Tuesday, April 10, 2012


February-March was dedicated to the Sambhali theater-group which went on for 4weeks. the girls learned a collage which included 6 different sequences of violence, daily discrimination and disadvantages of female humans as well as their dreams of a better life. in addition to this, the performance included also several theater engineering. the girls have done a great job and we are absolutely proud of them!!!

Duration of my stay in Setrawa: 10. January - 27. February
Full name: Friederike Schwarz von K├╝gelgen
City: Hamburg
Age: 19
Final report:

The two months of volunteering in Setrawa are over. I am looking back on unique, interesting, unforgettable, overwhelming, surprising, confusing, happy, emotional and angry moments but it was never boring. I experienced India in a very intensive way and that is what I wanted.

I had no teaching skills when I came to the project because I have just finished school but nevertheless I could help the children with making use of the teaching methods and learning material of my first years at primary school in Germany. Furthermore I searched in my memory for good games and arts and crafts activities that I did in my childhood and I noticed that I became a better teacher after every lesson.

In my first week in Setrawa I looked how the other teachers are doing their lessons, helped them and got introduced to all the children and their different abilities. In the evenings I prepared my lessons for the oncomimg week and I was very excited to teach them independently. Creating your own lessons and be responsible for the success is something totally different to just helping out where you can. At one o´ clock the Butterfly class starts. These children are from the Dalit caste and some of them come from really far to attend school. We usually begin with hygiene where we help them washing. In the following hours we do English, maths and Hindi with them. Due do their different ages and skills we always divide the students into two ability groups. The circle time in the beginning is very important for the children because we are speaking about their feelings and opinions and they learn to respect individuality. The butterfly class was my favourite because the children from the untouchable caste really need the support. It was amazing to see how keen they were to learn and I felt so proud when I saw them making a progress after my lessons. I also enjoyed playing games with them and doing arts and crafts. They love doing creative work.

The children in the afternoon class are on a higher level already and I taught them advanced English most of the time. I also wrote tests with them and organized the workshops on every Saturday. It was challenging to find something fun and educational for the children because of their different ages, skills and interests. The lack of resources was also a problem sometimes. Nevertheless the children really enjoyed my workshops. You just have to think about it and the ideas will come. In the first workshop we created big stars made of paper. Some children folded the edges of the stars, other children glued them together and finally we paintet them with water colour. It was an acitivity where everybody could contribute something. In my next workshops we did a sports competition with various team acitivities, a talent show and other things. But the greatest success was the open day where lots of children from the village came. Our goal was to get more students and it worked. We split them into four groups and painted henna hands, played tug of war, taught dancing and bowled with empty plastic bottles. Each group did every acitivity for fifteen minutes and in the end we catched everybody ´s interest for the Sambhali centre. I will always miss to plan workshops and see how it works. It is fantastic when you realize how much you can help and what you can create with your knowledge and abilities from home. It is common as a volunteer that you are disappointed, that you don´t see the fruits of your hard work, had completely different expectations and end up with feeling useless. I had the same experience in my previous volunteer job which was also in India. It was horrible. Nevertheless I don´t regret it because now I see the big contrast to Sambhali and can appreciate it. Of course I couldn´t change the world but at least I made somebody smile, gave them hope and supported a few children to have a better future. This is how a big change starts!

Rachel from England came in the second month. We had an amazing time together. It is good to have somebody from the same background to whom you can talk about your ideas and problems. We spent most of our free time painting the school and worked on more projects with the children. We were a really good team and developed so many new plans and ideas for the centre. The time was running and it was a pity that we couldn´t put everything into practice. Both of us are planning to come back.

Besides the teaching at school I experienced India in my host family. I learned a lot about Indian food, about the daily life, about their wishes and problems. I also got the chance to see a wedding, which I will never forget. I even spent one night in the temple with my host family which was really intensive and interesting. Everyday I talked to other families and was invited to drink chai with them. While your stay you are part of the village. All the people are very generous, helpful and friendly and if you are homesick sometimes it will not last long. Setrawa is a lovely village and you will never feel lonely. Of course it is very different from everyhing you have ever experienced before. You will have a completely different life.It is the desert! But with easygoingness, humour, openness, lots of ideas for the school and a few books for long nights you will manage it very well.

I celebrated my birthday in Setrawa and got lots of little cards from the children. It was very moving to see how much effort they put into it. They also gave me cards on my last day. "Sharky we will miss you!" When I said good bye I was on the verge of tears. I will never forget my wonderful time there!

Introduction report:

Right now I am working as a volunteer for Sambhali Trust in Setrawa. Let me tell you how this happened. I am Sharky from Germany and after finishing school last summer I decided to go to India for 6 months. India fascinated me and I was really looking forward to my stay. Instead of just travelling around I wanted to teach children. I think voluntary work is the only way to experience a culture intensely and to get in touch with the daily life of the local people.

I spent my first three months in a convent and taught poor children in the afternoon. To tell the truth it was a big disappointment. Nobody knew how to deal with volunteers. I felt more like a burden than anything else and they were not really open to suggestions for changes or new ideas. My wish to become acquainted with the Indian life and do something useful was not fulfilled. I was on the point of canceling the second project but fortunately I gave India a second chance.

Was it worth while? Yes it was because everything improved when I came to Sambhali Trust. At first I was overwhelmed with doubt when my journey to Setrawa was nearing. I was asking myself questions, such as: Will I survive in Setrawa? Can I cope with the simple life in a village? But after a few days I realized that I would definitely be able to handle it. I got a folder where the previous volunteers had written down everything about the school and I felt well prepared. The English-speaking teachers were also very helpful and it was easy to settle down. I am living with the family of one teacher and I feel that I am in good hands. The food is delicious and rich in variety. I have my own private room, a bed and everything is very clean. I am pleasantly surprised. The image in my head of living in the desert was definitely worse!

