Testimonials

 

“It was one of lifetime opportunities to move around and mingle with so many innocent kids. To me personally it was heartfelt experience and really looking forward for many more such opportunities. The sparkling innocence on the faces of kids really takes you on-board to a newer heaven. My sincere thanks to the school management who are putting in painless efforts in up-bringing these kids and giving them exposure to this part of the world. My sincere thanks to even the kids who chose to be with us in the function.”

 

–      Volunteer who volunteered for Christmas Door Step School from Ambuja Cement Foundation

 

“I really enjoyed my time volunteering at Door Step School. I wouldn’t trade this experience in for anything else. This was probably one of the best experiences I have ever gained. Being able to work with under privileged children for four months is one of the luckiest things I have ever been able to do. I was lucky that I got to take off for 5 months and come to India to do such a memorable volunteer work. Over all, working with the Door Step School team was a privilege and a great experience. They were all very welcoming and opened their arms to me.” 

–      Ami Vaghani, Austin, Texas.  U.S.A.

“My experience with Doorstep can only be described as fulfilling and heartwarming, and ever so slightly heart breaking.  To see the work done by the teaching staff was just amazing, the level of enthusiasm and storytelling capabilities was just great to see.  Although seeing children sleeping on the streets with no access to any facilities was sometimes hard to see. 

I had the added benefit of being able to speak Hindi which obviously made it easier for me to make the most of my experience, and also to get around Mumbai – but being able to speak with the children freely was the real benefit, as I got to know them well and form a bond.  Regardless of their situation, the children didn’t hold back in showing their affection. I loved being called Didi, something I’ve never been called before!

The staff at Doorstep was very helpful and made me feel comfortable immediately.  From what I saw in the short time I was there, DSS is very well run and in my opinion do great work to get education to children all over the city, who probably may not get that opportunity in their lifetime due to their circumstances.

As I said before…heartwarming.”                                            

  –  Firoza Patel, London

“In this one year I spent here in Mumbai, I got the chance to visit and take part in several programs, offered in different areas of the city, provided by the Door Step School.Working as a volunteer, similar of a trainee allowed me to get to know many different people of various age and from different levels of the population but also made me test my own capacities or limits.”

 Sarah Zielenda, Germany

“In Balwadi I enjoyed my work very much even if the teaching of English was limited to the numbers, colours or the alphabet. I found very amazing how quickly the children were excepting me as a member of staff and how fast they have been affectionate and kind towards me.”

– Erik Becker, Germany

 

“I started on ‘the mobile library’ a fairly new project for street kids. At first half a dozen fairly young children came, and I enjoyed various creative activities with them. As word got around, we were joined by around 12 older children and I was able to teach them basic maths and English.”

Kamila Makda, UK

 

“One thing I have seen is that there is a lot of positivity and strength in many children from the slum communities. And it is a great thing that Door Step School contributes to this happiness, by providing these children a place to be and learn”

– Janneke Nefs, Netherlands

 

Even though I had to face many problems in my working period in Door Step School I wouldn’t want to have missed this experience. Teaching English in classes with the beneficiaries of Door Step School as a foreign volunteer is quite challenging because you cannot revert to the same mother language. Furthermore, the groups have different levels and the information you get is not sufficient to prepare “perfect classes”. But nevertheless it’s a big pleasure to laugh and sing with the children and to realize, that more and more exercises work. It’s interesting to reconsider your concepts of poverty and being “underprivileged”, because after some time it is possible to see the children with their specific personality and to overcome the disadvantageous circumstances.

Structural and communicational difficulties within the organization can be very frustrating for a foreigner who is occupied with settling down in the local culture which is very different to the Western way of living and working. But hence I hope I was able to make my contribution to this important work of spreading literacy amongst children from slum communities. The office work with Janneke not only helped me to try out my marketing and writing skills, it also helped me to settle in Mumbai by giving me the feeling of being understood und listened to.

Yet, patience and flexibility are not the only things I could learn and practice during my stay. I am very glad that I had the possibility to work in this NGO because it made me think about my own cultural background. By trying to adjust to a local organization in India, I learned how challenging, but at the same time useful, the intercultural dialogue is.”

