Renee's 'We Act' in India report
17 September 2015
Last year Miss Smith launched the Cuthies 'We Act' Group in school. We Act is an educational programme that empowers young people to become active local, national and global citizens. Miss Smith presented assemblies about We Act and Unity House Student Renee Pattenden of 11RP was inspired to join.
Renee and the group attended the National We Act day in London in March, where attendees were invited to apply to be part of a 'Free the Children' working trip to India. Renee was chosen, a remarkable achievement as she was one of only 28 young people chosen to go out of the thousands of applicants.
Here is what Renee had to say about her experience over the summer.
"I decided to enter (the competition) because I wanted not just to help by giving money, I wanted to physically help, and to see the lives of the people we were giving money to. When I found out that I had been chosen I was so excited! I hadn't travelled since I was little and it was like an adventure! I would be going without my family and I knew it would be life-changing.
When we got to India it was night, but the city was still buzzing and from our hotel I could see cows lying at the side of the road! There were also families with children on the roadside as they had nowhere else to sleep. I was shocked, but this was only the start of what I was to witness.
Over the summer I got to see the beauty of India, the palaces and the temples, but I also got to see the other side. It was unbelievable to me that a family would drink water from a well with a dead rat floating in it, but the reality was they had no other water to drink.
We helped to build the foundation for the kitchen in a new Primary school. We also went to help rebuild a Secondary School by mending the walls and evening out the floor. Whilst we were there, we got to see the super goats which 'Free the Children' had paid for. These are great because they produce more milk than ordinary goats.
I learned a lot in my time in India, like anything can happen over the course of your life, and no matter what, we should be happy like the children that I met who had so little but were overjoyed at the smallest good thing. I learned to be happy for what I have and not to take things for granted like my education, the roof over my head, and the food that I put in my mouth. These things are a luxury to people in the third world.
Overall I have changed as a person and will be more committed to charity work having seen the need that there is and the good that it does first-hand. I am so much more grateful for what I have.