Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Power for Change is in Our Hands

A day in the life of a volunteer teacher in India...

A day in the life of a teacher? Well, here in India there really is no typical day. The place is always ‘buzzing’ with the relentless beeping of horns and the chitter-chatter of the locals (millions of them!) The noise never ceases. The sweating never stops and the big stupid smile that the children put on my face never seems to dwindle even after a tough day. Just thinking about them makes me beam from ear to ear.

Teaching 50 kids is no mean feat! I leave the house at 6:15 raring to go! I make the most of potential power naps on the 1 hour journey, not because I’m tired but because I know that there is no way at the age of 21 I can  sustain enough energy to ‘peel banana’ hundreds of times without them. The chat on the journey is little and often and the butterflies still decide to drop by every morning and accompany me on my way (regardless of what I’ve had for breakfast or for dinner the night before!) There inside me is the motivation to be a good teacher, the motivation to help the children to learn, regardless of what’s happening around us, the fast traffic, the cows on the roads, the monsoon rain or the literally sweltering heat. These all change but the smiles that meet you at the classroom door never do. They are flawless, unchangeable.

The children truly are amazing and to me, an inspiration. I really can’t put into words how much joy working with them brings. These children have so little but give so much. I have never received as many hugs or handshakes as I have in the last 5 weeks. They have taught me so much about myself, my values and the world that surrounds me. They have opened my eyes to what real poverty is. On the surface these children are educated at the same level as the ones at home. They have uniforms and they attend school. They have schoolbags and copy books. When you delve deeper into their lives you begin to see that the school they attend has no electricity, no fans, no books, no resources.

At this point, 5 weeks in, we as volunteers have almost become complacent with it. It has become ‘normal’. We have left our ’first world views’ behind. Is this right? Should we become used to it or take action to change it? I think that’s something that challenges a teaching volunteer: seeing the struggles that students face every day. These include the struggle to eat and drink fresh food and water, the struggle to stay awake in class because they have to work too, and most of all the struggle to compete in a world where, for so many, a high level of education is standard and readily available.

A day in the life of a teacher is one filled with mixed emotions. Happiness, a day filled with smiling, your own and the children’s. Dismay, worry that there is so far to go. Joy, knowing that even for 10 weeks you have the opportunity to have a positive influence on their experience of education. Joy in knowing that you have the potential to help them but also in knowing that spending time with them brings you so much joy.

Most of all, out of these emotions, there is hope. In these children there is so much hope. Hope for a brighter future where children are more empowered. Hope for a world where the resourcefulness of these students can be used to full capacity and hope that we as volunteers can bring home with us that joy and positivity that these children express so well.

The power for change is in our hands and as educators we are in an ideal position to bring about that change.

Post written by my wonderful girlfriend, who is currently volunteering in India. I love you so much! <3 xxx

Monday, 4 June 2012

Support petition to release persecuted Alex Aan - get to 10,000 votes!

I believe that we ought to support and work for the rights and good of all people, regardless of belief, both Christian and non-Christian, since all without exception are loved by God, and His love is unconditional, I wanted to make this post calling out for support an individual named Alex Aan in Indonesia who, due to his atheist beliefs (which he posted on Facebook and testified to when questioned), has been beaten and imprisoned, and could face 6 years in prison unless pressure is put upon the government to release him.

I wished to support this case in particular, for example, to demonstrate that God's heart is against such injustice, and hence we as Christians ought to be similarly against it, along with all such discrimination, whether it be against Christians such as Asia Bibi (see earlier article), Muslims or atheists, including those whom society deems as criminals. No person ought to be excluded.

More information about this case is presented, for example, on, a Christian organisation:

Please spread the word about supporting the case, remembering to emphasize God's unconditional love for Alex and those, Christian and non-Christian, who are supporting his case.

The petition is here -

Thanks to everyone! Best wishes to you all! :-)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Challenge? - Gungor's "God is not a white man"

Here's a very joyful, and perhaps even challenging, video by the Christian group "Gungor" - the message is for all people, everywhere - He calls us to Him, to love one another, to be willing agents of building His Kingdom of love and compassion. His love is severe - it is not 'fluffy', giving us whatever we want, but giving us what God, as the perfect Creator, knows is best.

