Brandon R | New Delhi, India | Week 7

2015 LSA International Internship Blog

I’ve finished my second to last week in Delhi! I can’t believe I’ve already been here for nearly two months — time really does move differently here.

Some students play during break on my most recent trip to Anupshahr. Some students play during break on my most recent trip to Anupshahr.

I continued my work at the PPES Delhi office throughout the week. I worked on some things including some documentation for administrators at the school, posting to social media, and some spreadsheet work regarding donor lists. One of my favorite things I did through the week was learn the success story of one of the girls at PPES. She grew up in Anupshahr, one of the poorest areas of the world, and she had many family problems that were large obstacles in her own life. At one point her family needed to repay a loan and almost had to marry off one of her sisters to pay the debt, but with the…

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Solidifying Plans | Q10 | P5

Summer Vocation

My experience in India has certainly been an enlightening one. I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and about a culture very different than my own. I would say that it is (mostly) solidified my relatively near future plans. IMG_1468 My near future plans include finishing my degree and graduating in December. Throughout the fall I’ll be searching for a job that I can hopefully begin shortly after I graduate. I planned to search for a job in international development and this internship has confirmed that plan. I’ve really learned about the wonderful things that relatively focused, grassroots level, NGOs can do in a certain area. They (the NGO) not only knows the area, but also often has local leadership. These things are extremely important as it is usually very difficult to affect a change in an area without experience and knowledge of the area. IMG_9911Prior to this summer, I had this desire to…

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Brandon R | New Delhi, India | Week 6

2015 LSA International Internship Blog

I have now been in India for a month and a half. With only two weeks remaining until I leave, I’m feeling sad. Not that I’m not excited to be back in Michigan, see my family and friends, and eat Chipotle; but I’ve really become fond of my life in India.

It was a great week at PPES as we nearly finalized a few projects that we had been working on. We have been taking and collecting photos for a Calendar that can be distributed to supporters of PPES. That was really enjoyable

In the rain with some Emma Horn (Kindergarten) students. In the rain with some Emma Horn (Kindergarten) students.

because it allowed us to travel to the schools in Anupshahr and spend large parts of the day taking photographs, and then then talking to the girls about their every day lives and stories so that we could include quotes on the pages of the calendar. I also worked on a…

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Brandon R | New Delhi, India | Week 5

2015 LSA International Internship Blog

Learning from the girls at PPES. Learning from the girls at PPES.

My fifth week in Delhi consisted of work with PPES and exploring more of Delhi. It was an especially good week at work, as we finished a few different projects and reports that we had been spending a lot of time on. I’m continuing to work on the social media, and now I’ll probably we spending some more time on different fundraising research and objectives. I also hope to be able to visit the schools a few more times before I leave in three weeks! I love going to the schools because, first of all, its fun to talk to the girls there. It’s also a nice way to see the fruits of the labor that is done by all of the office members at PPES. AND, this time I’m absolutely determined to see the Ganga (“Ganges” is a completely incorrect term for the famous…

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Delhi | Q9 | P4

Summer Vocation

Since high school I have wanted to live in big urban city. I’ve spent some time in huge cities around the world and have fallen in love with each of them. Now, after spending time in Delhi, I can say I’ve fallen in love here, too.

Khari Baoli, the largest spice market in the world. Photo: trekhub.in Khari Baoli, the largest spice market in the world. Photo: trekhub.in

As I mentioned in a previous post about culture shock, Delhi (and India, in general) is very overwhelming. That’s really become the thing that is so endearing about the city. It is such a multi-sensory experience (colors to smells to tastes to everything else) that it will be impossible to ever replicate. The sheer amount of monuments, shops, and museums could keep a person busy for a lifetime. Where else in the world can I start the day by taking the metro to the largest spice market in Asia?

And from there I can take a…

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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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