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Community Services students experience India’s largest slum

India CS Trip

Five North Metropolitan TAFE students joined a former student mentor and their community services lecturer to embark on a two-week study tour to India last month. Students worked with not- for-profit agencies that support women and children living in the slums of Mumbai and Pune. 

  • North Metropolitan TAFE students have just returned from a community services study tour in India
  • Students worked with organisations that support women and children in the slums of Mumbai and Pune
  • The trip pushed students out of their comfort zone and presented them with new challenges and truly harsh realities .

 India CS Trip 3.jpg“It was such a privilege to spend time with these organisations and communities and run activities with the women and children,” said Principal Lecturer (Communities) Lara Sappal.

Overcoming the language barrier, the group organised activities for the children, including puzzles, arts and crafts, making bracelets with wool, teaching them how to play snap, colouring and playing games. 

“Connecting with these kids simply distracts you from what is actually happening just outside,” said community services student Vena McCann. “They are so sweet and full of happiness and energy, despite the environment where they live and their family circumstances.”

In addition to a few cultural activities and visits to tourist attractions, students had the opportunity to visit Dharavi, in Mumbai, which was the setting for the film Slumdog Millionaire. The group toured the slum to understand how the Dharavi people have created a community in what is considered the largest slum in Asia, with close to a million people living in one square mile.

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The experience has been an eye-opener for many of the students, who agreed on how privileged and lucky they were to be born in Australia. Echoing the feelings of the group, community services student Louise Hall said the trip made her even more grateful for the life she has – and even more determined to help others.

“This trip has been a once in a life time experience that I will never forget. It's been the most challenging adventure and so incredibly rewarding,” said Louise.

“I feel more mature and independent; harder but also more caring. I have some seriously mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I am glad the trip is over because I am really exhausted and it's been an emotionally draining journey. But I would go back in a heartbeat and do it all over again.”
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Page last updated February 21, 2018