One of the main long term goals of the project in Kerala is to ensure that kids do not drop out of school as this is a huge problem in the state of Kerala. Through your support and donations, we have been able to sponsor 50 students by paying for their school fees! You can see some the photos of the children your funds helped sponsor. Through donations, we are able to keep the project going but more importantly help poor children and the community we are working with financially. As many of the parents are daily wage earners (i.e. fishermen, coolies, or autorikshaw drivers), the families often have to borrow money from loan sharks to pay for school fees and end up in a cycle where they are in debt always. Some of the parents also have terminal injuries or illnesses that do not allow them to work and hence there might be no income coming in.The donations thus reduce the burden from both the families who having a hard time paying fees and also the kids who are expected to get top grades all the time by their families.
Part of volunteering and being a community partner is recognizing realities we would like to help change, but it takes heart, dedication and perseverance to see that change through. Operation ARTify is an ongoing initiative among our sites to increase visual and creative influences in our schools though a variety of mediums and outlets. The long-term goal of Operation ARTify is to model the ease with which art and creativity can be incorporated into lessons, and to highlight the benefits to students in both their classroom performance, and development of independent and creative thoughts. The three month goal of the project was to teach an art lesson in class (check) and to paint one mural at SDPY (triple check!)
The murals we have painted this month are far more than just beautiful decorations, and lasting tools for learning and imagination. More importantly, they represent the hours of dedication and hard work volunteers have given to create the sense of community we have with our school partners. At each site, it is clear the murals are not as much about décor, as they are about GVI thanking the community and kids for welcoming us into their lives, and allowing us a part in the education and growth of these amazing kids.
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