Sunderland student helps educate India’s poor

Sunderland students Bhav Patel teaching children in India.
Sunderland students Bhav Patel teaching children in India.
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A SUNDERLAND student took a life-changing trip to India to help educate children in some of the country’s poorest primary schools.

Wearside’s Bhav Patel chose to spend a month teaching impoverished children in the slums of India, facing temperatures of 47 degrees celsius.

Despite the heat and dreadful conditions, the 21-year-old says volunteering in India, with the support of the University of Sunderland’s Futures Fund, was one of the most rewarding experiences of his life, inspired by youngsters desperate to learn and enjoy the simplest of activities.

Bhav said the level of poverty in India was evident, and he also faced communication challenges as the first language in the schools was Hindi, a language he has little knowledge of.

He said: “I volunteered to teach in the slums. They call it a ‘slum school,’ but it’s not much of a school. It has three walls and it’s built to fit a maximum of 25 students, but we had up to 66 children at a time. This meant we had to teach on the ground outside of the classroom.

“The humidity and the hygiene in the slums caused swarms of flies which circled within the school. Children often arrived with recycled fizzy pop bottles of brown water.”

The trainee teacher, who is beginning the third year of his course, was based in a village just outside New Delhi called Faridabad.