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As you are aware at Rainey there is a long tradition of pupils giving service to others and this year has been no exception. ASHA is a charity which the School has been involved with for a number of years that aims to “transform lives in the slums of Dehli”. Inspired by the work of the charity the ASHA RES team, together with Rainey Rugby Support Group are now aiming to raise money by holding an exciting and innovative event…’Colour Me RES’!

 

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#raineyasha blog – day 12 – Saturday 5 November 2016

 

After our final night celebrations in India, we awoke sleepy and set off for an action packed day. First stop was Cottage Emporium, where we attempted to spend the rest of our rupees buying last minute gifts for our friends and families. Mr Healy treated us to morning coffee at the glamorous 5 star Imperial Hotel. It was impossible to get over the huge contrast between the hotel and Kusumpur.

 

We went to ASHA headquarters to rehearse for our opening ceremony and dress up in our traditional Indian gear- sarees for the girls and kurtas for the boys. Here we also attempted the world record for most pizza eaten in 5 mins, egged on by Mr Healy, who was keen to keep on track with our busy schedule.
We then began the emotional journey of going to Kusumpur for the final time. Walking in through the gates, we were showered in marigold petals from our new friends. Mr Healy cut the ribbon, officially declaring the newly decorated resource centre open for business. The ceremony began with several of the kids performing traditional Indian dances, we were in awe at their talent. Several of the college students gave speeches (one even in French!), before the Rainey began our programme of entertainment. Sarah Henry sang “Believing” while playing the guitar, accompanied by Caitlin on the violin. Caitlin then played “Czardas” on the violin, followed by Alice’s rendition of “Oh Danny Boy”, accompanied by Sarah on the guitar. Andrew and Josh wowed the audience with a traditional Irish piece, a tin whistle duet, before Aimee got feet tapping with “Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone)” with Mr Healy on the guitar. Before our finale, Caitlin performed ‘Inishfree’ and ‘The Mason’s Apron’. We finished up with our own rousing rendition of “Ireland’s Call”. The ASHA coordinator for Kusumpur Rani gave an emotional speech, before Cara and Andrew thanked the people of Kusumpur for their hospitality and for giving us a new outlook on life.

 

After tearful goodbyes, many photos and the presentation of bracelets from the children, we left Kusumpur for the last time. The journey to the airport was a quiet one, as we reflected on our amazing experience in India. So many bonds of friendship were created between us and the slum dwellers, no one was ready to leave. We treasured our time with them and will never forget the amazing time we spent with them.
We set off for Dubai and boarded our flight at 9:20, eager for the enormous selection of movies and the opportunity for a little nap before our action packed day in Dubai.

 

After a late landing in Dubai, it was an early start once again for a busy day of sightseeing. We had a delicious buffet breakfast before catching the metro into the city centre. Although it was a short walk to the station, we were all sweating buckets in the immense humidity and heat of the city; it’s safe to say we were grateful for the invention of air conditioning! We arrived at the Dubai Mall and made our way to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made wonder in the world. Riding the elevator up to the 124th level, we were stunned by the amazing view of endless skyscraper buildings, a far cry from New Delhi and even our very own Northern Ireland! Of course, after taking plenty of photos of the views we couldn’t leave Dubai Mall without doing some shopping in a few of the 1200+ stores, gazing at the fish in the indoor aquarium and wishing we could jump into the waterfall.

 

After a hectic trip at Dubai Mall, it was a rush to make it on time to the bus for our 4 hour tour around Dubai. Our tour guide was great at explaining what each building was and the history behind Dubai. He took us to old Dubai and on a water taxi through Dubai creek. Next it was on to a spice souk where we all tried different teas and goat’s milk chocolate, which was lovely. After buying spices and chocolate, we made our way to the gold souk, where we saw the world’s largest gold ring and a solid gold dress. We were then taken to the beach where a few of us ended up drenched from stepping too far into the warm sea.

 

After a group photo on the beach we went back to Dubai Mall for dinner. We then split up and some of us continued our shopping, while others went to see the amazing water and light show. The light show consisted of the Burj Khalifa being lit up with lots of lovely patterns and colours, while the water show consisted of different water fountains. We then made our way back to the metro to go to the hotel for an early nght to be ready to go to the airport at 3:30 am to catch the flight home.

