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.
In the spring in 2012, I went to Surya Bharti School as a Japanese language teaching volunteer.
My name is Asabe, teach Japanese language in Hiroshima. I wanted to go to Surya Bharti School as a volunteer to teach Japanese language someday, and the dream came true finally.
I appreciate all people who took care of me for two weeks. I had lots of fantastic experiences there, so I would like to share them a little.
In the next day of arriving Bodhgaya, it was sunday and the school was closed, and I visited students' houses with Yuki and principal.
It was a village that there were houses made of mud and huge fields. Children were playing actively without shoes outside, beside them cows were streching themself out. A male senior citizen was cutting grass by wheel shaped scythe to make foods for cows.
A doctor was going around the village by bicycle. An elder sister was taking care of her younger brother. A woman was bringing water putting a vase on her head. I felt comfortable with the scenes as if those never belonged fixed time and places.
And girls invited us into their houses happily, and gave us hot chai filled with fresh milk and snacks.
A student brought me to a room where she keeps her textbooks, and showed me the books delightly. Seeing their happiness of learning and their pride to study at the school, I felt gratitute to the Lord.
Many other children live in the villages gathered friendly and they came after us. Every family welcomed us warmly, and there were Alter displayed there, and smiled with L sign saying El Cantare.
The students from the village came to the school by walking for 2 hours (4 hours to and from school) before having a bus.
Happy Science helpled to buy a used bus for them, the students come by the bus and it made them concentrate into study to save their time.
Next day, I went to the school first time. All the students gathered in the ground for morning assebly of prayers. Their prayers were sirious.
The children looked at me sometimes fron distance, but after the assembly, they were saying "Namaste!" to me walking to own class.
My first Japanese class was class 1( they were so cute). Showing picture cards brought from Japan, the students in class 1 pronounced very loudly.
When I went to a toilet in the corner of the school in a break, girls students gathered around me and asked many questions.
"Name? family? age?" "Sing a song!" "Show us your dance!" (age? song? dance? What should I do? (langhing)) I can't dance so I asked them "Let's show me your dance", then, they looked shy, but they showed me dance happilily holding skarts with big smiles. They are very bright and obedient children.
After school, we had a special Japanese class for some students who are very good at Japanese. Their level was high, and they were so sirious to listen to my words. Their eyes were shining. Some students among them were very active to ask many questions. I thought all the students like to study indeed.
One sad thig happened. A girl student was forced to quit the school because of her marriage few days before her graduation from the school. Girls and boys study together in same class, but there are discrimination about female still now in Indian society, and girls can not say her words. I hope the time will come soon that women can say their own opinion as a human in society.
There was Holi festival while I was there.
It is a festival of celebrating spring in India, people put colors and water each other to anybody.
We had a fun time of few hours becoming children, putting colors and water toghter with teachers and students although they were always polite.
And best and last memory was that we had a one year memorial celebration of Master's visit. (A camel also attended!)
Children expressed their deep gratitude to the Lord, and showed amazing Indian traditional dance. I think that the children who make a new El Cantare civilization will become angels of light to fly to the world with also practicing Indian culture.
I wish that all the children can take education, grow their parsonality, and walk on their road of life toward angels of light, I will be happy to support a little to realize it.
I appreciate the Lord given me lots of precious experiences, and also Yuki, principal, and everyone had accepted me there happily. I am looking forward to seeing the cute children again. Namaste!
Japanese volunteer teacher, nono
In Japanese class, sleep! Laugh! Get up! And run!
I spent about 2 months as a volunteer teacher of Japanese language at Surya Bharti School. Students were very energetic and class room was excited very much. They tried to speak Japanese using new words taught on the day everyday. And not only Japanese class, but also we enjoyed dance together. Suddenly, Master Okawa’s visit was decided, we had started practice of Awa dance with lower class students everyday. The music started, all starts dancing. They like dance very much. We enjoyed the practice, mixing Awa dance and Indian dance, it was so cute!
After school, I visited students homes in village with Yuki Inoue. Student’s house is made of bricks and mud without any electricity. I found the poster of “Prayer to the Lord” in every house we visited. I moved by hearing that not only students but also their family pray together.
A student told me happily, “I always studay at night like this” and lighting lump with matches. Their attitude was very beautiful for me because they try their best now in the situation which is very different from Japan’s.
The students are all gentle and pure. I can see their future that they are working on Happy Science missionary work together with us as leaders. Their future is very bright!
Nono chan was belonged to photo club. All the photos on this page taken by her are lively!
Health Education Project Akiko Hatano(public health nurse)
Hoping babies will be born safely and grow healthy in India...
In December, 2010, we have started the Health Education Project, and held first program at Bodhgaya.
In India, more than 1830000 children (below 5 years old) died every year. 40% of them died within a few weeks after their birth. And 70000 of pregnant women died in a year. I have known this, and I heard that Master Okawa said “I hope our group can spread our activity beyond red cross in the world”, something push my back to go to Bodhgaya. The concept of this project is : Not only providing medical treatment, but also providing health education for villagers, we would like to support them to improve their health status, and to make their environment safely to train their soul on the earth.
I found ladies teachers have strong conscious on the problems of health in village, and they told me the situation. “There are some problems in 55% of childbirth in village.” “In village, they give a birth without doctor, nurse, or experts, and at home with the help of unqualified midwife.” Most of them were forced to marry in teen age, they repeat miscarriage and having delivery babies many times, they become sick. I knew the reasons, lack of knowledge of nutrition, and having problems in sanitary customs( washing dishes by mud, etc.).
They don’t get checking by doctor because not only economical problem but also they don’t know they have health problems. I felt the necessity of reforming their conscious.
I brought weighing machine for baby, manometer (blood pressure gauge), some methods for sex education. I demonstrated using by them to show ladies teachers. If women have conscious on health problems, children’s health will be improved. Women are very important and center of family.
After that, we went to a village and held a health education class for 200 mothers. I found the mothers in the front are girls like my daughter, I amazed why so young, and having love for them as daughter.
I told them knowing weight of baby, mothers can find their baby is growing.
And I also told if the weight of baby don’t increase, mothers should think about the reason and what should they do, we can think together.
Then, I showed them some pictures of baby inside mother’s stomach. I told when mother can not take enough nutrition, baby also says “I am humgry”, or “baby want to remain in your stomach” as they can image that mother’s health effects baby’s health. All heard my words enthusiastically.
After the claas, we visited a newborn baby’s house. The baby’s name is prince (boy) who was born on 22nd October. 41 days after his birth. I checked mother’s breast, and milk, it was good and the baby grow healthy. He is a good baby.
The photo (right) is the scene of house in village.
I found problems by visiting home:
1. living environment (lack of sun light, and wind)
2. Sanitary customs (washing dishes by mud and ash)
3. Maintain of water
4.Food customs and nutrition (both mother and child)
No record of pregnant and delivery (needs of mother’s health note)
Clothes (underwear, material absorbing sweat)
I think what the most necessary for child to grow healthy is education itself. They should have knowledge about health, sanitary, and nutrition, and have awareness on problems, and think together. It is important to record on mother’s health note, and enhance their awareness. After that, medical support like providing powder milk, works.
If we can invite young women from India to take medical education in Japan, they will be the core to make the society in village. If we can build the system like that, and succeed, it will be adopted in other developing countries.
I wish to bring health over the world together with light of Buddha.
Hoping babies will be born safely and grow healthy in India...
There still remain customs of little age marriage in village. We saw many teen age mothers.