My first full week has been one for the books. Being an intern with Maitri has already taught me so much about others, myself and everything in-between. Whether I am in the office or out at a project site, I am always learning something new. Recently, I was able to visit the project Maitrigram in a slum of New Delhi. Upon arriving at the site, I was greeted with warm hands and many smiling faces. Within the project, Maitri provides education in topics that are believed to be the most essential for future employment opportunities like math, English and Hindi. I was able to meet a group of older students who had become involved with the organization to help set a career path for their futures. These students had been attending job fairs in hopes to land an occupation in a field where knowing English is of value. Five of these students were able to receive employment, and it seemed to have meant a great deal to them. The other students who were unable to receive a job didn't just quit there. They were going to be attending a job fair the next weekend with the same hopes as the previous five.
I was then able to meet the younger children who come for their basic education skills. The youth were of all ages and were ready to learn. There was even a very little three year old girl who had her pencil and paper in her hands and was paying very close attention to the teacher. I was then able to have a conversation with them in English, and I was quite surprised at what they already knew! I told them my favorite word, which is hope, and their teacher asked them if they knew what it meant. None of the children did, so she explained it to them in Hindi and then had them repeat the word multiple times. It is so humbling to see children wanting and enjoying to learn. We then taught them duck, duck, goose, and I believe they thought it was pretty exciting. Following that, I saw the seamstress program that is set up for the underprivileged women; they too were all so willing to learn and were all very hard workers.
As the day had ended at the program and the youth were leaving, I was provided with many thoughtful goodbyes. I don't think in my life I have ever seen many happier people. I know that they do not have all the privileges I have received in my life, yet they were all so grateful for the littlest of things. These children and the older students taught me so many things just from meeting in that short time period I had with them, and I don't think I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
University of Utah