 

The heavy smog, poverty and sights and sounds of India were in contrast to the humidity, cleanliness and extreme wealth of Dubai. We have all been through so much emotionally and physically that we are all ready to head home to what we now realise is an incredible country with such fresh air and more equality than we knew before.

 

Love from Sarah H and Hannah

 

#raineyasha blog – day 10 – Thursday 3 November 2016

Today was our last day working in the resource centre to complete our final paintings and lessons. On our way to the resource centre we encountered a vast amount of smog which covered the whole city. As the morning progressed this thankfully cleared up. As we made our way to the resource centre for the last day of hard work we were excited to work with the Asha team , students and children for the final time. As usual we were greeted by the kind staff and students in the morning and we then got stuck into our work. Our efforts had paid off during our six days in the slum community as most of our work had been completed, meaning we only had to add our finishing touches. As these final details were added, the last group had their opportunity to go out on a lane visit. Aimee, Josh, Jessica and Amy were taken around the lanes by Asha students Venu and Akash.
 
They kindly invited us into their homes and greeted us with their warm hospitality – we danced and even had a sing along with Mr Healy on guitar and Aimee singing. As we walked around the lanes the positive impacts made by Asha were evident in the better quality housing and sanitation. As we entered Venu’s home the large volume of school books he owned and stored astounded us considering the small size of his dwelling. This demonstrated his true dedication to his studies. As we made our way up the lanes we were welcomed by everyone, in particular when we entered a house in which the women’s group held their weekly meetings. This was a small house so it astonished us how over 15 people could gather there. Whenever we arrived we were treated to dancing and more sing alongs and as the music became louder, more and more people squeezed into this tiny house to meet us. We had a great time. Sadly, our lane visit had to end and after having such a great time, we made our way back to the rest of the group for lunch.
 
After lunch we headed back to the slum where once again we were greeted with big smiles from all. Today, we had one craft and one English lesson with all of the children. The theme for the craft was the Olympics and so we designed wooden medals with a stuck on picture of the Rainey Asha Team and the children’s favourite – glitter glue. The English lesson linked in with the craft theme and focused on sports which allowed the children to learn and spell new sports but also use sentences tell us what sports they liked to play in their spare time. As the English lesson drew to a close, some of the girls were taken aside to learn how to put on their Sarees for later on that evening when we visited the Irish Ambassadors residence. Once 3:30 came, the English lesson had finished, the children had gone home and the girls headed back to the hotel to get themselves ready for the evenings garden party.
 
Meanwhile the guys stayed back at the resource centre and tidied up the craft and English materials before heading off themselves to clean up and dress in our magnificent Kurtas as the girls showed off their beautiful Sarees. After taking plenty photos at the hotel, we arrived fashionably late to the Irish Ambassadors residence. There we were taken aback by a beautiful garden, decorated with impressive green and white lights, fancy tables and a new moon in the now clear sky. We were greeted by the beaming smiles of some Asha Ambassadors from our slum in Kusumpur. We were very impressed by how smart each and every one of the slum dwellers looked in their shirts and new ties and also very proud to see them being able to represent with pride the organisation which has helped them greatly throughout their life to get them where they are today.
 
As Brian McElduff (Irish Ambassador) and Dr Kiran gave words of thanks to the school teams and spoke to the Irish residents in Delhi, Caitlin performed an amazing violin piece, accompanied by our very own Mr McDonnell on guitar, while Wallace and Methody each performed a choir piece. After countless pictures were taken with our new friends and a delicious dinner was had by all, it was soon time to go and say our goodbyes.
 
Tomorrow promises to be a emotional experience when we will unveil the newly refurbished resource centre, totally revamped both inside and out. We look forward to what will be a very special day.
Aimee and Josh
 

#raineyasha blog – day 9 – Wednesday 2 November 2016

Today we got to spend another exciting day in the slums. We continued with our usual morning of painting and decorating the resource centre. The men tackled the outside, giving it a much needed coat of fresh paint and they all agree that it now looks much fresher and more welcoming. While a group of us went out into the slums to continue with our lane visits. Today was the turn of Caitlin, Hannah, Sarah H, Stuart and Miss McCracken. They enjoyed talking to shop keepers, dancing with the children and taking in the views of the jungle (so called because of its dangerous conditions, with wild pigs, water snakes and jaguars, all surrounding a lake of stagnant water) which surrounds the slum.

