PROMO service trip to Rajasthan

I am one of 15 very lucky Lower Sixth students who have just returned from the PROMO trip to Rajasthan. It was difficult to believe that within 18 hours of leaving Solefields car park we were standing in front of the Taj Mahal. After a whistle-stop sightseeing tour of Agra and Jaipur, we arrived at SKSN, a boarding school for disabled children about a 40-minute drive from Jodhpur.

On our first morning, we had a tour of the school before serving lunch to the boy boarders. In the afternoon, the boys bonded over a game of cricket, while we got to know the girls in their hostel. The next morning, we began teaching the students. We had all planned lessons in groups before the trip, but didn’t know what to expect. Teaching the students was easier than I thought it would be, although, it helped that we had a Hindi speaker in my group! In the afternoon we were introduced to Kabaddi, a game a bit like British Bulldog. The Sevenoaks boys beat the SKSN boys, however, the SKSN girls beat us, much to our disappointment. In the evening, we went to the girls’ hostel to talk, make loom bands and braid hair.

The rest of the days at SKSN followed a similar pattern – lessons in the morning, games in afternoon and getting to know the boarders in the evening. Our day off was spent sightseeing and shopping in Jodhpur. On our last day, we had a party with lots of balloons and face painting, followed by a cultural performance in which some SKSN students danced. We also performed a dance, rather less accomplished than theirs! The next day, we caught the overnight train to Delhi, where we spent the last two days.

We all absolutely loved our time in India and, in particular, the week at SKSN. It was wonderful to see how happy these children were and the extraordinary ways in which they have learnt to cope with their disabilities. Mr Woodward and Mrs Agarwal were great tour leaders and companions and it was so good to hear from them how the school has improved over the years, partly as result of our fundraising. Our stay at SKSN was an incredibly rewarding experience, which I will never forget.

Freya Sackville-West 

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