Friends of Roshni UK

Friends of ROSHNI UK

Working together to support disabled children in India

Registered Charity Number 1117759


Our Volunteers' Blog

Our latest volunteers left the UK for India on 20th September 2011. Charlotte Carter, Zoe Crook and Tanya Anand are all Speech and Language Therapists, and will be spending 3-4 months at Roshni. They will be keeping us updated through their blog – read on to find out how they are doing!

17th November 2011 - Charlotte Carter


'We got back from Orissa yesterday for the 10th National Children's Festival, it took 35 hours each way on the train but was well worth it. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.  The days were long, we were up at 4.45am every day ready to catch the bus to the camp and usually managed to get to sleep around 11pm.  The day began with a chai..or two! (something me and Zoe have become very addicted to while we have been here, a day wouldn't feel complete without one!)..luckily Mrs Malotra has taught us how to make it so we will be able to continue the daily tradition when we are back in England.  


We soon became used to the breakfasts - upma or rice with dahl, followed by rice and various curries for lunch...and rice and various curries for tea! But all very tasty.  We also had to get stuck in and eat with our hands like everyone else...something we still haven't quite mastered! 


The days were jam packed with different activities.  There were daily workshops including pottery, paper making, magic, dance and art and craft which the children really enjoyed.  There was an amazing carnival on the first day where we all got dressed with colourful accessories and paraded through the streets for 2 hours.


There was a festival tent which celebrated a different festival everyday (including Christmas on the last day!) So we had the opportunity to learn about and take part in different cultural traditions such as having our feet painted with red dye and sampled some of the traditional foods.  


It was lovely to see the Roshni children get dressed up and perform a dance.  We also entered a competition where one of the teachers (Gayatri) had to paint as many hands with henna as she could in 15 minutes.  Although she only managed 4 hands compared to another team that had painted 6, as the designs were so good, Roshni won! So we were spoon fed a bowl of special sweet rice in the festival tent as a reward! 


Me and Zoe managed to ride a camel while we were there too, something we have been wanting to do for a long time! Ashok joined us, it was a lot of fun.


 We also spent one day in Puri.  We visited a number of temples and went to the beach, it was lovely to see how excited the children were, especially when we went in the sea with our clothes on!



 17th October 2011 - Zoe Crook

Namaste! We thought you may be wondering about our experiences and our time in India so here is an update :-)........

We are starting to feel a little colder at night now.....yeh!! We do not need to bother with the big cooler at night only the ceiling fan.  We have been waking up cold and needing a sheet but then there is usually a power cut so the fan goes off and we start to feel hot again.  There seem to be regular power cuts in the morning now and we even had a couple during the evening.....which makes cooking in the dark more difficult!  We are still enjoying our time in Gwalior and at Roshni despite the busy schedule and caseload.  There is never a spare a minute, it all adds to the cultural, personal and work experience.   

We have a few 'friends' that have joined us in our room.......apart from the bugs and ants, there is Clive the Chipmunk who makes an appearance to nibble our rubbish, and also Les the lizard :-) Martha the mouse makes regular appearances at the school too!

The Malhotra's are lovely.  They are protective but it is expected.  They say we are like the're children :-) We went to the temple to watch the ladies pray as it was their fast.  I can not remember the name but it is the fast the married women do once a year.  It is nothing you would ever experience in England and it was a special moment to see how excited Mr M was when the moon came up.  He was worried Mrs M would miss the moon so he sent us down twice for her!.  It was such an honour to experience it with them.  Mrs M gave us some of the sweetened water after she gave it to Mr M and Manu (her grandson).

There is a Com DEALL programme that Aparna is excited for us to be a part of.  Roshni are hoping to open an autistic unit for younger children up to 6 years.  They need at least 4 children before they can start it so we are in the process of drafting a letter to Doctors, trying to raise awareness about the importance of early intervention.  

It is a challenge to cook on one gas canister but this just adds to the fun of this whole experience!!  I think we have got used to the bucket wash now, although the first jug of cold water in a morning is always a shock! It is like another world here and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity, it is an experience definitely worth living :-) 

We get fed well at the Ashram, there has not been anything we have not liked or eaten.  We particularly enjoy the prased rice pudding dessert.  We got invited to Manjula's last night for dinner.....that was certainly a feast!



12th October 2011 - Charlotte Carter

 I'm quite excited because they want us to be involved in trying to create an autistic unit, so we are going to be involved in raising awareness of autism with parents/local doctors etc cause to set up this particular programme ROSHNI need at least 6 pupils that fit specific criteria - currently only 1 fits (one of the criteria is that they need to be under 6yrs old) so by raising awareness they hope to find at least 6, then in Jan the unit and programme (which is really structured and specific) can start to be run properly. Apparently 80% of children that follow the programme are then able to go to mainstream school between 1-3 years after intensive work which is really high i think. Good experience for me as that's the area I find most interesting!!


19th September 2011 - Charlotte Carter

Tanya, Charlotte and Zoe at Manchester airport, about to set off for Delhi
Tanya, Charlotte and Zoe at Manchester airport, about to set off for Delhi

This time tomorrow we will be in the air on our way to INDIA!!!! It's not quite sunk in for any of us yet.  We are all panicking about everything from what clothes we can squeeze in (if any!!) around all the resources and donations we have been given to take for ROSHNI, whether we have had all the vaccinations we should have had, how we will cope with the jetlag, heat, missing family and friends, and of course the new surroundings!! But we are also all very excited to begin our big adventure and looking forward to meeting all the staff and children at ROSHNI.....