Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Horizon

It is a very positive and bright future on the horizon for these fantastic children. Through the grace of Sri Sakthi Amma and the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School these children have an amazing opportunity to succeed and are having lots … Continue reading

When you’re happy and you know it…clap your hands!

When you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. When you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. When you’re happy and you know it then you really ought to show it… When you’re happy and you know … Continue reading

Bean bag boogie!

Today Padma and I started our volunteer teaching at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School. This school is run by the Sripuram Ashram in Thirumalaikodi. It is a wonderful school with 85% of its students the first in their family to … Continue reading

Proud to be working hard…

Last November I was volunteer teaching at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School in Thirumalaikodi, India. On my way to class I photographed these children waiting to show Principal Ramesh their wonderful zoo assignments. You can see from their faces how proud they were … Continue reading

Green India ~ Green Sakthi…

When I was in India last year I became a member of a wonderful initiative called “Green Sakthi”.

“At Sri Narayani Peedam there are many environmental projects. In August 2012, Sri Sakthi Amma inaugurated these projects under one name : GREEN SAKTHI. To mark the launch of GREEN SAKTHI former Indian President Abdul Kalam and Sri Sakthi Amma donated 600 000 fruit bearing saplings to over 2000 local villages. These trees will provide clean air, shade and homes for animals as well as provide fruit, an economic benefit to the villagers.

GREEN SAKTHI now includes : Afforestation (SAAP), Local Tree Planting, Green Belt Area (SAGAR), Tree- Nursery, Tree donations to local organisations, Green Sakthi Club (environment-awareness programs in local schools), EXNORA (the award-winning zero waste management program), Bio-Gas plant, Water Sewerage Treatment Plant, Volunteers Program and soon-to-be launched: a Monthly Newsletter.” (excerpt taken from Beloved Narayani).

Green Sakthi plants trees in rural india with care. So far, 700 000+ trees have been planted locally… last year they donated 600 000 fruit-bearing trees to local villages.

During my time at the ashram last year I helped my delightful friend Reema to conduct some “Green Sakthi” lessons at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School. This thoughtful program was created by the beautiful and special Nathalie Latham who oversees Green Sakthi. Her energy and vibrant personality has helped to make Green Sakthi a great success. Reema and I created a tree with the children. The children wrote on the leaves of the tree all the things they could do to improve their immediate environment e.g. picking up rubbish.

To help support Green Sakthi please contact Nathalie at Green Sakthi.

Together we can make a difference…

My talented, musical friend, Ross Green of Music Seeds International, has created these two new wonderful videos. Ross is an expert at composing music with children about topics that are meaningful to the children themselves. He has been in India for three months recording this footage and writing the song with the children. The videos capture delightfully how children in India at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School are starting a “green revolution” and want to clean up India. The first is in English and the second extended version is in Tamil.

It is such an important cause. I would really appreciate it if you could please share the link with your friends and family and spread the Green Sakthi message:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFcIy9lpAdM&feature=player_detailpage

More on Green Sakthi to come in future posts.

Let art impart a great start…

The children were all so proud of their hats...

The children were all so proud of their hats…

Art is a great way to break down barriers ~ in my case language and cultural barriers instantly evaporated once art was brought into the classroom.

On the first day of my volunteer teaching at the Sri Narayani Vidyalaya School I was teaching in the three kindergarten classes. It is the first year of school for these littlies so English is still new for them with Tamil being the main language spoken at home.

Fortunately I had my wonderful friend, Reema, to ably assist me in teaching the class as the class sizes ranged between 35-45 students.

We started the lesson with a “The old lady who swallowed the fly” puppet which I had brought with me. Puppets are a valuable tool to quickly gain children’s attention. They really enjoyed feeding all the animals to “Granny” as they called her. Of course when it got to the bit where she swallowed the cow they were aghast and amazed she would eat a cow. Hindus of course believe cows are sacred and would never eat one! We then did some clapping songs which were sung with great gusto. We read a very simple story “Old Hat, New Hat”. The children found an old hat they had in the classroom which they gave to me to wear during the reading of the story.

Decorating their hats...with their class teacher, Mrs Vijaya, in the background

Decorating their hats…with their class teacher, Mrs Vijaya, in the background

We then went back to the tables and Reema and I helped the children to fold a paper hat. They decorated their own hat with oil pastels and watercolour paints. The children had a ball doing this. When you look at the photos you may think what serious children they were but it was quite the opposite. The children often have a serious rather than smiley face on when you take their photograph due to the fact that a lot had never had their photos taken before. I have found this to be very common during my travels in India. Even when you encourage people to smile they still retain the serious stance.

Each hat illustrated the child's individual style...

Each hat illustrated the child’s individual style…

More lovely hats...

More lovely hats…

It was such a fantastic morning with lots of happy and satisfied children. The children proudly wore their hats home that afternoon to show their parents…very sweet.

Do you like my hat? I most certainly do...

Do you like my hat? I most certainly do…