Visit to PPES

02 August 2015

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For the past two and a half months, I’ve taught health education to the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 11th graders here at PPES. At first it was a real challenge trying to communicate with them without me speaking Hindi and without them speaking English, and for the first few weeks of my stay, I was always on the lookout for another teacher to translate for me during class. After about a month, I began pushing through all the classes without a translator, and while it was painful at times, it ended up being really fun. Every time we understood each other, the entire class would get excited and we’d celebrate by doing a cheer that involved us miming animals ranging from lions to peacocks (with none of us truly knowing how to mime a peacock). 

If there’s one thing all the students desire from the volunteers that come to PPES, it’s for us to dance for them. If I had a rupee for all the times a student interrupted a lesson or randomly said, “Ma’am, please, dance. No ma’am, dance.” I would be a rich girl. For the times we would dance together and I would wow them with my superb dance skills (the sprinkler, running man, and lawn mower) they would laugh and join along, except for that one time a 6th grader wrinkled her nose at me and said “Ma’am…no.” Though it’s safe to say the Macarena is a huge hit with ALL the students. It’s also cool to see the imprint past volunteers left on them, particularly with their English. Many 11th graders love the opportunity to say “I’m awesome!” instead of “I’m good” (thanks, Mikey) and are eager to learn new words (I supplied them with “splendid”). One of my favorites was when I went to my 7th B class and one of the girls told me my hair was “Messy hair, don’t care” – not sure which volunteer taught her that but I laughed pretty hard. All the students are always really well kept, with their hair tamed and braided, and I always tend to have messy, yesterday’s ponytail-hair. Which leads me to one of my favorite things about teaching here – taking advantage of their incredible braiding skills and letting them braid my hair almost daily. It was a win/win for all of us; having your hair braided is awesome, and they always had fun doing it. 

The students at PPES are absolutely amazing. They are beautiful, intelligent, inspiring, and eager to learn. They are your typical pre-teens and teenagers and love hearing about America and other places that are different from India. They’re also incredibly forgiving of how horrid I am at pronouncing anything in Hindi, and for that, I am forever grateful.

-by Cate Green

PPES: Tapping the Largest Untapped Reservoir of Talent in the World

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I have been working at the Delhi office of Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) for about three weeks now. PPES is a Non-Governmental Organization that focuses on female well-being in Anupshahr, Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India. They work to improve the lives of girls/women in many ways, most prominently through education, health & hygiene awareness, community development, and economic empowerment.
Girls at Assemby
PPES runs four separate schools for girls aged Kindergarten to Grade 12; nearly 1,400 girls attend these schools. They learn everything from Math to English to Human Rights to Computer Literacy. This is very important in an area like Anupshahr where illiteracy is especially prevalent, especially for girls. Unfortunately, girls are not always valued enough by their families to be sent to school. PPES is working to change that paradigm by providing these schools to girls from poor families in Anupshahr. A school like PPES allows these girls to begin to reach their full intellectual potential and their education enables them to provide for themselves personally and professionally. Many girls who attend PPES go on to college or start to work immediately upon graduation — something that would not be possible without the support of their classmates, teachers, and administrators.
In addition to educational support, PPES provides information to the girls about Health & Hygiene. They have the girls shower and brush their teeth daily at school, while providing daily support for health with their full-time nurse and connections to doctors around the area. This is extremely important, as bad health is a severely limiting factor to learning. Beyond these things, PPES also supports community development by helping to organize Self Help Groups (SHGs) for women in the villages of Anupshahr. In these self-organized SHGs women are able to pool their resources to help everyone in the group. This is very important, because without this support women are often left to find loans at banks with exorbitant interest rates. Within their SHGs they can loan to each other at low interest and add the collected interest to the pooled resources of the entire group. PPES also provides information and training to community members about best practices for their cattle. Beyond these initiatives, PPES strives for economic empowerment of girls through optional vocational training after Grade 10, which allows the girls to enter the labor force immediately upon graduation.
I’m predominantly working on administrative tasks at the Delhi office, which is about three hours west of Anupshahr. I’ve done things such as helping to write annual/monthly reports, creating documents, researching grant opportunities, writing drafts for grant applications, and posting to social media. I love this work because it allows me to help the Delhi office with their work, which is integral to the success of PPES. I also had the opportunity to visit the schools last week. It was nice to see the facilities, but it was incredible to see the girls that are benefiting from the work of PPES. They were all smiles throughout the entire time I was there and were happy to be at school. It was amazing how similar they are to girls in the U.S. — they laugh, smile, gossip, and play sports in exactly the same way as girls in the U.S. My main job was to take photographs while at the school, but I took a break to play football (soccer) with the girls during their break time. It was honestly some of the most fun I’ve had in a very long time.
In the next five weeks at PPES I hope to continue to work on many different things in the Delhi office, and I am looking forward to visiting the girls in Anupshahr and playing more football.

-by brandongoestoindia on July 21, 2015

Playing Football

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On Wednesday I was finally able to go to the school run by Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (the NGO I’m working for) in Anupshahr. It was amazing to see the girls and the work they are doing, as well as getting out of the Delhi office to see the school firsthand. 
It’s about a 3 hour drive from Delhi, so we arrived in the middle of the school day, at about 11 am. My friend, and coworker, Shruti showed me around the entire campus – I saw the classrooms, the computer lab, the vocational training rooms, the cafeteria, the playground, and met some girls. By the time we had finished our tour it was break time for some of the girls and they were playing football (the real football; not the American kind.) My job was to take pictures to post and use in pamphlets, but I really wanted to play. I asked Shruti if I could and she said, “Of course!” and then I went to the field to ask the girls if I could play- they were happy to have me!
It was an absolute blast! It was so much fun to do something with the girls that I love doing in the United States. It reminded me of all the time I spent playing during recess when I was in elementary school, which are definitely some of my fondest memories.IMG_0834 They helped me feel like a kid again and I’m very grateful for that. It really helped show me how similar the interests of these girls are to young children who go to school in the U.S.