 

One houses that we visited today was freshly painted with beautiful floor embellishments for Diwali, the cleanliness put some of our own rooms at home to shame! It was great to see how businesses, health and living conditions have been improved through the work of ASHA, and is heartwarming for us to see how money raised is being applied to their daily lives. When they got back we all headed out for lunch. After finally passing the mass of water trucks, we arrived back at the resource centre to begin lessons. Today we taught the parts of the body in the English lesson, with the boys giving a tuneful (not so much) rendition of head, shoulders, knees and toes. The craft lesson involved creating a frog, with varying success due to frog legs and glue issues. While we were finishing up our lessons some of the college student girls came and shared their artistic skill with us by beautifully decorating our arms and hands with some henna, which we greatly appreciated!

 
We finished our day in the slums and headed back to the hotel for a quick turn around before leaving to get some well deserved Chinese for dinner. We all thoroughly enjoyed today, but called it quits after dinner to go back for an early night.

 

Love from, Caitlin and Alice

 

 

 

#raineyasha blog – day 8 – Tuesday 1 November 2016

Today started with the usual early breakfast and once again with anticipation we headed off to the slums. With the fantastic reception we had received the past couple of days we were ‘buzzing’ to have the chance to teach more lessons and paint more walls! We got to work straight away, the boys painted one small room which was quickly named the ‘sweatbox’ due to the lack of windows and aircon. The girls worked on their individual paintings, soon assisted by the boys and the locals. At lunchtime we attempted to exit the slums quickly for a brisk lunch, but we were halted by the usual obstacle: water trucks coming toward us, filling up the whole one way road through the slums. Eventually, we got past them and got our long awaited McDonalds.

 

With full bellies we headed back to the slums to be greeted by smiling children who were extremely excited to see us and to learn more! The craft group today helped the kids create a ladybug, and Mr McDonnell showed us how teaching should be carried out with his expert lesson on Geography! The kids (as well as a few members of the English teaching group!) left with knowledge of the 5 oceans and 7 continents and their very own ladybugs to take home, and after giving us our handshakes they promised enthusiastically to return tomorrow. It has been encouraging to see the intense passion they have for learning, pushing us on to bring their enthusiasm into our teaching.

 

After this, we welcomed 28 university students who have been helped through their education by Asha. It was very interesting to sit down and meet a variety of students, learning about their school or university lives and Indian culture. Many stories were exchanged and friendships ignited, reinforced by countless selfies taken! It was pretty amazing to hear all about India and the many contrasts and comparisons between it and our little Northern Ireland. Speaking to a 18 year old girl, we were shocked as we learned of major differences regarding our futures. As she described the rules and regulations of arranged marriages, we quickly learned the lack of opportunities young girls in India experience. At the mere age of 14 years old (the same age as our 3rd years) a girl can be expected to take part in an arranged marriage. With our eyes opened we left the slums for a quick and delicious meal at the hotel.

 

Mr Healy and the rest of the team then put their developing bartering skills to the test as we departed to the Dilli Haat market. Knocking down prices to their minimum became a simple task when under the watchful eye of Mr Healy, and some amazing bargains were not so much found, but created! Happy with the many purchases of scarves and even bed sheets, we called it a day and headed back to the hotel, to rest up again!

 

P.S
In response to the question from Liz Rowan ‘What have been the highlights so far for the team?’

 

I think we’re speaking for the whole group when we say it would be impossible to limit the trip to just a few highlights, as the trip itself is classed as the highlight of our year so far! We have been incredibly lucky to work with such a passionate group of kids and interesting college students from humble slum backgrounds, and it has really opened our eyes to how lucky we are with all our privileges of study and freedom at home. It is obvious that the teaching of the kids (our main purpose) has been the highlight. Other highlights would include the 3 boys crazy car journey home with a taxi driver and his loud Indian music which was danced to the whole journey. One highlight for the girls would be the bartering and purchase of many scarves and other accessories in the markets we have visited.

