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School children visit Delhi NGO to learn how it serves communities and promotes empowerment 

“Respecting everyone’s dignity, irrespective of which community they belonged to, was something we learned there,” said one of the students

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Apeejay School International (ASI), South Delhi, organised a trip to a nearby NGO recently to promote awareness about social service among students. Middle Year Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP) students paid a visit to Goonj, an organisation that is dedicated to disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and community development.

Neha Sharma, International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme Coordinator, ASI, said, “The visit was planned around World Humanitarian Day (August 19) to educate children about social service. They were encouraged to donate items for those affected in the recent Assam floods. Not only did the students donate, but they also learned about the entire process of how the items would reach the victims, during their visit to Goonj.”

The visit was planned for the classes MYP 3-DP 1 as part of their respective social service projects– Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) and Services and Action (SAA)–included in the IB school curriculum. At ASI, the school curriculum is designed to promote experiential learning to inculcate independent thinking and mould the young generation into responsible human beings. 

“At first, I thought it was just an organisation that was providing relief,” says Reha Aggarwal from DP 1. “But when I visited the NGO, I realised they had a very positive and motivating environment. The women working there were very friendly. Respecting everyone’s dignity, irrespective of which community they belonged to, was something I learned there. I got to know they were recycling all items, from household supplies to clothes and cassettes. I was lucky that I visited the NGO. We were also invited to join their cause as volunteers.”

While learning more about the “act of service”, students were also familiarised with the organisational structure of the NGO. Says MYP 5 student Nia Lobo, “We understood more about how Goonj came to be such a big organisation. We also understood that our service, even if starting small, can become big over time if we put in the required effort to connect with more people. We understood more about the volunteering process—volunteering does not just mean working at the centre but also advocating for Goonj and helping other people understand more about it.”

Tejas Kapil, another DP 1 student, recalls how they were taken on a tour across the various sections of the NGO building and introduced to the way they operate. The donated items are segregated among each of these sections and further packed into separate kits to be distributed to people. The highlight was the “bridal kit” for those who needed financial aid for weddings, according to the students. “The NGO donates schoolbooks, sports equipment, clothing for marriage, winter garments, etc. They also assist villages to boost their infrastructure by encouraging them to develop their village in return for a kit of donated items or other material requirements,” Tejas mentions.

“During our visit, we got to see all the facilities and their process of working. We met the workers at the NGO. We had a guide who explained everything to us. It was an enjoyable experience,” he adds.

More importantly, the students were happy to find how the organisation promoted the upliftment of underprivileged women by teaching them skills. “Even though the NGO does not explicitly say that they help with women empowerment, we realised that most of the workers there were, in fact, women. Some of them were differently abled,” Nia further adds.

The visit concluded by handing over the materials collected for the purpose of contribution to the NGO.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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