Sadly St Thomas University’s time volunteering in India with iSpiice (Integrated Social Programs in Indian Child Education) has come to an end. For the fifth year in a row, the University Eco travel group named VISION joined us in Dharamsala, the Himalayas, Delhi and Agra. The 9 students (from majors varying in art history, communications, science and medicine) along with their English Professor settled into the peaceful rural life of our village quickly.

Every morning 4 students took the scenic route to a nearby high school, blasting Hindi tunes as they passed local villages, wheat fields and locals going about their day. At School Claire and Sam taught back to back Computer classes focusing on PowerPoint, Excel, Word and typing skills. Whilst Emily H and Emily J taught English grammar classes.

With Child Care being a focus for iSpiice Emily K, Connor, Shane, Michelle, Dalton and Ciara took charge at 3 nearby Child Care Centres. Daily games, songs and simple English language lessons brought huge smiles to the faces of these children from low income families.

In the early afternoons half the group sang songs as they repainted a run down Child Care Centre whilst the other half completed some much needed cleaning and disinfecting of a number of Child Care Centres. With iSpiice currently supporting 21 local Child Care Centres the maintenance assistance was greatly beneficial to iSpiice and the community.

Three Private Tuition groups were held in the homes of local families to Teach English to students aged 9-16. Day by day the students capabilities improved and many bonds were formed between the students and the volunteers. The families of the students showed their appreciation of the volunteers by offering them Indian sweets and Chai.

Furthermore, two English classes were held at the slum every evening – enthusiastic children of the slum learned colours, shapes, body parts and simple English greetings and manners. Everyday the families of the children crowded around the classes held within the slum, showing support, interest and thanks.

On behalf of the iSpiice team and community, we give a very special thanks to VISION and St Thomas University for joining us again. It has been a pleasure for all of us getting to know the group and seeing their dedication, passion and compassion. Thank you for all your support.

By Varun Verma, iSpiice Founding Director, February 2013

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