HUGGS VISIT NOVEMBER, 2019
As I reflect on my incredible trip to India, I am still blown away by the amazing people I met and the incredible work HUGGS is doing in Vizag.
My trip was a whirlwind of activity. I spent the evenings at the HUGGS Study Centre where the students gather six days a week to study together from English to Chemistry to typing and more. A few of the HUGGS graduates work as tutors, and are fine role models for the students. As a nurse, I did some health teaching with the students and was so happy to see how engaged and knowledgeable they were.
My time included visits to the homes of many students, including the 10 new students who joined us last year. Most of the families had little and lived in one room houses. It was so special to meet the students’ families and to see how grateful they are for the chance their children have been given to get an education. They all wanted to pass along their sincerest gratitude to all of the donors in Canada!
I also visited a few of the colleges the students attend. I was again impressed at the standard of learning and it was so nice to see the students interacting and learning in their school environments.
The students are such a joy to interact with. They are curious, especially about life in Canada. They are eager for knowledge and have such a desire to learn more. When I asked what they did in their free time, so many of them choose to spend their time studying even more! It is beautiful to see the friendships that have emerged between students. They support each other and learn together. I loved seeing the more senior students helping the younger ones with their studies at the HSC.
This trip enabled me to see the broad picture of our students’ needs and how HUGGS is doing incredible work in meeting them by providing school fees and uniforms, food supplements and bus passes and regular doctor checkups. The support of HUGGS is crucial for the students to complete their studies.
One very special moment was a group picnic that we held, where we took all the students to the zoo and then to the beach. It was so nice to see them have a chance to relax and take a break from studying. They were full of joy, frolicking in the waves, playing games on the beach and showing off their Bollywood dance moves to me!
Throughout this visit, I was inspired by what smart, eager and determined young men and women these students are. They come from difficult backgrounds but are full of joy and desire to create a better life for themselves, their families and their community. They work so hard and are so thankful for the chance that HUGGS has given them.
I am grateful for having had the opportunity to see these young lives being changed through education and the empowerment offered to them through the HUGGS Study Centre.
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.
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