HUGGS DIRECTOR VISITS VIZAG
It is always a pleasure to visit the HUGGS India project in Visakhapatnam, meet with staff and students, and review the progress taking place there. Here are some highlights of my visit in February.
Applicants for HUGGS sponsorships are interviewed early in the calendar year, so that they can be selected in time for the new academic year that starts in June. Prior to my visit, the Administrator and the Coordinator collected completed application forms of students from four (feeder) schools, and visited the homes of the applicants. The interviews were held over three days. Bright young faces, full of hope, faithfully accompanied by their devoted parents. Many needy and promising applicants!
The practice of a Canada Board member visiting the homes of new students serves two goals – it affirms to the student and his/her family that HUGGS is genuinely interested in the student’s overall well-being, and it gives the Board member an opportunity to observe the conditions in which students live and interact with the student’s parents.
Often, we climbed up three floors to a couple of modest rooms on the roof – which is what most students’ families can afford to rent. The furniture is basic – a large-ish bed in the front room, a couple of plastic chairs. A two-burner gas stove, and stainless steel pots and pans gleaming on a shelf overhead. The hospitality is generous, the gratitude is sincere. Several fathers and all working mothers took time off work to meet with us in the middle of the day. It is such a privilege, and so humbling, to get a glimpse into our students’ lives.
HUGGS STUDY CENTRE:
One of the highlights of a visit to HUGGS Vizag is the opportunity to meet and interact with the students at the HSC. It is my privilege to observe them work earnestly on their homework and revise subjects for tests and exams. Even better is the time spent interacting actively with the students, chatting about their progress and their dreams, and walking them through English learning activities.
The HUGGS Study Centre is temporarily housed on the third floor of a building on the Gnananiketan school grounds. The space consists of three rooms in a row, with a kitchen and toilet at the far end. Adjoining this space is a large hall for our use.
Madhulata and I visited the construction site and went up to the third floor to look at the layout of the new HSC. We are assured of occupancy in time for the new school year in June.
The 2017 annual student picnic was held at the Kailasagiri VUDA Park. Most of the students (approx. 30) came to the picnic, held from 11 am to 6 pm on Feb 24 (Friday – a holiday for the Telugu New Year). The students played various games, including Tombola (Housie), badminton, Kho kho and Kabaddi. A sumptuous lunch was catered at the picnic site. Many photographs were taken. Students rode the rope car down the hill.
All of us went home happy for having had the time to relax, to interact informally with each other, to engage in fun games, and to be reassured of the togetherness of the HUGGS family
Nargis Abraham, Director
About the Author
HUGGS Canada is a registered Canadian charity, empowering youth through education in South East India. HUGGS focuses on promising young people who have the ability to excel in education, but are without the resources to study beyond Grade 10.
Thanks to our generous donors, we sponsor young people in Visakhapatnam (Vizag), to complete their secondary and post-secondary education. Students are selected based on financial need, academic ability and family encouragement.
Today more than 30 HUGGS graduates are working in their communities in careers including nursing, teaching, engineering, finance and computing.