This year I receive the silver Global Citizen Award in Dublin for volunteering overseas in India with the Irish charity SERVE, and for also promotion the Sustainable Development Goals in Ireland since I returned.
This summer I will volunteer in India again. But today I want to share a little bit of my previous experience with you.
Once I started working in The Association of People with Disabilities , one of my first questions to the physiotherapist was “ will we be working with people living in poverty? ”.
When Amala, the physiotherapist in charge, said that we would be working to help impoverished families with children living with disabilities, I was excited to have the opportunity to work alongside with those who need the most support.
Amala informed me that I would start working in the community along side another two of her colleagues on Tuesdays and Thursdays of every week while I was Bangalore, in India.
I also got the opportunity to accompany one of the therapists to a home visits just a few minutes down the road from the hospital. Walking down the streets made me feel nervous but excited at the same time to meet and see exactly how people on the poverty line are coping with child with disabilities in India.
My experience in India made me think twice at how lucky we really are here in Ireland to have access to nutritional food: whenever we are feeling hungry there is nearly always something in the kitchen cabinets to eat.
Unfortunately, in Bangalore for some families this wasn’t the case, it wasn’t the fact that India lacked in nutritional food, but it was indeed the fact that the families couldn’t afford the food to feed their children which was heartbreaking to see.
As I spent a lot of time out in the community meeting and talking to the local people, I have experienced situations where parents wanted to buy me food and make sure I had eating. I didn’t allow them to do this, as if they were to spend their money on making sure I had eaten, they would have had to go days without food which is heartbreaking too!
Also from my experiences of speaking to the people I found out that some parents only send their children to school so that they would receive a meal. Parents weren’t thinking about their children’s education but they were thinking of making sure they got fed. Why should parents have to think this way?
As I return to India this summer, I’ll be updating my blog: Volunteering in India .
Keep following this journey:
My name is Elaine Houlihan and I am a 20 year old Irish student here at Saxion. I am currently in 2nd year of the international physiotherapy course and I am loving every minute of it here in Saxion and Enschede!!Go to programme
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