[By: Julien Lévesque]
Having lived in Delhi for more than eight months, I wanted to experience social work in rural India. My main occupation was teaching English at Azad Public School; from class I to class V. Teaching English was exactly not what I came for, but certainly what I was expected to do. I had no experience of teaching whatsoever, and was bound to develop some pedagogical skills to grab the children's attention and make them learn. I focused my teachings on grammar as I noticed it was the missing piece that would, by slowly being mastered, allow the children to construct their own sentences, to express their own ideas in their own words, and feel comfortable with English. I enjoyed this difficult task as I saw some students progressively starting to play with English words and sentences.
Aside from teaching English, I accompanied the staff in villages around Kishanganj on several occasions: meetings, drawing competitions, Village Theater (great play!), etc. This gave me the occasion to visit many villages, meet many people who were all amazed to see me there, as lots of them would give everything they have to go live in Europe. Apart from English teaching and village sight-seeing, I was also asked to prepare a flip chart on gender issues, an interesting work that gave me the occasion to extend my Hindi vocabulary.
As a whole, my two and a half months in Kishanganj were obviously an enriching experience in many regards, although I am not fully satisfied. I do not feel that I once and for all transformed anything in Kishanganj. I did my best to influence the people I could, to make a good impression of myself and Azad India and be remembered. Staying in Kishanganj with Azad India also gave me a new glimpse of rural India, made me discover the workings of an NGO, from the financing agencies to the small villages.