We visited our third SWC in Quartiere Militaire today and, like the last two meetings, it went very well. After the government representatives made introductions, Kyle briefly explained the program in English, after which Vedant talked about our organization and fielded a number of questions in Creole. We finished the meeting by collecting ideas from the social workers about what kinds of programs they would like to see.
We then moved on to the capital, Port Louis, and the Gayasingh Ashram, which we visited several weeks ago. It was great to see that, with just a simple introduction from the Ministry of Social Security, the director of the ashram warmed up to us and our program, and introduced us to some of the girls who live at the center.
We introduced our program to the girls, who were enthusiastic about working with Fellows. The girls we talked to were mostly teenagers, and had diverse academic and extracurricular interests. Common themes include an interest in English, arts and sports.
Like the Muslim Orphanage, Gayasingh Ashram houses both orphans and abandoned children, and the elderly, and does not have many special programs for children like SOS does. The children come back from school every afternoon, and either sit around and watch TV, talk to their friends, or go to “private tuition”–informal, but widely taken, classes run by schoolteachers after hours. Luckily for us, most of the girls speak pretty good English: the oldest is reading Shakespeare in school, and has expressed a particular fondness for Wordsworth’s Prelude!
Gayasingh is in many ways similar to the Muslim Orphanage, but our overall impression is that the administration is a little bit more supportive of the residents pursuing extracurricular and supplemental programs than at MMO. We look forward to returning to Gayasingh on Sunday to run some activities with them.