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India Study Tour - Priceless

I am one of the privileged eight community services students chosen to take part in the India study tour.

Firstly I'd like you to know that after not having been involved in any personal education for close to 30 years had decided to call it quits once completing my Certificate III in Community Services until the possibility of doing my work placement for Certificate IV in Community Services in India was put forward. I am now considering what to start studying next (probably Certificate IV in Mental Health).

My experience in India has exceeded my expectations, the personal growth and professional learning I have gained has been priceless. From the get go having to apply and interview, which were new experiences for me, to the organising with the rest of the team what we'd be doing there and what we'd need to take with us to carry that out. Learning to be prepared was vital. 

Having never travelled overseas before I had some anxiety about this. Fortunately having Lara on the team these fears were allayed. From the first briefing when I met the rest of the team to yesterdays final debrief I felt safe and prepared even in the midst of Indias financial crisis all my needs were met under some very trying conditions. I believe I have gained many positive skills traveling with the team under the guidance and professionalism Lara constantly displayed.

Engaging with Purnata- NGO committed to helping the most vulnerable people, women and children, subject to trafficking and being sold into sex slavery- was challenging in the fact that there was such a need for an organisation but inspiring there is one. They were generous with time and willing to educate us about what they do and why. Their children's centre being located in the middle of the red light district were these delightful children live was an oasis. 

The second week we connected with Vanishtay/Happy Hearts school it too was a wonderful experience. We were given a moving testimony from Anu, the founder, of her life and what she has achieved coming from such hardship was overwhelmingly inspirational. Her tenacity and motivation proved anything can be accomplished. This was most evident in the smiles on the children's faces as well as the respect they gave to us all.

My greatest highlights were being invited to both organisations annual outings. Being involved and interacting with the kids on what was evidently a joyous day was a privilege I will never forget and remain truly grateful and endlessly humbled by.

I hope this gives you some idea of the impact the India study tour has had on me. I will endeavour now to implement some of what I've learned as I continue down a career in community services and strive for improvement, I believe that is what has been most evident to me, there is always room for improvement. Without people like Aaboo (Purnata) and Anu (Vanishtay) and their willingness to make improvements these beautiful little lives could and most likely would be so easily lost.

Megan Holm

Page last updated December 14, 2016