Meera in India

Meera is a first-year computer science major in the Lyle School of Engineering who is a Dean’s Scholar and Engineering Fellows Scholar, among other awards. During summer 2011, she was named a Maguire & Irby Family Foundation Public Service Summer Intern by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU. She will be interning at Swasraya, a school for the mentally disabled in India, where she will design a curriculum and help students in order to promote inclusive education. She also plans to help raise awareness by updating the school’s website and creating brochures and fliers.

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First week in India

Day 1 (Saturday): After enduring the 14-hour journey to India, I was exhausted. My plane landed around 3:30 in the morning, but fortunately it was only 6 p.m. in Texas. so I was able to keep my eyes open. My taxi sped along a small bumpy road (with no traffic lights, speed limit, or lanes) for about an hour as I peered at the palm trees through my window. I was surprised to see people awake and starting their day at 4:30 in the morning. I was going to need to get an alarm clock.

Day 2 (Sunday): I slept literally the entire day. I hate jetlag.

Day 3 (Monday): My first day of school! I got to visit all the classes and meet the students. As I entered each classroom, the students immediately clasped their hands together and yelled “namaste” in unison. I felt like a celebrity shaking all of their hands as they practiced the English words they knew, like “hi” and “thank you.” The teacher explained to me that because several of them have speech impairments, they rely on their hands for communication. The classes were divided based on age and skill level. The younger children learned reading and writing, while the older children focused more on life skills like cooking, sewing, and crafting.

Day 4 (Tuesday): My first assignment was to compile the school’s old photos and videos into one concise video illustrating how Swasraya started in 1991 and the progress it has made since then. This video will be used to raise awareness and increase the school’s publicity. This assignment took me the rest of the week.

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    5 Responses to First week in India

    1. Narayan Bhat says:

      Is the blog by Sarah or Meera? Where did you go in India? What are you supposed to do for your internship?
      Responses to these questions could provide the context to the blog.

    2. Sarah Hanan says:

      Hi, Narayan,

      You can read more about Meera’s blog here:

      http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/meera-in-india/

    3. Pamela says:

      Hola ex-resident!
      I miss you :) Glad you are well and having a productive summer. What you are doing is very impressive so I vote you blog more often. haha

      -RA Pam

    4. skhaja says:

      What you’re doing is great. Keep it up. Enjoying your blog.

    5. Meera says:

      Thank you all! Your support means a lot to me. I miss you too Pam! Best RA ever :)

      Narayan, I write the updates and send them to Sarah to post on the website. I am in Cochin, Kerala working at a school for the disabled named Swasraya. I am sitting in on classes and helping teach the children how to read and write as well as basic arithmetic. My goal is to show that disabled children are capable of learning and to promote inclusive education.

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