A recent service programme to the Manav Gulzar centre in Gujarat led by Flowering Tree made young students from Singapore aware of the real challenges of life and how to tackle them. Here’s a first hand account.
7/11/2014 2:47:53 PM
|written By : Rhea Jain|
Last November, on a Flowering Tree Service Learning trip, I, unearthed a genuine definition of the word: “service”. Service is not a finite act of assistance to one in need. Service is not a single action that can be completed within the span of two days. Service is a continuous process of giving and gaining experience and knowledge in a lifelong journey.
I was among the nine students who participated in Flowering Tree’s Service Learning Program for two sessions in 2013. This programme offers a multifaceted immersion into service for students from international schools. We play many roles, and experience a variety of perspectives: outsiders, yet insiders; teachers, yet students; strangers, yet friends.
Months of meetings and preparation took place here in Singapore, after which we went to Ahmedabad on a service trip for three days in November, to help at the Manav Gulzar Community Centre. This was my second visit, although for many of the students in our group, it was their first. The children at Manav Gulzar remembered all five of us who had been there before, and it was heartwarming to learn that this programme had allowed us to make a difference in their lives. We were a diverse group consisting of boys and girls between the ages of 11-14 (grades 5-9) with many distinct levels of service experience. We were friendly with each other, due to the numerous opportunities to engage and interact with each other. Thought-provoking meetings and service opportunities in Singapore prepared us for the intense experience of visiting a slum and entering a world of extreme poverty that was unfathomable.