Brandon R | New Delhi, India | Week 4

2015 LSA International Internship Blog

My 4th week in Delhi was filled with PPES and sightseeing of the city. I was able to spend a lot of time with PPES and even visit the school again, and I was able to see a lot of the monuments in Delhi.

I had normal work days at the Khirki Village office of PPES on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, but I was lucky enough to visit the school again on Wednesday and Thursday! We got there Wednesday morning and the first thing we did was go to one of the villages that is supported by PPES. One of the Self Help Groups (SHGs) is one of the first SHG supported by PPES to have opened a microenterprise with their pooled savings. It was an honor to meet these women and seeing how hard they work to provide for themselves and their families is very uplifting.

In class, practicing English by discussing the prospective end of child marriage. In class, practicing English by…

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Culture Shock | Q8 | P3

Summer Vocation

My trip to India is the first time I’ve experienced culture shock on a large scale. My only other international travel was to the U.K. and then shortly to Paris, where I did experience some mild cases, but all-in-all the culture shock wasn’t much of a factor.

IMG_7197 A market road in Delhi.

The best way I’ve been able to explain Delhi to family and friends that have asked about it is overwhelming. I do not mean this negatively, in fact it’s turned into one of my favorite things about India. Everything from the driving to the sheer volume of people to the colors to the food to the spices to the language to the amount of things to see: overwhelming. To be honest, this all came crashing down on me when I first arrived here. I had been trying to keep in mind that I wouldn’t be able to fully prepare…

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Brandon R | New Delhi, India | Week 3

A blog about my 3rd week in India.

2015 LSA International Internship Blog

IMG_8791 A panoramic view from the Mughal Gardens at Parimahal.

A meal in Connaught Place. A meal in Connaught Place.

My third week in Delhi has been great! It’s been particularly nice compared to my first two weeks because I am finally healthy and have a laptop charger that works. I’ve really started to connect with the people who work at my hostel (Suresh, Neha, and Smita) and I definitely consider them my friends. I’m still getting used to the food, partially due to the spices but also because it’s so much different than the food I normally eat in the United States. Another really interesting thing about Delhi is the driving. They have very non-stringent rules, the lanes don’t mean much, and people honk to let you know that they’re there. I’m honestly quite enjoying it, mostly because you typically don’t travel much faster than 60 km/h (~35 mph.)

IMG_8196 Posing with girls from the Kindergarten class during…

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PPES: Tapping the Largest Untapped Reservoir of Talent in the World

I have been working at the Delhi office of Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) for about three weeks now. PPES is a Non-Governmental Organization that focuses on female well-being in Anupshahr, Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India. They work to improve the lives of girls/women in many ways, most prominently through education, health & hygiene awareness, community development, and economic empowerment.

Girls at Assemby

PPES runs four separate schools for girls aged Kindergarten to Grade 12; nearly 1,400 girls attend these schools. They learn everything from Math to English to Human Rights to Computer Literacy. This is very important in an area like Anupshahr where illiteracy is especially prevalent, especially for girls. Unfortunately, girls are not always valued enough by their families to be sent to school. PPES is working to change that paradigm by providing these schools to girls from poor families in Anupshahr. A school like PPES allows these girls to begin to reach their full intellectual potential and their education enables them to provide for themselves personally and professionally. Many girls who attend PPES go on to college or start to work immediately upon graduation — something that would not be possible without the support of their classmates, teachers, and administrators.

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In addition to educational support, PPES provides information to the girls about Health & Hygiene. They have the girls shower and brush their teeth daily at school, while providing daily support for health with their full-time nurse and connections to doctors around the area. This is extremely important, as bad health is a severely limiting factor to learning. Beyond these things, PPES also supports community development by helping to organize Self Help Groups (SHGs) for women in the villages of Anupshahr. In these self-organized SHGs women are able to pool their resources to help everyone in the group. This is very important, because without this support women are often left to find loans at banks with exorbitant interest rates. Within their SHGs they can loan to each other at low interest and add the collected interest to the pooled resources of the entire group. PPES also provides information and training to community members about best practices for their cattle. Beyond these initiatives, PPES strives for economic empowerment of girls through optional vocational training after Grade 10, which allows the girls to enter the labor force immediately upon graduation.

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I’m predominantly working on administrative tasks at the Delhi office, which is about three hours west of Anupshahr. I’ve done things such as helping to write annual/monthly reports, creating documents, researching grant opportunities, writing drafts for grant applications, and posting to social media. I love this work because it allows me to help the Delhi office with their work, which is integral to the success of PPES. I also had the opportunity to visit the schools last week. It was nice to see the facilities, but it was incredible to see the girls that are benefiting from the work of PPES. They were all smiles throughout the entire time I was there and were happy to be at school. It was amazing how similar they are to girls in the U.S. — they laugh, smile, gossip, and play sports in exactly the same way as girls in the U.S. My main job was to take photographs while at the school, but I took a break to play football (soccer) with the girls during their break time. It was honestly some of the most fun I’ve had in a very long time.

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In the next five weeks at PPES I hope to continue to work on many different things in the Delhi office, and I am looking forward to visiting the girls in Anupshahr and playing more football.

Playing Football | Q7 | P2

Summer Vocation

On Wednesday I was finally able to go to the school run by Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (the NGO I’m working for) in Anupshahr. It was amazing to see the girls and the work they are doing, as well as getting out of the Delhi office to see the school firsthand. 

It’s about a 3 hour drive from Delhi, so we arrived in the middle of the school day, at about 11 am. My friend, and coworker, Shruti showed me around the entire campus – I saw the classrooms, the computer lab, the vocational training rooms, the cafeteria, the playground, and met some girls. By the time we had finished our tour it was break time for some of the girls and they were playing football (the real football; not the American kind.) My job was to take pictures to post and use in pamphlets, but I really wanted to play…

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Brandon R | New Delhi, India | Weeks 1 & 2 (Intro)

2015 LSA International Internship Blog

Hello everyone!

I have been in New Delhi for a little over two weeks now and it has been quite the learning experience. Everything here is very different than the United States; I’m still experiencing culture shock on a daily basis.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to post yet- I was very sick all of last week. But luckily I found a very good doctor and some medicine and some rest so I’m finally feeling better. However, now that I’m feeling better, my laptop charger has stopped working. So for today I’m going to keep my post relatively short since I’m typing it on my phone. 🙂

Like I mentioned above, there are a lot of things that I am still getting accustomed to here: the food, the toilets, the air, the language barrier, taking a shower, the driving, and many other things. I’m slowly becoming more comfortable…

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Jama Masjid | Q5 | P1

Summer Vocation

Standing at one of the entrances with my friend in the background. Standing at one of the entrances.

I have only been in India for five days, but my favorite moment so far was going into the Jama Masjid mosque in Old Delhi. I went up to Old Delhi with some friends I met who are working in the Delhi area and are staying at the same location as I am. We went with the intention of going to the Red Fort, but it was extremely busy so we voted to just walk around the area. We walked around, took an “auto,” went to a spice market (took a bite of a ghost pepper), and then one of my new friends, who happened to be Muslim, wanted to go see the mosque.

This was the first time I had ever entered a mosque, and it was huge and amazing and serene. It’s certainly a peaceful and beautiful place to practice a religion…

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