools reopened on 1 July after the summer holidays. We prepared books, uniforms, shoes, etc. to send the girls to school, however, this month, the government schools have a new system: the schools don’t provide the books any longer and the students have to purchase the books themselves, so we spent a lot of time buying the books they needed for school.
The girls are now in many new classes at the beginning of a new school year and 4 girls, Leela, Nakhtu, Pooja, and Aasu jumped up a class and went straight to the 5th class instead of the 4th after some very good exam results before the summer break.
One of the Sambhali tutors Vimlesh, spent some time teaching Math and other subjects to all of the girls as well as helping them with their computer homework. Nirmala the Housemother helped them with their homework. All the girls are studying very well, and the volunteers help them with homework, with English reading and pronunciation and Maths. The volunteers have noticed a big difference in reading skills; Priya, Manisha and Vimla can read an entire book and are fluent, whereas Rekha and Pooja find it difficult to read if they don’t know the text. At the end of the afternoon, the volunteers spend time communicating with the girls in different ways, by speaking, playing games, reading stories, singing and drawing. There have been between 4-6 volunteers helping the girls at the boarding home this month, who go every afternoon Monday-Friday for 3 hours. Exam-time came round again on 21 August and the volunteers helped to train the girls for their tests, but they noticed that most of the girls didn’t really understand what they were learning, just questions and answers, so they spent time trying to explain to the girls the stories they are reading, although it proved slightly difficult as the volunteers can’t speak Hindi. During August there were a couple of birthday celebrations for Santosh, Vimla and Pooja as well as the Rakhi festival. Unfortunately Naktu’s grandmother died and 10 girls left to go back to the village for a couple of days for her funeral.
In September, we had some new volunteers. They found that in Math, most girls knew how to calculate and so they checked and corrected the exercises. Alfisha, the newest and youngest girl at 7 y ears old has some problems with Maths and needed more tuition. Priya, who is 14 years old and excelling at reading is now in Class 9, whereas Rekha is 15 years old and is only in the 5th class. The volunteers help Rekha on a daily basis with reading to help her improve as with all those girls who are still reading very slowly and also concentrate on understanding the content. Also they found mistakes in the actual sentence structure in the exercise and reading books; the volunteers wanted to talk to the teachers of the school about this so that the mistakes can be corrected in the books.
A couple of guests arrived from Australia (Timi and Mary) who had already visited a couple of times before. They noticed that the girls were learning about computers at school, but it was just theory and they thought it would be more effective if they provided a laptop for the sole use of the girls in the boarding home. So the girls were very happy with the new laptop; now the volunteers need to teach all the girls how to use it...! In early September when the weather is now slightly less hot, the girls go every Friday to the park area surrounding the temple after they’ve finished their homework to play outside and have fun. They also had a painting competition one day, where the winners won a small prize.
On the 15th and 16th September, the girls went to the ASG hospital for checking their eyes and some girls they found it necessary to wear glasses and they received the glasses for free. They have a doctor from the Mathura Das Mathur Hospital in Jodhpur regularly going to see the girls once a month to check on their general health and well-being. On the 20 September the girls visited the cinema and watched the movie called "Mary Kom" about a women who achieves her dream and starts her boxing carrer against the will of her father. The girls really enjoyed it. On the 25th the girls had a day’s holiday for Navatri. At the end of the month, we showed them short animation movies in English for listening practice; it was a short story about finding a treasure. Again, we celebrated 3 more birthdays this month. Certain girls are now showing great dedication towards their schoolwork: Priya, Vimla, Manisha, Santosh, Nisha, Anu and Pankaj are interested in all the subjects in school.
In October, Renate Massmann-Krei, volunteer and now President of Freunde fur Sambhali in Germany returned again for the 2nd time. It was thought it would be better to change the structure of the learning by dividing the girls into groups, which reflect their class in school. They concentrated on practising verb tenses because they had learned the five tenses (simple present, present progressive, simple past, past perfect, present perfect and future) at school in just a few days, which meant that they got confused about how and when to use them. The volunteers practised with the easy tenses like simple present and present progressive and then will progress to practise the other tenses.
With Anu, Priyanka, Samta, Vishnu and Pushpa we practised the exercises for the test specifically, where the test was about a story which they have to memorize and then fill in the gaps to say if it's right or wrong. With Aasu, Leela and Naktu we practised fractions; at first they had problems understanding what to do but finally they understood it. The older girls like Vimla, Priya and Santosh are mostly learning by themselves and if they have questions, they can ask the volunteers.
Renate suggested an idea of using the Diwali holidays, for doing workshops in the morning. We started with a workshop about the earth, moon, sun, continents and oceans. The other topics were means of transportation and the different western festivals and holidays and a special workshop on handicraft skills The students liked the workshops a lot and because of this, we want to launch a "workshop day" once a week. Currently we have lots of ideas for the workshops in the future.
On the 8 October two guests came from America came to Sambhali Trust and also went to the boarding home, so we danced and sang different songs.
On the 17 October, the girls had 1 week holiday because of Diwali. They had to do special Diwali homeworks like drawing oil lamps and candles, but also English and Math. On the 30 October to 1 November the girls had exams in school. The majority of the girls received good results. A few had problem in Math like Pooja and Vishnu.
Practising English at home
Studying with volunteer
Very happy girls with their new laptop
working out a jigsaw...!