I am doing English, hygiene, arts and crafts and games with the students.
The children at school are really keen to learn and cute. I have the freedom to put my own ideas into the lessons and into the workshops. It is easy to cooperate with the teachers. They are very flexible and always open to my suggestions. No matter if you want to do something creative, empowering or educational with the children the possibilities are endless. You really have the chance to improve the school with your knowledge and to contribute with your personal skills something to the progress of Sambhali Trust. I am really happy to do this project and decided to stay two months instead of one month.

I am looking forward to my remaining time here in Setrawa and hope that my final impression will be as positive as my first experiences.
On 09/04/2012 we started a new project called "Sambhali Sisters for Sisters" girls empowerment project on recommendation by the Child Welfare Committee at the Social Justice and Welfare department's shelter home for the girls under care and protection. Wish us luck with this project to help these girls.

On the 5th of April, we had visit from the Child Welfare Committee's visit to witness the empowerment centers of the Sambhali Trust in Jodhpur. Committee's President speaking with Anjali a participant at the center. They were very impressed with the trust and we have promised them to set up a new center from the turst at the Social Welfare and Justice Department's shelter home for girls who are living under care and protection which comes under the Child Welfare Committee.

My name is Christine from Germany and I spent 5 months, from November 2011 till March 2012, at the Sambhali Trust in Jodhpur.
When I read about this project on the Internet I knew immediately that this would be the right thing for me! I wanted to help an organisation, which was in need and would add value to my experience in life. I arranged everything within only 2 months and headed towards India.
It was a very warm welcome at the guesthouse and after a short time of acclimatisation I had a meeting with Govind and Corinne to present my ideas, patterns and fabrics, which I had brought with me from Germany. I was very nervous as I didn't know what their expectations were. But the reaction was so positive, nice and overwhelming that I was sure to have taken the right step.
Because I am a trained tailor, I taught the women how to make dresses. From November until the middle of March, I trained nearly 12 girls and women at Payal Centre and after that at a new centre nearby. We started with simple patterns such as trousers with an elastic band or a simple dress with two darts. At the new centre I worked with only 6 graduates, which was a huge challenge and also intense work. We made different clothes out of simple white cotton to dye afterwards. Furthermore, we produced also different nice long skirts made of beautiful sari material and kaftans as well as trousers with a zipper. I was very happy when I was told to produce a small collection as well as come up with a business plan. I was sitting at the sewing machine sewing samples day and night. Fortunately, another woman from Germany had arrived and as she was a directrice / pattern maker we worked hand in hand together. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for me left and I was not able to see it through to the end.

After work I often went to the bazaar in Jodhpur to buy the equipment such as fabrics, yarn and needles. I was overwhelmed when I discovered the fabric shops with these incredibly wonderful fabrics and the huge variety! All these shops were full of passaments and sequins available in all imaginable colours. Sometimes it was quite stressful to walk through the bazaar because it was loud and dirty and I was always really exhausted when I finally reached the guesthouse. On the other hand, there are also nice rooftops in the centre where you can sit in front of the fort and relax.
The women I worked with were really motivated and eager to learn. We were a good team and got to know each other better and better. Although I cannot speak Hindi, which I regret, we managed to get along and correspond with each other. Tamanna, the Indian Art & Craft teacher also helped me a lot. Several times I was invited to their house, which I enjoyed very much.
It was great to have some spare time left as everyday is not the same and you have to be very flexible. The fabrics, which we produced, were only made for practising and learning and have not been sold at the boutique.

At least I can say that my stay was fun, challenging, joyful, hard work, humbling, frustrating at times and enlightening. However, saying goodbye was very hard for me and not without tears but I am sure some day I will come back to India.

Meeting the Sheerni Self-Help Group project women of Setrawa and Solankiya-tala villages

Virendra, Ms. Rashmi, Mumy, Mukta and myself, the five trustees on the Sambhali Trust board in our Annual Meeting on 31st March 2012.

International Women day and celebration.. Our Jodhpur Empowerment center girls performed theater in Jodhpur and also went to Jaipur on invitation from the department of Women and Child development, Jodhpur to perform theater on women and girls issues.

Certificate issued to the trust by the Department of Women and Child development for doing good work on women and girls Vocational training and Literacy.

Newspaper article


Final report of Ingrid Geilert ( Hamburg )
I basically continued to teach in the same way I have already described in my last report.
In February, the center had several new girls, some of them were absolute beginners. Fortunately, I found a small exercise book where they could learn the meaning of addition and subtraction. I also began to teach geometry. The girls had to learn how to draw and measure accurately with a scale. Finally I made them familiar with the roman numerals using the famous clock-tower in Jodhpur as an example.
I started to work out more and more teaching material by myself, especially in geometry, for example triangles and squares in different sizes. I will leave my file and the books in the center when I go home so that future volunteers can use the material. Last week I gave a workshop with a young Italian volunteer. We took our laptops with us and the girls were very interested in the English-Hindi translator.
The Payal Empowerment Center has been closed at the end of February. So there is only one group left for me to teach at the moment.
To summarize my experience: I enjoyed my time here in Durag Niwas very much. Other grannies have already described our life here in detail. At Holi we all had a lot of fun together.
Govind is a very engaged young man. He always wants to improve things and is open to new projects. I wish him very much success with Sambhali Trust for the future.

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