The Wallace Asha team return, transformed, by their eye opening experience in the slums of Delhi.
The Wallace High School Asha team encountered more than just fireworks over half term as on the twenty-sixth of November twelve students accompanied by four teachers embarked on a life changing trip to India.
Asha means hope. The Asha charity seeks to bring hope to the lives of those living in abject poverty. United in achieving this same goal, the Wallace group underwent a year of preparation for the trip in the form of individual fundraisers, team bonding sessions and a collaborative Asha dinner – all of which contributed to their astonishing £15,000 donation to the charity.
A Trip to Remember
Witnessing the conditions of the slum for the first time proved both emotional and shocking. The scrapyard which preceded the dwellings constituted piles of debris reaching a height of almost eight feet, a heavy, brown smog consumed the air and infants, barely old enough to walk rummaged through the rubbish heaps. Lower sixth pupil Elidh felt overwhelmed by the minimalistic features of the slum, ‘the smells, sounds and sights were like nothing I’d experienced before.’
Nonetheless, upon arrival at the Asha centre, the team were able to witness that hope was truly alive in Asha. The centre itself showcased an unobstructed recreational area, medical room and classroom in which the team were delighted to fill an entire wall of shelves with books and other teaching materials that the Wallace community had donated prior to the trip.
During their time with the children in the centre, the Wallace group taught English lessons, organised arts and crafts activities, played games, sang songs and danced- a lot. They also committed themselves to decorating the bare walls of the centre which, before long, were painted with sea creatures, rockets and a colossal globe of the world which illustrated the Asha values around its circumference.
Everlasting memories from Asha
The enthusiasm of the Asha children to learn left a lasting impression, particularly on the students in the Asha team, motivating them to sustain a growth mind set and appreciate the easily accessible education in Northern Ireland.
After having only returned home from India, the Wallace team are recommending the trip to anyone who gets the opportunity to go and are hopeful, that they too, might return to the slums in the future to reconnect with the kids who changed their perspective on life. Upper sixth student, Charlotte expressed her desire to maintain connections with Asha, ‘goodbyes are hard but only when they’re forever.’
Mrs Thampi wishes to thank the Asha team for their commitment to the project and for the wonderful ways they worked with the children, the staff of Wallace for their ongoing support and for the many donations (financial and otherwise) received from students and parents. We have been truly overwhelmed by your kindness.
Written by Nikhita, a WHS Press team student and Asha team member
Last modified: March 9, 2017