 

Stuart and Jessica

 

raineyendowed.com/asha

#raineyasha blog – day 7 – Monday 31 October 2016

 

After a night of Diwali celebrations, we woke bleary eyed for an early breakfast buffet at 8am. Despite it being so early in the morning, the sound of fireworks and smell of smoke still lingered in the air. The highly awaited return to Kusumpur slum, after a long weekend of sightseeing with Wallace and Methody, had finally arrived and we were eager to get back into the work at the resource centre.

 

Everyone rolled up their sleeves and got stuck into the painting. It was great to meet some of the college students who visited the resource centre as they were off on holiday. They too were keen to demonstrate their artistic skills,lending a hand with the painting. Ajay, a former president of the children’s group and graduate of Delhi University also came to visit us and we were delighted to hear that he has a permanent post a PWC. We are all very proud of his amazing achievements and wish him every success in his career.

 

Our boys also joined in in the painting of the intricate drawings having painted the walls of two of the smaller rooms. It was no time at all before we were cleaning up and heading for our lunch at McDonalds.

 

After being refilled and replenished by a refreshing McDonalds, we returned to the ASHA resource centre. Once again, we arrived to the echoing cheers of young eager children, full of energy and ready to begin today’s activities. Josh led the craft session, and a real sense of sheer excitement was tangible as many bags of glitter and googly eyes were opened. Countless vibrant and majestic paper ducks were observed flying about the centre, literally! Meanwhile, Cara carefully managed the English lessons, with today’s topic being animals. Countless species were included, with actions for each! Rumour has it Mr McDonnell does the best elephant impression in New Dehli! After these activities came to a close, the team were lucky to hear the inspirational words of Jeetu, a slum dweller who through the work of ASHA, turned his life around, went to university and now works for the Australian High Commission. After this, the team began to gather their belongings for the short trek back to the hotel. A quick and refreshing change was followed by a tasty meal at Nandos at the DLF Emporium.

 

This brought a pleasant change from the taste of Chicken McNuggets and fries! We ended the day exploring the DLF Mall with some more presents purchased for the mums and dads! Once again, today’s activities had worn out the team and the tiredness began to take its toll as we returned to the Legend Inn. With more fun times and hard work planned for tomorrow, a good night’s sleep was essential! Thank you to all readers of the blog for your continued support for our journey in India; your kind words motivate us throughout the day!!

 

P.S if you have any questions for us, please leave them on our facebook page and we will try and answer them tomorrow!

 

#raineyasha blog – day 6 – Sunday 30 October 2016

Happy Diwali!

This morning there was a lot of excitement in New Delhi as today is the day of India’s renowned celebration of “The Festival of Lights”. The streets were lined with people selling bright garlands typically worn during the holiday. We continued our sight seeing by going to the Akshardham Temple, built by 11,000 workers in 5 years. It means “the divine abode of God” and is revered by followers of the Hindu faith. We were all blown away by its exquisite architecture, with detailed carvings and statues covering the walls and roofs, and the vast array of semi-precious stones. We were able to watch numerous videos about the life of Swaminarayan, the central figure in Swaminarayan Hinduism. Unfortunately, the Temple does not allow any cameras or phones on the site, so we couldn’t take photos for our devoted blog readers!

 

We then decided to take a ride on some Tuk Tuks, a very common mode of transport in New Delhi, thanks to Mr Healy’s now legendary bartering skills. Although it was a tight squeeze to fit 3 people on the small bench, after 3 trips around Connaught Place we were ecstatic.

 

After getting lost at Connaught Place trying to find a Pizza Hut, we made our way to Cottage Emporium, a store full of traditional Indian crafts. With what seemed to be more than the standard 4 floors of handmade items we began a search for anything and everything, with some people starting at the bottom and working their way up and vice versa. The prices were surprisingly cheap, considering everything was handmade and the people were getting fair prices for their hard work. Some of the items included wooden carvings of animals, beaded bags, purses, scarves, clothes, books and pens etc. Safe to say this was the place most of our money was spent.

 

After this it was back to the taxis for a quick drive up to parliament buildings and India Gate, where one of the drivers – our self-appointed tour guide – provided us with the history and background to these iconic landmarks. Back at the hotel we all washed up and put on our best clothes to celebrate Diwali with Indian cuisine in the hotel and a fireworks display and traditional Indian drumming , with, like everything in India, limited safety measures! After an impromptu concert from the Methody team on the roof, heard all throughout the hotel, we called it a night as we had an early rise to head the Kusumpur slums in the morning.

