Erica and Emily

Report of visit to the Veerni Institute- 21st November to 20th Dec 2015

Erica and Emily We spent the duration of a month volunteering at the Veerni Institute, focusing specifically on a group of 16 girls. The Veerni staff and girls really welcomed us into what we came to know as the Veerni family. The affection and caring nature of the girls made, what would usually be a difficult transition from Australia to India, all the more rewarding and easy.
We are both very passionate about human rights issues, and as such, this project was something that we feel has enriched our experience and knowledge of the vast and incredible country of India. Being part of an organisation that is in direct contact with the rural villages of Jodhpur is such a unique experience, and one that we will cherish. The way Veerni operates such a gentle approach when attempting to confront the issue of gender inequality is really admirable. The Veernistaff really understand the complex social environment within the rural villages, and thus respect the people tremendously. The idea is, by educating young women, you are educating the wider community and instigating positive change within. Changing the future of women in India is done through education and respect.
Our days at Veerni would consist of arriving at the boarding house in the afternoon, where we would eat lunch with the girls and then engage in lessons with them for a couple of hours. We each had a group of eight girls whom we taught basic English to, as well as played games with them. Our main focus was to develop each girls confidence in order to instil a positive mindset regarding the future of each girl. Over the course of the month we observed how each girl became more confident in both their use of English and the way they acted around us. The girls really benefitted from regular practice of English conversation in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
We varied the activities that we did with the girl in each class. We took the girls out twice a week to the nearby park, where we played ball games aimed at building team work skills as well as having fun. Drawing, reading, painting, arts and crafts, and talent quests we all very popular activities. We made word matching games, such as memory, and played word action games where the girls were required to perform actions that were written down in English. We tried our best to make the lessons diverse and enriching, and most of all, engage in conversation. Learning these skills are invaluable for the girls who all hope to pursue inspiring careers choices, such as becoming a pilot, teacher or policewoman. Once the girls discovered that they did have the skills to understand many of the concepts we were engaging with, they blossomed.
The experience we had at Veerni was indescribable. It was a month full of learning, fun and personal development. It was so rewarding for us to be able to get to know the girls individually and develop a special connection with each of them. Their strength, confidence and intelligence was really inspiring to us, and really changed our perception of the world. It truly was a remarkable experience, one we will never forget. The bond we developed with each girl, we will carry close to our hearts for the rest of our lives. We are both so grateful for the opportunity to be part of a project that has an integral part in the movement that is empowering young women from all backgrounds.

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