Dr. Ella Karia from AIM for Seva Canada talks about her experience of meeting the students at AIM for Seva’s Chatralayam in Pune, Maharashtra. Read on to find out what made her shed a “tear of joy and humility”.
As a teacher, visiting a school is always a new experience filled with new discoveries. In December 2018, I had a chance to visit an AIM for Seva Chatralayam in Pune with my family. Both my children and husband were with me during our visit and they saw for themselves the value of reaching out to help students from underprivileged backgrounds.
By sharing Canadian flags, school supplies and cards, I witnessed it not only lit up the hostelers faces but also my own children beamed as this interaction was truly moving. It was amazing for all of us to interact with the AIM for Seva students, more so since we got to know their stories of hardships.
Perhaps what was most touching was seeing how strongly these students had overcome all their miseries, how they smiled and laughed, it was pure positive energy on display.
All the students flocked to our car and greeted us with warmth and love. Soon I realised that what all these students were really looking for was a sense of togetherness, affection, love and care. As we toured their Chatralayam and saw their living spaces, the sense of pride in the students’ eyes could not be missed.
While seated in their study rooms, the students presented beautiful songs and shared other things which they had learned in school. It was a sheer delight to hear the power of their voice, experience the beauty of their community and realise that they were doing so much with so little!
Opening up our hearts to see and understand who they were, I saw a sense of resilience, joy and connection that emanated in their presence. The students were so happy to be given a chance for educating themselves. And that deep respect and gratitude that these students have for their teachers, volunteers and other visitors who visit the Chatralayam is evident in their faces.
With this opportunity for learning was a chance at a new life, a pathway to follow a dream, a purpose for daily living. I could not help but feel a tear of joy and humility as I realised that what we were doing was a drop in the bucket in comparison to the efforts, commitment and hard-work these students displayed in filling our bucket.
Thank you Warden M.S. Buchude and Sri. Sachin Kumar for this amazing opportunity. Taking the time to volunteer and visit AIM for Seva Chatralayams in India definitely changed my life, perspective and understanding of the power of this organisation in India and how it is truly making education accessible in remote regions of the country. AIM for Seva is truly making a difference in children’s lives that otherwise would not have been able to attend a school.
Our journey to educate and empower rural India could have not been possible but for the support of countless donors, volunteers and other well wishers – both from India and overseas. Since 2002, AIM for Seva Canada has built 27 student homes in India, and the organisation supports over 600 students annually.