 

Love from Sarah & Hannah

#raineyasha blog – day 5 – Saturday 29 October 2016

This morning we had a VERY early start with breakfast at 5.30am. This is because we were leaving at 6am to travel to Agra situated south of Delhi.
We were real tourists for the day and visited both the Red Fort and one of the 7 Built Wonders of the World – the extravagant Taj Mahal.
It was a 4 hour journey to Agra and we used this as opportunity to have a much needed rest, especially the boys because they were absolutely exhausted! On the way we continued to see the poverty, realising it’s not only within Delhi but throughout the entire country of India.

 

Before visiting the Red Fort we went to the 5 star hotel “The Trident”, where we enjoyed refreshments.
We then left the hotel with our informative tour guide for the day-Husain. He provided us with some fascinating historical information about this very beautiful collection of different exquisite red bricked buildings.
However, we all agreed it is nothing compared to the Rainey building! Whilst inside the Red Fort we could see in the distance the Taj Mahal awaiting our arrival later on in the day.

After a delicious buffet back at the Trident hotel, boasting typical Indian dishes, we had time for some sunbathing before we headed to our next destination- the Taj Mahal. Upon our arrival, we walked through the breathtaking gardens, many impressive buildings and passed the ‘Princess Diana’s bench’. We were all in awe of the symmetry seen throughout the Taj Mahal, down to each individual engraving. Husain was extremely friendly and explained much of the architecture and design. We were able to enter the Taj Mahal, the resting place of Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built by her husband Shah Jahan in her memory. It was incredible to finally have the privilege of being in and around one of the Seven Built Wonders of the World. We were treated like celebrities because of our white skin as many Indian locals approached us to have photos taken with their children!
However, on leaving we were soon brought back to the harsh realities of India, with many beggars and street sellers approaching us. We returned once again to our favourite eatery McDonalds with the other two schools Wallace and Methody. We eventually collapsed onto our bus seats and talked about our busy day through the long journey home.

 

By Cara and Sarah Paul

 

#raineyasha blog – day 4

Today was our first day working in the Kusumpur slum which we were highly anticipating. As we made our way to the slum, we were delayed by the water trucks blocking the one way traffic with cars coming both ways! (You can imagine how that worked out). After we finally squeezed through we were warmly greeted by the Resource Centre staff. We had already pre-organised our groups and our plan of action so we instantly got stuck into our work.

 

The boys began to sand down walls and paint the base coat while the girls instantly got stuck into the drawing led by the art team Hannah, Aimee, Amy and Caitlin. We drew up our images in the sweltering heat, with all of us assigned different pictures to complete in four different rooms. Being determined as we were, we completed them as quickly as possible, so other team members could begin to paint.  Asha appointed us someone to mix our paint as there was no ready mix paint available. However, instead of using a wooden stick to mix the paint, he effortlessly stuck his hand into the paint pot and mixed the paint – which went up to his elbow! As the painters got stuck in, the artists continued to draw.

 

As the artists and painters were busy in action, 4 pupils and Mr McDonnell had the privilege to visit some areas of the Asha community outside the Resource Centre. They met with members of the Asha women’s group, who invited them into their homes. They got to view their dwellings, meet their children and even got to do some dancing!! Once they got back, the painters and artists were exhausted and in need of a break. We left the Resource Centre, hopped into our taxis and made our way out of the slum through the narrow hectic road straight to a well earned McDonald’s to satisfy our hungry tummies.

 

We arrived back from McDonalds and hastily gathered our materials for the craft and English lessons and kindly welcomed the slum children into the Resource Centre. As the children gathered we started to sing songs and got to know their names. After a few renditions of ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ we split off into 2 groups (one craft and one English group). Alice led the craft today which was making decorative fish and Andrew led the English lesson with the theme being food. The ever enthusiastic children were keen to learn new words and phrases such as ‘These are scales’ and more complicated food names such as ‘Asparagus’. As the craft and English lessons proceeded we split off into smaller groups of 3/4 to complete the fish craft or food worksheets. It was very encouraging to see how quickly the children were able to identify keywords and repeat certain phrases with ease. As the final gems were added and plastic fruits gathered, both lessons finished with a small recap on words and phrases used throughout each lesson.

