School in India seeks English volunteers


In the village of Ullannur in Kerala, India, lays a small private school filled with 50-60 children from low to middle income families. The school, formally named the Rural Reconstruction Upper Primary (R.R.U.P.) , was established in 1936 by the late Sri M.K.Varghese, the first to graduate from that same village.

“R.R.U.P. began as a vocational school with students learning trades such as beekeeping, weaving, poultry farming, bookbinding, carpentry and agriculture. Following the Second World War, the school shifted to a more traditional education system and remains that way today,” Co-Founder Daytona Barker said.

English speaking volunteers are needed in Kerala.

“Unlike schools that charge tuition, R.R.U.P. is free for students to attend, but because of this, it is not an English medium school, which is why the need for volunteer English teachers is high,” Barker said. “In today’s global economy, to obtain a job outside of their small village, a good grasp of the English language is a necessity for the students.”

Though the volunteers will be teaching the students, project founder George John hopes that the volunteers will learn something themselves.

“I’m opening a portal in which a volunteer can enter in order to connect with someone else in the world,” John said. “People should get involved if they have that inner urge to make a difference in the world. For someone with good English skills to take this opportunity is a step to learn and grow towards making the world better.”

According to John, when volunteers travel to Kerala, the children welcome them with open arms.

“The kids are overjoyed to meet people. They are super excited because there are very few foreigners that ever travel to the area, and they become overwhelmed with this excitement since they get to meet different people with different cultures,” John said. “They treat visitors like they’re movie stars.”

Eager to aid the project, junior Katie Hornsby plans to visit Kerala in June.

“I’m traveling to a main city, Kochi, for two days. And then from there I’m going to be visiting the school. We’re going to be bringing books and making bookshelves because one of our goals is to build them a library. We’re also going to host some after school sports and arts and crafts for the kids,” Hornsby said. “While the school day is going on, we’re planning to mingle in the village, meet the families and really just spend time with them. I’m so excited beyond description because I know this is going to be eye-opening. I’ve left the country, but I’ve never been able to visit such a poverty stricken area.”

Though Hornsby will be traveling to India, students back home are finding ways to get involved with the cause.

“Part of our lesson at Spark! right now is learning about social entrepreneurship and how we can create change in the business world. One of our mentors, George John, is one of the school’s founders in Kerala and donates so much of his time and resources to these kids, ” senior Emily Young said. “To help out the school and his project, Spark! kids are selling different things like donuts, flowers, pizza fundraisers at Cecil Whittakers and accepting donations. We’re practicing using our skills for not our own monetary gain, but for the students in India.”

Members of Community Outreach at West (COW) are also hosting a flip-flop drive during the month of February.

“Students that attend R.R.U.P. have to walk miles upon miles to get to school, many of them barefoot.  It is the least we can do as a community.  We welcome all student donations,” COW Co-President Mahnoor Malik said.

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