Written by Jane Merriman, (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Student Correspondent for UW in India: Delhi, Summer 2018
I’ve spent most of my time in India trying to understand the unavailability of many basic resources, which is an issue that many children living there face. For my internship, I have been working with an organization called CRY, Child Rights and You. I had the opportunity to visit a school for 6-12 year-olds that CRY works with. It was truly an amazing experience because I got to see first-hand the wonderful work that our volunteers and interns are doing at these locations around the city.
We arrived at the school where the kids were in the middle of their last lesson for the day. I had come prepared with paper and scissors so they could make paper snowflakes and airplanes – an easy trick for keeping kids entertained for a long time. I couldn’t effectively tell them all the instructions in Hindi, so I went step-by-step in front of the class so they could see the cuts and folds that I was making. I wasn’t sure how the kids would respond to my lack of Hindi, but they were laughing at the few words and phrases that I could say.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the visit to the school, but upon arriving I could tell that everyone involved in this place was determined to ensure that the kids have a great learning experience. CRY has done amazing work with involving the kids and the volunteers within the community. They partner with many sites and schools around the city so it was really great to see the kids that are benefitting from this partnership. I work in research at CRY, and because I am in the office I do not have much contact with the kids who my work benefits. My time in the school allowed me to understand how my work will affect these children and further how the organization’s work is helping the community.
We tagged along with two interns who had made previous visits to the school. They were great with the kids because they had developed relationships with them during several previous visits, which was fantastic to see.
This experience reassures me that CRY doesn’t just go into schools and pull out after a little while – they are committed to bettering these children by being a consistent presence in the communities, which is something every NGO should strive to do. Every job within CRY is crucial and I feel very honored that I was able to work with so many great people and meet the kids that they are positively affecting. There are organizations similar to this in the US but the extent of the problems that CRY is working to resolve are much different than the focuses of any US-based organization.
The nature of CRY’s work is rooted in empathy and understanding children and their needs as it relates to their environment in India. I feel privileged to be a part of such an amazing organization and one that has fostered so much happiness and progress in the lives of the children it serves.