Pupils travel to India – Part One
- 21 January 2015
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Eight years ago, SCIAF helped 5 schools begin a partnership with a project in India called APD (Association of People with Disabilities).
Its aim was to provide a strong link between the schools and APD and eventually be something that the schools maintained themselves. Long after SCIAF stepped back from the Global Citizenship Exchange Programme, it continues to thrive under amazing organisation and leadership from staff at Trinity High, Renfrew; St Aidan’s, Wishaw; St Ambrose, Coatbridge; St Mungo’s, Falkirk and St Columba’s, Dunfermline.
Throughout the year a lot of their fundraising is for APD and in part for the purpose of taking young people over to see their inspiring work. Some of the funding also goes towards helping staff from APD come to Scotland and share their stories and experiences with the 5 schools named above.
Back in June 2014 a large group of pupils (some now former pupils) and staff travelled to India and to APD to see their work in action. APD are working with people with disabilities, to educate and train them so that they can work their way out of poverty. People with disabilities are often left on the fringes of society with no help to progress. APD are changing lives for the better and you can read about the experiences of some of the young people below, with more to follow!
“From the very first day at the APD School, I was so inspired by how the children presented themselves to us with such enthusiasm and passion. No matter what their backgrounds were or how troubled their lives were, they came to school every day with the biggest smiles on their faces and the attitude that nothing could stop them reaching their goals. It was heart-warming to witness first hand just how the community at the school were working together to provide these kids with a better future and make sure they could have the same opportunities as everyone else. One of my most memorable experiences would have to be taking the children for a sports class. Their enthusiasm was mind blowing and they certainly taught me a lot.
I remember one little girl Arshiya, who was 12 years old, managed to translate sign language for me so that I was able to communicate with the children with hearing impairments which was amazing being able to have that special interaction with them. I've gained so much from this trip and I will remember it and use the skills learned in everyday life such as never giving up no matter what you might be faced with but also that everything is achievable as long as you keep trying. Which is what these kids practice every day.” – Rachael
“My best moment from India was meeting the amazing, inspirational staff and children of APD. They cherished every moment of school because they know that the staff at APD could give them the ability to live an independent life. I loved teaching the pupils and working in the nursery. Another favourite moment was when I was out in the country for the first week at one of APD’s projects teaching the young people a bit about Scottish Culture and at the end of the week we did culture sharing around the campfire.” - Kevin
“From the moment getting off the plane and being greeted with so much happiness from the APD workers and pupils the whole experience just got better from there. Every morning walking to the APD School, every little kid would look up to you with so much happiness and gratefulness just for being there with them, even when they couldn't understand what we were saying! School was like a gift every day, they went so excited to learn and play. No matter their disability, everyone played and enjoyed every minute of their day at school and it was really special to be able to see that. They were the most inspiring children to teach and play with and I can honestly say I will never forget them. The most inspiring little boy I met who had extreme cerebral palsy had told me that his dream was to be a soldier, he had every faith in himself and was determined that one day he would achieve his dreams.
One moment I will never forget is my first experience visiting a slum in Davangere when a women came towards us with the tiniest little girl. I held her in my arms, she was the lightest human being I had ever held and all I could think about is how different her life would be if she was born in the UK. It made me think about everything I had back home and if I really appreciated it as much as I should. I knew the answer was no!” Amy
“My trip to India was the most unique and incredible experience of my life! When I found out that I was one of those selected to take part on the APD trip I was beyond excited but also extremely nervous as what to expect when I was actually there. But I can honestly say that everyday brought a different adventure that I will never forget!” Rachael