 "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Jesus transforms lives - Guvna Christian rap music

For anyone who's into Christian rap, here's a quite intense piece by Christian rap group Gunva where each individual explains how they 'Had the T-shirt' of gang culture and yet were transformed through the transforming power of God. Jesus has the power to transform lives and society - nothing can get in the way...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Dare to Believe

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)

As Christians we are called to encourage one another. Here is one really positive-sounding upcoming online project (by a 21-year old girl from South East England) that seeks to encourage people, from whatever religious or ethnic or social background, that I just really wanted to share... It is named 'Dare to believe in life' and seeks to encourage people to believe that, regardless of what may be going on around them, things will ultimately be better. Please take a look ... and 'like' the Facebook page... :-)

 "...weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
(Psalm 30:5b)

The blog:

Facebook page:

Twitter account:!/DareToBelieve3

Thanks for everyone - all blessings to you all! :-)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Project Cascade - Saving families in Nepal walking miles just for unsafe water

After I heard about this issue, these people seemed in such plight, it seemed right to post this...

Despite the amazing beauty of the Nepalese countryside, villagers there live far from sources of water, and are forced to spend hours of every day walking to collect water, along dangerously high, steep and treacherous routes, sometimes just a few inches across with very steep and high drops either side, which are easy to slip on during rain and are at risk of lethal landslides. Sometimes, villagers slip and are injured, without medical services to provide assistance:

68 year-old Dambar, who was forced to spend 5 hours of her retirement a day collecting water until the age of 63, when she broke both of her hands after a fall, which have not healed well since then. Her daughter-in-law, Puma, is condemned to the job now ... unless she suffers injury, which could be serious, as well. Some mothers, such as Ukhamaya Sarki, have to carry their children along with them, putting them under extra strain and putting another life at risk.

What's more, after all this, the water is unsafe and, in the Western world, would certainly not be considered fit for drinking. Painful and debilitating illness is common, removing even more of familes' incomes in addition to the time taken for the trek for water. Children are deprived of an education, and the whole community is trapped in desperate poverty.

WaterAid has decided to work with such communities in "Project Cascade" (other organisations are yet to do this, making their work even more urgent and valuable), forming gravity flow mechanisms of pipes and tanks to collect and store safe, cleaner water, and make it available by nearby tap. This dramatically reduces illness (one person is reported as saying, "In fact there is no record of sickness in the whole village since the construction of the taps"), and saves countless families countless hours of time...

Lives of young and old are being unnecessarily ruined, when a solution is so easy and effective. Please spread the word about Project Cascade; donations can be made to Water Aid at

Thank you for reading, and for all your help!

(Information, names and stories are from WaterAid material)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Please help save Asia Bibi from the death sentence...

Sign the petition -

I wanted to post this again, because it is so important...

This is a very worthwhile cause and petition, inspired by Christiana Szymanski's "Christian Witness Under Fire" blog at (her associated Christian apologetics blog, "In Defense of the Christian Faith" is at

The Pakistani woman Asia Bibi was arrested on June 19, 2009, on charges of blasphemy after a discussion at work where she had replied to defend her Christian position to the women who were talking to her. After trial, she was sentenced to death by a judge on November 8, 2010, fined $1,190 (US) and given 7 days to appeal. The appeal was promptly made, and the results from the Lahore High Court are not yet decided; Asia remains in prison whilst her fate is determined. Urgent action is needed to save Asia from the death sentence and from continued imprisonment, as well as protection if she is freed; she would probably then seek asylum in another country.

Please sign the petition above! Also, please spread the word to others! There are other ways to help, including contacting Pakistani officials and Asia Bibi herself (information is at 

Please, if you do send anything, be very careful to not be antagonistic or in any way disrespectful, or to discuss politics or Islam or the blasphemy law itself etc., in order to not make things worse; please focus on the point, which is the freedom of Asia Bibi. Also, I would just like to emphasise that some Muslims are also opposed to the blasphemy laws, and they are spoken out against in this article (as an example):

Thanks to everyone!