 

As lessons were drawing to a close, the college students had been hard at work completing a ‘Happy Diwali’ message masterclass on the resource centre floor using coloured powdered decorated with candles. Some members of the team had a chance to light the candles and each was greeted with loud cheers from everyone present. When all of the candles had been lit we were invited to show off our dance moves to the classic Indian music and also up beat music which we are more used to. Everyone decided to join in on the dancing which turned into one big party! As soon as we had drained all of our energy the team was escorted outside to witness, but also part take in a fireworks display, Indian style! Although I’m not sure that health and safety was to the fore front, it made for exciting, enjoyable but also eventful memories. There were sparklers, fire crackers and bangers on show. When the excitement had calmed, we all had the opportunity to wish our new found friends a Happy Diwali and to take a few photos. After an unforgettable day we all are anticipating Monday morning with great enthusiasm to continue in our work.

 

Once we all had arrived back and freshened up we headed out to a Chinese restaurant where we tucked into some delicious meals.

 

Tomorrow we are looking forward to our journey to Agra to visit the famous Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.

 

By Aimee and Josh

 

#raineyasha blog – day 3

We started off today with a scrumptious breakfast of crepes and cereal. This was just what we needed as we were going to have a busy day ahead of us!

 

Our first stop was to the Lotus Temple, which is a Bahá’í House of Worship. This is a beautiful temple, fittingly named due to its lotus flower shape and surroundings of nine ponds. We arrived and firstly had the chance to walk through the tranquil gardens, while also having some photos taken of us by onlookers it was certainly a strange experience. Then we made our way to the temple itself, we were able allowed to observe inside the temple, though sadly we couldn’t take any photos out of respect as the building is sacred. It was a really peaceful and relaxing experience compared to the chaotic streets of Delhi.

 

After our visit to the temple we headed over to ASHA HQ, where they have the facilities to treat around 60-90 patients daily, hold important meetings and have their main offices. Here we had the opportunity to meet Ayesha and Fancie, two of the ASHA staff who introduced us to the work of ASHA. As today was a very special day for one of our team members, Sarah Paul’s 18th birthday, we had some cake, sang happy birthday for her and a staff member carried out a special tradition of theirs for her!

 

The slums were our next stop. We were a felt mixture of excitement and anxiety of what lay ahead. We’d seen photos and watched videos of what we would experience there, but nothing could prepare us for the first had sights and smells of the slums. We were greeted with smiling faces and a shower of magnolia flower petals. Despite the extreme poverty and harsh conditions the people were living in, their joy and zest for life was inconceivable. They sang a welcome song for us, introduced themselves to us and we introduced ourselves to them. We gave out some sweets and Diwali cards, made by our first years, as a small gift for Diwali. It was a humbling experience as we watched each their faces light up when they received their gifts.

After leaving the slums we had the privilege to make our way to the home of the British Ambassador. It was a stark contrast to the deprivation we witnessed in the slums, but an enjoyable experience all the same. We enjoyed a cup of tea, some Indian cuisine and the view of their picturesque garden and pool area, while being entertained by the monkey patrol guard. AS we were leaving we noticed a signed picture of William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who had also been there and signed the guestbook, so we made sure we did too!

 

We spent the rest of our evening in the DLF shopping centre, where we enjoyed a ‘cheeky wee Nandos with the lads’ and some shopping, before heading back to our hotel for the night.

 

Love from Alice and Caitlin.

 

#raineyasha blog – day 2

After a long day of travelling we finally arrived in our destination – Delhi. With great excitement and anticipation, we began our journey towards our home for the next two weeks or so, the famous Legend Inn. The journey was a hectic one as we weaved through crazy traffic dodging rickshaws, Tuk Tuks and motorcycles. We soon learned that indicators are apparently useless in Delhi (or rather non-existent), with horns proving to be the main way of communication between many reckless drivers. Our chauffeur was apparently not phased by the cars and people we narrowly avoided, as we got through the traffic physically unharmed.

