They learnt 'art of giving'

They learnt 'art of giving'


Helping foreign hand: Volunteers from South Korea painting the walls of Putteeramma Residential School for the Deaf in Mysore. DH photo by Prashant H G

American author H Jackson Brown Jr said, “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more,” and the happiness was visible among the six volunteers from Italy and South Korea spending their time for the last two weeks at Putteeramma Residential School for the Deaf at Gangothri  extension here.

The volunteers Eugenio Falcioni and Sofia Gi Stephano of Italy and Irang Jeong, Jin Hee Kim, Lee Jeonghoon and Laureana from South Korea are helping the school by painting the walls and giving it a fresh look. Speaking to City Herald, Eugenio Falcioni said that he enjoyed the whole experience at the school. He said that the team of six helped paint the walls and pillars. Also they undertook gardening and planting saplings.

However, the painting of the world map on walls of the school is an eye-catcher for its colour combination, what with the team using green with blue background, Sofia said that the map would help students identify the different countries. Also it would give the students a picture of where the volunteers are from.

Eugenio said, “The walls were darker and they look good after we’ve painted it.”

Pursuing History and International Relations  in Italy, Eugenio and Sofia are travelling across India for the past three months, having visited places such as Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Hampi and Mumbai.

The volunteers are part of an international learning and cultural exchange programme, being undertaken by FSL India, Bangalore.

Having started work on painting the national flags of India, Italy and South Korea, Sofia said that initially when they arrived the children had a slight hesitation to approach, but now they have grown confident and the more time they spend with each other, it’s getting better.

Apart from teaching children English and engaging them in drawing classes, the volunteers have also learnt the basics of sign language to interact with the students. “We’ve learnt enough of sign language to communicate with the children,” says Sofia.

Having visited the Mysore Palace, Devaraja Market, Eugenio said that he enjoyed the places very much. However, the first time they set foot in India, they were shocked at increasing traffic and pollution.

Another problem they faced was the constant ‘staring’ by people. “It’s impolite to stare at other people,” says Sofia. “But I’m now used to it as it’s common in India,” she adds with a laugh.

Sofia said that even though the camp is for a short duration, it’s very intense because they get to do different activities every day.

While the Italians find the pungency in the food ‘very hot’, the South Koreans enjoy the food as spice is quite common in their food. Jin Hee Kim said that he loved the chapathis and coconut chutney. South Korean Irang Jeong, pursuing her major in law said that the experience was ‘meaningful’. She said, “the people are very warmhearted and nice.”

The other South Koreans Jin Hee Kim and Lee Jeonghoon have added a few Kannada words to their vocabulary. Describing an incident, their team leader of FSL India, Sandeep said that Jin Hee Kim asked his friend, “Neenu nanna maduve agthiya? (Will you marry me?)”.

While the volunteers, get set to leave the city on Saturday, they said that they would definitely revisit India if they got another chance.

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