Help comes from different shores

Help comes from different shores


You see foreigners in Mysore learning yoga, the once esoteric art of keeping fit. You also see foreigners visiting schools on a mission.

What’s new is a bunch of volunteers from different countries silently doing their mite in the city for the cause of specially-abled children.

Sophie, Celine and Mara are among nine volunteers who have spread in different parts of the city — involved in different activities.

Celine and Mara are from Germany, while Sophie is from Switzerland. They are here on an exchange tour from Indian Cultural Dialogue Exchange (ICDE), headquartered in New Delhi.

The trio have chosen Nireekshe, an open school dedicated for specially-abled children near Vivekananda Nagar circle.

Recall Sophie and Celine about their first day in the school in mid-January that they were apprehensive. But what clicked was the students of the school, for whom they were not newcomers.

All they needed was a person with tonnes of patience, who could freely mingle with them. Also the teachers, especially principal Hemamalini Kripakar, made their job easy.
You congratulate them whenever they complete their work, either writing an assignment or dance, they will be on cloud nine, the duo told City Herald in chorus about the students’ behaviour.

Initially it was Celine who zeroed in on Nireekshe, while Sophie had decided on another project. She had accompanied Celine to the school and that was the time when she was besotted by the children at the school. Pat she decided to join Celine on her volition.

Not only teaching students — theory and practicals — the duo have struck a chord with fellow teachers too. They share food brought from home (host who has offered paying guest accommodation for the two in J P Nagar) along with the teachers, but also taste their  dishes.

As is the rule, ICDE gives them a training session on dos and don’ts, besides many other interesting aspects like — walking barefoot, eating with hand among others. A Kannada teacher has been hired by ICDE to teach the duo the language.

For Sophie it’s mixed emotions, as she is on a visit during her short-term vacation. She will be leaving for her country in 10 days, while Celine is happy as she still has nine months to go, to be precise in December.

Says Hemamalini: “Earlier to the trio, there was Dominique from Austria. He was the first among foreign volunteers here, who turned all available time into an opportunity to teach students.”