The Volunteer Work at Surya Bharti School
I have worked as a volunteer at the Surya Bharti School in Boudgaya for 2 weeks in May 2012. The school is just five minutes driving from the famous tourist site of Mahabodi temple. It gets above 40 degree everyday during the summer, so the school starts early morning at 7:20am and finishes at 12pm. I was very impressed that all the students were very energetic. They greeted me in Hindi, English and Japanese every morning! I started my volunteer work with lots of energetic students and passionate teachers in the school.
◎The classes at the school
In the school, 7 classes are conducted everyday such as English, Hindi, Math and Japanese. I mainly assisted the teacher in the Japanese class. Amazingly, most of the students were able to introduce themselves in Japanese. One of the students was very good at speaking Japanese. He said “I love learning Japanese!” to me with a big smile. Also, I had a chance to attend the Indian classic dance class, called Kathak. Students were dancing with teacher's song and drams. I was glad to had a chance to join the beautiful and powerful North Indian traditional dance class!
Every student enjoys the lunch time! From first year students to tenth year students, they start making the line to take the lunch outside of the classroom. You will see that boys have lots of rice and vegetables on their plate!
◎The home and villages where students stay
I also had a chance to visit student's houses and villages after the school. When I was working with Indian NGO last year, I visited villages in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. The villages around Bodhgaya where students are staying are not in very good conditions compared to the villages where I have seen before in different states. Because of the political corruption, Bihar had a lot of problems in terms of security, infrastructure and development. Therefore, Bihar is still known as the poorest state and dangerous place to go in India. Many of the family of the students are making living from agriculture,but their income is very unstable, so some students are not able to have 3 meals in a day. There is also no toilet and tap water facility in their home. Villagers use the water pump, but they do not have enough water during the summer. The infrastructure in the village still needs a huge improvement. On the other hands, village has a beautiful natures. Villages help each other as if they are family. I enjoyed visiting the villages and see the beautiful scenery.
◎Maternal and Child Health
We also went to the villages to meet both mother and child for the check up. Reika Sensei has done the blood pressure test for mothers and weight check for babies. I was surprised that there are so many infants to be checked up! We have met the infant who had skin problems and decided to take her to the clinic which gives free treatment.
What I have found through this two weeks volunteer at Surya Barhati school is that education is crucial for every children and gives them a huge potential for their future. All the students are very motivated, and they enjoy going to the school. I really hope every students from this school would ultimate their opportunity of studying, and make their dream come true. I am sure that many of them would become whatever they wish to be and contribute to the society of India.
I would really like to thank Ms. Yuki Inoue, Mr. Sudama Kumar, teachers at school, staff at the Mahamaya hotel and everyone that I met in Bodhgaya. Thank you very much for making my stay there so special. I really appreciate your hospitality during my stay.