Hi, my name is Lauren Ivory and I am in Year 11 at Northholm Grammar School. During the last school holidays, I was very blessed to have the opportunity to spend 10 days in India with the charity ‘Project Help India’. During my time in India we travelled to Bijnor, Delhi and Kotdwara.
In the beautiful rural village known as Kotdwara, we prepared for the two day women’s conference that is held every year by ‘Project Help India’ with over 600 women from all across India and 200 young school girls from Kotdwara.
At the conference we delivered a number of talks to empower women to live with value and purpose. One of the many talks consisted of a hygiene message delivered by my friend Maisy and me to teach women the importance of washing their hands, cleaning their clothes and eating nutritious meals. Within these messages I also had the chance to teach over 600 women to do the Nutbush, Macarena and Cha Cha Slide and by the end of both conferences we had nearly all women dancing along with us! I must add that doing the Nutbush in a sari isn’t as easy as it sounds…
We spent the rest of our time in Kotdwara visiting five of the schools that are run by ‘Project Help India’ in areas such as the Kotdwara slums and the jungle mountains where education is often neglected. Visiting the slums was a heartbreaking moment of the trip as I met many of the locals and saw their harsh living conditions. ‘Project Help India’ provides education and support to these slum areas and has also set up a leprosy house where I was able to meet the inspirational family that lives there. I also had the chance to help at the disability education centre run by ‘Project Help India’ and met some inspiring children who were so happy and joyful.
India is such a colourful country full of beautiful people, places and (of course) food. What inspired me most was to see the happy disposition of teachers, students, young girls and women. It showed me how lucky I am to receive such a wonderful education and how ‘Project Help India’ has a significant impact on the rural areas within India.
Already we are off to such a great start with our fundraising from the Easter raffle and selling of hot cross buns. When I told all the women that Northholm Grammar School back in Australia is raising money for ‘Project Help India’ they were all so happy and grateful to hear that people in Australia are giving their support.
Cassie Plenge (another Y11 student) and I are so excited and looking forward to a great year ahead, full of events such as the Trivia Night on Friday, August 16 at school to fundraise for such an important cause. We hope to see you there!