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A woman sitting in a chair at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Wind) in Jaipur, India. Photo by Eliana Rothwell (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist).

The Start of Our Service Sites: Little Stars School

For the next six months, I am going to be working at Little Stars School. Founded over twenty years ago with only seven students, the low-fee school now has 900 students in classes from pre-kindergarten to Class 12. The school is operated alongside Shanti Niketan, a hostel for 30 girls who have left dangerous household situations, whose parents have passed away, or who are otherwise needing of a safe place to live. My primary roles will be fundraising and publicity for both the school and the hostel, so I’ll be writing grants, formatting newsletters, communicating with donors, and responding to emails on the school account.

One aspect so far that I have particularly enjoyed has been putting together updates about some of the hostel girls for their sponsors. The hostel does not cost anything for the girls, of course, but several girls have sponsors whose donation goes directly towards ensuring the hostel can accommodate each girl. In order to update the sponsors, I have been “interviewing” the sponsored girls with questions about who their favorite teacher is, what they want to be when they grow up, what their favorite sweet is, and the like. I’ve been trying to ask my questions in Hindi, which is met often with blank stares and the girls muttering “What did he say” to one another in Hindi. We always end up laughing and smiling by the end, though.

A few days into my time at Little Stars, a girl from the hostel came into the office where I work and took a photo of me in front of the computer. I hope that this photo can come to symbolize what my experience is like over the next six months- that I can accomplish my computer-oriented tasks while still sharing laughs with and getting to know the students of Little Stars and the girls in Shanti Niketan.

If you’d like any more information about Little Stars, feel free to visit our website below or send us an email!

[email protected]