By Bankim Mehta and Sonal Mehta, Volunteer, Vadodara Chapter

“It is said that unless you experiment something you cannot experience and express. To begin with, we are happy to share our experience of regional volunteer exchange trip to Varanasi. We extend our thanks to AFS India & AFS Baroda from bottom of hearts for giving us this opportunity to visit the spiritual capital of India and one of the ancient cities in the world. Sunbeam school, Laharata welcomed all the volunteers during their school assembly. The staff took us for a round of school where they showcased many of their unique systems of education which impressed all of us. They have taken up several initiatives that are very inspiring and contribute to the community. One very peculiar and interesting thing of deep interest was that in this school the people who were the daily chores workers or the people who were doing the cleaning works were given education in the premises. Subjects such as Mathematics, English and Hindi are taught to them. The most interesting thing here is that the school students teach them. They also have to give examination on a regular basis. This is a very good way to spread knowledge and I really appreciated this concept. They have the Sunbeam Gramin School which is run under CSR activity and around 800 poor children come to school from nearby towns. School provides them free education along with uniforms, school books, lunch and stationery.

Visits to Kashi vishwanath temple, the Iconic Banaras Hindu University, Ganga river aarti, Carpet factory, saree shopping gave us a deep insight into the ancient city. We visited famous pottery works in chunar village. This pottery contains delicate designs made with silver paint. A more elaborate variety is by producing a glossy finish using a special powdery preparation called ‘Kabiz.’ This powder is made using the soil taken from rice fields. Needless to mention that the whole trip was amazing and with absolute planning as well as execution by Aditya Sir, Saurabh sir, Rashi ma’am, Abhinav sir, Pawan sir and entire Sunbeam family was just superb.”