Everyone who has followed our story knows how the TWSB India Team quickly formed and within months had helped to raise awareness through our first ever Access In Motion Walk and first India Expedition.
The India Expedition was something I had thought about when I first volunteered in Uganda with TWSB, owing to the similarities in the two places. That one thought, Aaron’s drive, and all the right people enabled us to fast-track the initiation here. The India Expedition was something I had thought about when I first volunteered in Uganda with TWSB, owing to the similarities in the two places.
We met the most helpful individuals to start off – Dr. Sushil who locally heads another non-profit in Uttarakhand who introduced us to Mr. Pankaj Wadhwa, who in turn, helped us find the right schools to partner with.
Something you should know about Uttarakhand- every person there understands the importance of Education and the ability to access it. And in Uttarakhand, we found Himalayan Public School, a small private school with a big personality. Brijmohan Joshi started this school with 30 students eight years ago, and today, his vision and passion have grown the school to 150. During our very first visit to the schools, Aaron and I felt strongly about partnering with this team of hardworking people.
We had found the right place, the right partners, and were now looking for the right workforce - people who would understand that this project was our first in India, that there would be challenges and that we will need all hands on deck. The power does lie in working together.
One could plan all they want, but the success of the project depends on what happens in the field. We were fortunate to find the most reliable team members to join us from five continents, ranging from students to dentists to business owners to researchers. Digi-Aid even joined us, the winners of "Search for Jugaad," to integrate their research work with our reading programme.
It was a diverse group with one goal - to empower access to education. Nobody needed to know the same language to connect with each other. Everybody pushed their boundaries, and it was beautiful to see Expeditioners integrate and become one team with the community. The students at the two Himilyan Public Schools were as enthusiastic as we were.
We constructed water catchment systems at HPS Suyalgarh and HPS Chopra. We were able to collect the distance data to help determine the impact of a School Bus. We conducted art workshops with Ruchi Shah, a brilliant book illustrator and now, our art director! We have plans for the art pieces created by the students.
Most importantly, in our first expedition, we were able to install one of our Solar Power Classrooms and reading technologies. However, before implementing the tech and classroom, we collected data to better understand our impact.
I don't think we quite understood the impact the projects had on the entire community there until the very last day.
But any effort that is initiated but not followed through doesn't hold for long.
Our projects at the Himalayan Public Schools have only begun and we are excited for what the future has in store.
So, WE ARE GOING BACK - July 6th- 15th,2018! And we couldn’t be more excited!
We will be post-testing to see the results of our executed projects, building a library and water catchment system, continuing with our art initiatives, and so much more. As a bonus, we have the opportunity to work together within the scenic hills of Uttarakhand!
So, why does anyone volunteer?
Most people have an underlying need to feel better about themselves.
A few may try to make the surroundings more conducive to ensure the future generations have it better.
A handful, however, can work with others and create opportunities for communities that need them.
Our goal is to try and be part of the ‘handful.’
Let’s remember, individual evolution brings about communal evolution.