Ten Upper Canada College Grade 10 and 11 students, accompanied by geography teacher Jo Hogan and math teacher Fatima Remtulla, travelled to the small village of Bagad in Rajasthan, India on a service trip with Free The Children’s Me to We over the March break.
The group arrived in the picturesque lakefront city of Udaipur on March 11 before transferring to Bagad, where they took part in daily discussions and learned about the five pillars of Free The Children’s “Adopt a Village” holistic and sustainable community development model, which emphasizes: education; health; clean water and sanitation; alternative income and livelihood; and agriculture and food security.
The boys’ primary project was to dig the foundation of a new classroom to expand the local school. They spent hours almost every day pick-axing through the rocky landscape and clearing dirt and rock and, when they weren’t digging, they were working on laying the cement floor of another classroom.
The trip wasn’t all about work though. The boys had the opportunity to play with children, visit a family to learn how they gather their water, take yoga lessons, practise some Bollywood dance moves, try their hands at block printing, get henna tattoos, go on nature walks, make samosas, visit Kumbhalgarh Fort, celebrate the colourful holiday of Holi, learn to play cricket, and shop in the market and tour the City Palace in Udaipur before returning home on March 22.
“It was a physically and emotionally challenging experience for all, but overall the boys had a great time, made a lot of memories and have been further inspired to continue their involvement in social justice issues,” says Hogan.
Here are some other photographs from the trip.