– Linn Taubert, Germany

 

“I have been with Door Step School for two months (Aug-Oct 2010), and it has been a wonderful experience. In the mornings I have assisted in the 2nd and 3rd standard study classes at the Colaba municipal school, as well as in a study group for girls called Nanhi Kali. I am not a trained teacher and I do not speak Hindi or Marathi, therefore my interaction with the children has been limited. Still, it has given me a lot, but first of all I hope that my stay in some way has contributed to the children’s learning process. I am not a children person, but when the children want your attention and they call you “didi” (sister), it is hard not to let your heart melt a little bit. In the afternoons I have been doing various kinds of office work at the Door Step School office.

I found the first weeks in Mumbai and Door Step difficult. Besides the big cultural differences compared to my life in Stockholm, Sweden, I was not comfortable in my role as the “rich Westerner” coming to visit the slums. Even though I don’t know why, things started feeling better after a while. Still, however, the large income gap between people in Mumbai strikes you; just around the corner of the finest hotels, there are people living on the street.

I wish Door Step all the best and I hope to be in contact with you in the future!”

-Jeanette Reinbrand, Stockholm, Sweden

 

“I knew very little about Door Step School before arriving at their offices in Mumbai as a volunteer. I had been travelling around India through December and January and had made the initial contact with Bina back in August. Consequently, everything felt rather far away and I was little apprehensive that all may not be as it seemed, or far more likely, that I would not be able to contribute anything worthwhile to the project in such a short space of time.

It should go without saying that I had nothing to fear on the former account. I was immediately welcomed by Bina and Arnavaz who gave me a complete picture of the charity as a whole. I found it really impressive that an organisation that had begun with the idea of mobile education twenty years ago with ten employees was now one of the city’s most formidable NGO’s with a workforce of 150 strong. This is down to its adaptability. With a city that’s changing as fast as Mumbai, new education related problems present themselves all the time, and Bina and Arnavaz strive continuously to tackle these from every angle with the sensitive touch that’s needed to deal with the parties on either side of any issue.

As for my own misgivings about what I had to offer, I found that with a little application I could find a niche for myself. Since Doorstep has no formal volunteer programme, it’s very much up to you to bring what you have to offer to the table, and then work with them in seeing how to tailor that to one of their programmes in the most productive way. With my background in drama, it wasn’t long before I was down in CLC dramatising storybooks with groups of kids. Despite the language barrier between me and the children and indeed some of the teachers, we soon established a framework of understanding through a few actions and some basic words in Hindi. In addition I spent one day a week teaching an art lesson on one of the classroom buses that give the charity its name and gave a one-off master class for the teachers themselves, in the hope of leaving a small legacy of dramatic story telling techniques behind me.

It’s difficult to measure exactly what difference my contributions made over the month, but it certainly felt personally rewarding, and if I managed to leave an impression, however small, then I’m happy. I would strongly recommend anyone to get involved with Doorstep Schools in any way they can, either in person or by making a donation. If you’re fortunate enough to spend some time with the utterly dedicated team here, you’ll see very quickly the importance of the work and the impact being made.”

– Piers Harrisson, UK

 

At first when I realized that I was going to be teaching children of the 1st and 2nd std and that i had to communicate mostly in Hindi I had to communicate mostly in Hindi, I though was never going to be able to do it.But as time has passed I was able able to understand them and they to started responding me.Over the period of 6-7 months that I have been working at Door Step School I realized that it is an open  tuition for underprivileged. At Door Step School children not only study but also take part in other activities such as art and craft ,games and many others.I have many experience which i am going to take back from here and will always look back fondly at the chance to work at the organisation

                                                                                                                   – Dhruv Sawhney 

 

During my time as a volunteer at Door Step School, I have been lucky enough to become a part of a community that fosters the gift of education to young children. Not only does the school deliver the opportunity for learning to otherwise underprivileged children, but also it does this in a creative and non-formal manner that effectively sparks their interest and drives them to study hard. The students learn English through the use of DVD’s, posters, books, and arts and crafts. I was impressed to see the availability of so many different mediums of teaching in such a confined area. After observing the teachers’ inventive styles of teaching through games and charts, I began to plan similar activities for the children, to teach them either English or to help them with their Hindi lessons. The children areclever and large-hearted, and would make my job easier by helping their peers as well. I felt particularly rewarded when they came up to me the next day with their completed homework and big smiles. Children in the Balwadi classes, as young as three and four years old, were already learning basic English sentences and commands through the E-learning program, and the older ones in the Study classes could read and write in fluent Hindi. Helping them to do this has been greatly fulfilling, and I know that the school’s initiative will be rewarded by the emergence of keen and intelligent young minds that now have the chance to a bright future.

                                                                                                                          – Jaisal Kapoor