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Greetings, dear friends. We trust your New Year got off to a good start and that your work is going well. At Building Blocks the atmosphere continues to be full of excitement – a “buzz”, as some call it, because of all the activity and the lovely children who attend our schools. The academic and other school activities are proceeding well; and the children are excelling in the various aspects of their schooling. 

This month we wanted to shed light on our volunteer program, which has been running successfully for a few years now. This newsletter will include testimonies of some of the volunteers’ experience at Building Blocks India.

One team of 5 young  adults from Nederlands came on such a program and have been helping with a much needed aspect of our work - documentation. Taking pictures and videos of our schools, the children, where the children come from, the slum surroundings which the children live in, what are the children receiving from Building Blocks India and the children’s time in the school. (Here is a link of a video they had created ) They interacted with the children, their parents, visited the slums, saw the living conditions of the children and their families, spent time in our schools and in the classrooms. Having them around was a wonderful experience of learning and sharing both for them and Building Blocks staff and members too.

Romy and Esther are two volunteers from Netherlands  who have been with us past two months helping with teaching Math and English giving individual attention for the K5 grade children. They have recently visited the slum and met with a mother whose child is attending school at Building Blocks. Here is a firsthand experience they shared getting to know what background the children come from and how Building Blocks India has been instrumental in helping these children. 

We are Dutch volunteers Romy and Esther from Nederlands working  with a group of 19 children from the K5 grade at Building Blocks India. For the past 2 months it has been a wonderful experience getting to know the children and them getting to know us. We have grown to care for them deeply.

Because we see the children so full of excitement when they come to school, we often forget the fact that these children do live in the slums facing difficult and poor living conditions every day. When we compare to the standard of our living in Netherlands it breaks our heart to see how little these children have and yet are so happy and cheerful.  

Last week, we got the opportunity to accompany our colleagues to the slums close to our school. It was an opportunity for us to learn more about our students, the way they live and to share one of the many stories of the people that live in the slums.

On our way to the family we were going to meet, we noticed the children who come to Building Blocks and what kind of conditions and surroundings they live in. It was very sad to see the congested and poor living conditions that these children live in. No proper water supply , irregular electricity, very small living places for an entire family to live in, lack of infrastructure to facilitate a clean or basic decent living .
We reached  Shoba’s  house a 28 yr old single mother of 2 children. The house is more like a room as it is basically a small square the size of an average bathroom. Everything is pushed against the walls to create an empty space in the middle where they sit, eat, work and sleep at night. She has lived here for 8 years. Her husband died of an illness. Now Shoba shares the space with her father and her son Arvind(7). He is studying 1st grade and hopes to be a police officer when he grows up. Her daughter, Sathya(8), lives in a hostel closer to the school where she studies 4th grade. When she is older, she would like to be a doctor.
Shoba tells us she is a housemaid and makes about 4000 rupees per month. The job is unstable as she could be fired at any time. Her father, who also lives in the house, makes about a 1000 rupees per month. With a combined income of 5000 rupees (73USD) per month, she has to feed 4 people. With very little income to make ends meet her priority is to put food on the table and sending their children to school is a luxury that they can think of only if they can meet their daily basic needs. When we asked how Building Blocks has helped her, she said “Before Building Blocks, we could only eat once a day. Now my children get free education and can also eat nutritious meals twice a day and learn a lot about making their lives better. She is very happy and very thankful that her children have the opportunity to go to school and have hope for a brighter future. The experience of visiting the slum and hearing  Shoba’s life story has touched our heart and inspired us to do our best for these children.   
Thank you to all who help us in making a difference in the lives of these families and children. Your help and support go  a long way. We may not see how far reaching it may be but one day we believe we will see the result of it all in the transformed lives of these children. We will sign off here wising you a wonderful month ahead.
Our mailing address is:
34, Hanumanthappa Road,
Soonangi layout,
Nagama Nilaya, R.S.Palya
Kamanahalli, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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Building blocks · 34, Hanumanthappa Road, Soonangi layout, Nagama Nilaya, · R.S.Palya Kamanahalli, Karnataka, India · Bangalore 560033 · India

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