This is a long-awaited IWitness trip from Hong Kong to Udaipur, India, which is co-organised with UNICEF. We almost couldn’t start our journey due to problems with our visas, but thanks to help from UNICEF Hong Kong and India officials, we got our visas less than 24 hours before our flight.
The first destination of our visit was an Anganwadi centre, which is an early childhood education centre located in Girwa block of Udaipur. It is not far away from the city centre, and we received a warm welcome by the lovely and cheerful children when we arrived. They welcomed us at the entrance and dressed up us with local hats, flower rings and Bindi (a red dot) on our foreheads.
The children here are three to six years old and are receiving pre-school education. We entered the classroom and saw another group of children were sitting in a circle and singing songs about maintaining hygienic habits with their teacher. They all looked energised and joyful.
In the Anganwadi centre, they have daily lessons for four hours a day, during which they are taught about hygiene, culture and basic English. They mainly learn through singing, drawing and having nutritious meals, like how we do in kindergarten. From our observations, we truly felt the happiness of the children and the passion and patience of the teacher, which is something we were grateful to see.
After chatting with the supporting staff during the visit, we got more information about the operation of the centre and were delighted and surprised to know that the teacher in the classroom was once one of the students of this Anganwadi centre!
We all were touched by this news, as it is the best evidence that the set-up of this centre is not only a short term or one-off service for the children in the community, but also a sustainable service and the love from the teachers can be passed over generations. I believe that it is one of the achievements that all of us would like to see and it reminded us of the importance of planning and working in a sustainable way. We certainly hope to see more cases like this and see how love can pass on through generations for the better everyday life of the children. It is certainly the best gift for the children!