Freiwilligendienst in Goa/Indien

Starting work at Valentina’s Little Heaven Orphanage on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 was very exciting for me. From the first minute I could tell that the teacher Saverita is loved and respected by the children at any age. Saverita got the benefit to be able to speak in the same language of the children. Only the older ones were able to understand me a little bit.

Thanks to Saverita the children of Valentina’s Little Heaven had begun to adapt to a certain routine beginning the lesson with various songs, including a Good morning song as well as others like ”Brother John”, “The wheels on the bus” and so on. After that we taught them in groups of age and knowledge. We have a schedule for the week with various subjects in English and Maths. They prefer doing worksheets but also like to have exercises in their notebooks.
First Week: I have chosen to work with the older once. I have five kids; one girl and four boys. I am very bad with names but I tried to learn them anyway. All were between six and seven years old. All are very happy kids and like to be commended. It is hard to tell at what exact level they are. I think the best combination to learn is learning with fun, while playing and doing everything again and again until they know, especially at that age. They all work best if someone is sitting beside them and is working with them alone.

In the first week I have got to know the children, made some sheets (e.g. body parts, colours, days of the week, months of the year) for them and on Friday we prepared a flower with crepe paper balls, but could not finish it.

Second Week: I started on Monday with a sheet named “Opposites”, another called “Under Water” and some of them had to finish the “Body Parts”. “My” girl took care of a new girl called. She was a little younger and not able jet to join the others but felt better sitting beside a “friend”.

Third Week: It was a short week because of the public holidays HOLI and Good Friday. The new girl is getting better and joins her group sometimes. The older group had to write in their books some opposites like one mouse – two mice, one man – two men and so on. On Tuesday the older group prepared a poster with the numbers from 1 to 50. They had fun with it and also did some additions in their book. I spent the afternoon buying some gifts for them in Margoa. A new “boy” from Sweden joint our group of volunteers in the Orphanage.

Besides the normal teaching I tried to give them some examples of using some good manners. This is in my understanding another way of improving their general English vocabulary. I have encouraged the children to say “please”, “thank you”, and “Good Morning”, using a tissue to clean the nose and said it would be nicer to cover the mouth and nose in their shirt or arm while sneezing or coughing. They should also ask for the toilet instead of using the sign (little finger). I tried to teach them a new song I attach (“Fingers and Toes”).

I hope I did some progress in my little groups at Valentina’s Little Heaven in these weeks. It was a nice time being and work with the assistance of some other volunteers from Germany, England and Canada. After they arrived we were able to split the rest of the children in three groups and worked with them very well and I hope we have gained as much from the experience as we have. I hope, as well, that the next volunteers will be able to progress even further with the children’s education.

Ich habe meine Zeit in Indien wirklich sehr genossen und bin teilweise noch immer erfüllt von den Erinnerungen. Die Menschen, die ich dort kennenlernen durfte werden mir immer positiv im Gedächtnis bleiben (Einheimische wie Freiwillige) und irgendwann werde ich dieses Land noch einmal ausführlich (vielleicht mit meinem Mann) bereisen wollen.

Astrid