Living in a foreign country? Getting to know a different culture and how development cooperation works? That sounded good to me and so I applied for ‘weltwärts’ and left Germany for India shortly after my high school graduation.
Coordinated by the Karl-Kübel-Stiftung I was sent to Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, with a team-mate, Nora, to support a local NGO called ‘Rural Education for Action and Liberation’ (REAL) for eight months. During our stay we got an insight look into social work in India. Projects that deal with women empowerment, reconstructing homes which have been destroyed by cyclones and especially child labour prevention programs are implemented by REAL.
Nora’s and my task were to build a bridge between the NGO’s work and Germany and to make people in our home country see and understand what we are learning in and about India. This was possible through documentations, correspondence with people at home and with our internet blog.
Our main occupation during our time in Pondicherry was supporting the child labour prevention programs through "Spoken English" classes and and afternoon tuition-class in a Dalit-community. This should motivate the children to stay in school. These classes were not easy first, but later a lot of fun and we tried to make them as interesting and diverse as possible: We had a little store, where the students could learn "shopping" vocabulary, handcrafted cloth puppets and introduced some of the German culture.
These eight months have been a great learning experience, not only concerning social and development work but also cultural wise. It is almost impossible to comprehend all the impressions that India and its people have made on me.
These eight months have been a great learning experience, not only concerning social and development work but also cultural wise.
I am positive that the participation in the "weltwärts"-program in India has helped me to grow as a person and in understanding lifestyles better, which are different to ours.