On arrival at Legend Inn, we were greeted with open arms and beaming smiles, along with the welcoming sight of refreshing, cool drinks. The atmosphere was friendly and hospitable as we cooled down after the 30 degrees heat which had previously sapped us of our strength. We were introduced to the staff and given our room keys, prompting us to check them out immediately and collapse on to our beds in tiredness.

After a short rest we made our first excursion into the heart of Delhi to do some shopping, soaking in some of the local culture at the same time. The journey was once again a chaotic one, but our attention was otherwise diverted towards sad scenes on every side. The huge amount of poverty was evident, with small children running around bare-footed over rough ground and hazardous areas.  The challenging sights which met us affected the whole team deeply, as we reflected on the contrast which was blatantly obvious between the exuberant and privileged Dubai (or even our very own Northern Ireland) and some of the poverty stricken areas of Delhi. On each corner another sobering sight met us, and this continued as we moved on foot into the markets. The insistence of one young girl in her efforts to persuade a team member to give her money in exchange for a small bangle reinforced the neediness of the poor, as she pleaded for our custom. It was hard for the team to turn away, but it gave us some small comfort that the work we are doing each day during our visit will help all these people in the long run.

Our spirits were raised by the exciting purchase of a saree for each female and a kurta for each male, however it could be said that the males were slightly in despair with the time taken by the girls to find their perfect saree of choice!  While the girls made their choices, the males took lessons in haggling from the master, Mr Healy, beating prices down to ‘the best price possible’! Overall, the day ended on a high note as we returned to Legend Inn with lighter pockets but a sense of achievement in our work for the day.

  • Jessica McMillin & Stuart Drennan

#raineyasha blog – day 1

After weeks and months of preparation and anticipation, the day had finally arrived. A few anxious goodbyes were exchanged at the school gates before the journey to India commenced with a bus down to Dublin Airport, leaving behind the safety and familiarity of the Rainey’s red brick walls! With luggage checked in, (a few cases nearly topped the 30KG limit!), and boarding passes in hand, we made our way through Dublin Airport as an army of orange t-shirts, to catch the 3:30pm flight to Dubai. Of course, we couldn’t miss an opportunity for a Burger King, which would be the last taste of beef we would eat for a while! Boarding the Boeing 777 Emirates plane, the feeling finally set in that after a year-long wait we were only hours away from our final destination; Delhi!

The plane to Dubai was certainly not your typical flight as we were treated to a wonderful array of food including, to our surprise, ice cream and chocolate dessert. However, after 7 hours of sitting around, it was refreshing to finally land and get our first taste of Dubai with all its bling and glamour. Another memory will be the feeling of intense heat which hit us like a wave as soon as we took our first steps out onto the tarmac! A short shuttle bus drive took us from the plane to the airport entrance and it wasn’t long before we’d all successfully passed through another airport security check.

Different from previous years, we were given a food pass which allowed us to eat anywhere we wanted in Dubai airport for free; to a certain extent of course. Although we had a 3 hour wait before our next plane to Delhi, it was relaxing to sit in such a peaceful area with its own fish pond and air conditioning, a stark contrast to what we expect India’s airport to be.

The tiredness began to hit us as soon as we boarded our second Emirates plane yet, due to our tight schedule, Mr Healy was determined to plough on forward. Four hours later, we had finally made it to India. Our racing minds could not stop thinking about what lay ahead, however we were all sure we would try our best to make a difference throughout the oncoming days and to walk hand in hand with the children of the Kusumpur Slums.

  • Amy Parke & Andrew Hawe

Just about to board #raineyasha

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Rainey Asha Team 2016 #raineyasha

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A team of twelve students and three members of staff from Rainey Endowed School will travel to India on Tuesday 25 October to visit New Delhi.
While there, the Team will be working in the Rainey Endowed Resource Centre in Kusumpur, one of Delhi’s slums.

 

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Asha art competition

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We are looking for a creative design that incorporates the Asha logo for the members of the 2016 team to paint in large scale at the Rainey Endowed Resource Centre in the Kusumpur Slum, New Delhi.

Your design should aim to be bright, bold, colourful and eye-catching. Small intricate details should be kept to a minimum, as it is difficult to transfer in large scale on a limited time frame when painting in New Delhi.

 

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