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Today we bring you the first of our updates from our 12-day voluntourism to India. Right now we’re in Mumbai experiencing mid-30 degree temperatures which is a significant difference than our usual 15 degree temperatures at home in New Zealand!

Girls Learning Centre

Our team has spent time visiting the Girls Learning Centre in Mulund who is Daya Trust’s charity partner. These special 40 girls are aged between 5 years and 14 years old. They attend either the local government or private schools during the day, and attend the Centre in the evening for special tuition and homework help.

It’s wonderful to see the girls’ enthusiastic faces and passion to learn. All of them are learning three languages – Marathi (the State language), Hindi and English. As you can imagine, this is no easy feat to learn both spoken and written language across three different mediums.

SAKHI Girls Education
The Centre itself is small – 1.6m x 3.5m – yet 20 girls can squeeze in for a 1.5 hour lesson before the next group arrive for the second session. Every inch of space is utilised, including by us as we join in. The brightly coloured blue walls are filled with drawings by the girls and posters showing alphabets, flowers and animals. A shelving unit holds the teaching resources developed by Aarti Naik who runs the Centre.

Daya Trust has been working with Aarti for nearly three years and it was a delight to see her in action.  She clearly manages the classroom well, splitting the girls into 2-3 groups depending on their learning level. Aarti also ensures some of the younger siblings who tag along don’t disturb the lesson.

The girls look on Aarti as a mentor and ‘Didi’, gaining inspiration from her own journey to begin SAKHI for Girls Education six years ago after going back to school to finish her own education.

Girls Learning Centre
Tonight’s our final evening with the girls before we head to Jaipur tomorrow. We’ll wave our final farewells this evening and sing more songs. As well as a raft of questions for us – what is your favourite flower? what is your favourite food – the girls have managed to get us all singing songs from home. Proving that music really is an international way to communicate.