If I travel to India or Africa, can I visit these programs?
Yes, these groups always welcome visitors. And the people in the villages, especially the children, would be delighted to meet you and hear about your life.
In addition, if you have some extra space in your suitcases, let us know, so some used toys might find their way to the schools.
If you like to visit the inspiring programs of READ (in India), there is a guesthouse (Sahaya Illam) where you can stay. Accommodations are simple and clean, and the local cooks (a very dedicated grandmother with 2 lovely assistants) will prepare delicious dishes for you. The environment of this guesthouse is very relaxing and the local people are very friendly. You can then also easily rent a car and driver to visit nearby places (including temples).
If you are interested to VOLUNTEER there, please contact us for further discussions on your expertise and our needs. If you are experienced in teaching or child development, we would love it if you could help our schools in India, where there is a need to improve English skills and educational methods.
While we are not able to cover your travel or local expenses, it will be a an amazing experience.
Below is a testimonial of a volunteer who spent a few weeks volunteering at the Jawahar Matriculation school of READ in November 2009:
Looking back, I have to admit, the time I have experienced with kids of Andimadam school, was one of the crucial moments of my life. I decided to contribute some of my time and knowledge to Indian children at this little village. English teaching is strongly needed in that school to encourage domestic teachers in making progress, to interest children, to show them how to learn by fun such as music, games, art etc., ultimately show them our European/American educational tools. To us it is a standard, to them it is unimaginable. By spreading new awareness about education, presenting how pleasurable learning English can be, you can make a big difference. If you could only see how wide-opened the kids' eyes were and how the faces were stretched by a smile when they were doing projects they never did before, such as singing in English, drawing, doing riddles or art projects.
This is the best payback for the effort, when kids say goodbye in English when you leave and say they wish you come back again. Children's mind absorbs as a sponge and this is the best time to shape their ambition and desire for learning. In many cases foreign language skills are the only chances for these kids in the future. As you can see with small steps, you can change a lot- give somebody a dream, an aim, a direction...
Justyna Jaskiewicz (Poland)