A Passage Through India

Spanish Volunteer Ana Vicenti, writes about her experiences at the Barathi Girls’ Hostel

Indian School Students with Volunteers

I have just spent two months volunteering with ODAM and can honestly say that it has been one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life.

To have the opportunity to spend time with the girls at the KGBV School and the Barathi hostel allowed me to get to know the girls who live and study there, and understand more about the lives of these girls and their communities.

When I met the girls at the hostel for the first time, they were extremely welcoming and excited to talk to me. This excitement and eagerness to meet new people, learn about new  cultures and practise their English really touched me.

Coming from a country and  culture where teenagers are quite apathetic and do not seem very interested in anything, it was great to see the excitement of these young students when we talked or I taught them computing.

But they weren’t the only ones who learnt, I learned a lot about them, their families, their future plans and found out that almost all of them hope to pursue their studies at college. It is moving to see how the future of these girls brightens thanks to ODAM’s help and work. In a country with a very high rate of female illiteracy, I have learned the importance of education for the new generation.

Given that India’s state governments lack financial and human investment in education, it is extremely important to realise the value of projects like the Barathi Hostel. India is facing a crucial moment in its history, and education is the key to its development. To empower women through education will make an enormous difference to the next generation in rural areas like Virudhunagar, where the Barathi Hostel is located.

A new generation of educated women will mean more prosperity for the whole community and higher levels of welfare for those women and their families. In addition, education will secure a better future for their children, who will grow up in an environment where women are educated and knowledgeable, and are respected by their families and the wider community.