Xavier Catholic College School Teacher, Veronica Pronger, has
swapped her Drama classroom for an outdoors beach classroom while volunteering
for New Horizons Day Care Centre for street children in Goa, India
The Centre caters for children
aged 3-6 years of age and focuses on preparing students for entry into
In order to attend school children
in India students must first pass an entrance exam.
Many of the children at New Horizons may
eventually go to a school where classes are conducted in Konkani because it is
more affordable to attend these schools rather than attending a private school
where both English and Hindi (the national language of India) are taught.
“Teaching the children English is essential as they live in
Goa, one of the tourist capitals of India.”
For the past four weeks Veronica has been working with 32 children
including one child in a wheelchair and one visually impaired child.
"Some of my daily duties include preparing lessons in
English, Maths, Drama, Dance and Art, teaching children hygiene skills, serving
food and assisting to implement administrative processes for the centre.”
The biggest change in her approach to teaching has been
having to find new ways to source materials and create activities from recycled
and reused materials when access to printers, laminators and stationary stores
is so limited.
“Before I arrived, the children had never seen a worksheet
generated by a computer.”
One of the highlights of my experience so far has been the
opening of a small playground for the children.
One of the local restaurants and several visitors from abroad raised the
money needed to purchase the playground equipment.
“Some of the children had never been on a swing or a
slippery slide before and their sense of joy, particularly for the young girl
in the wheelchair, was infectious.”
Miss Pronger chose India as an ideal volunteer experience
after attending an Ignatian spirituality Staff Pilgrimage to Europe in 2009,
where she traced the footsteps of her school’s patron Saint, St Francis Xavier
and St Ignatius. Upon arriving in India Miss
Pronger has visited the body of St Francis Xavier, which now rests in Bom Jesus
in Goa. The motto of the centre is “A
Childhood Worth Remembering”.
admit the experience of being welcomed by the students and staff of New
Horizons Day Centre into their community with such open and loving arms and
hearts has been truly memorable.”