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The value of volunteering

With staff and students, both current and graduates of Portobello Institute in full preparation mode for this year’s volunteer trip to Pune next week we are delighted to share this short insight into last years trip and to also wish all of them a very safe and rewarding journey.

College director Denise Flood and members of our academic team returned home from their second of two trips to India last year alone.    On this occasion a small team of academic staff made the inspirational journey. The team travelled to Pune in India for one week on the 26th of November. Pune has a history of deep-seated poverty and vulnerability. “We had a very specific purpose to train the Orphanage staff and social workers in Montessori Method of education and special needs care”. To date over 200 hundred staff have been trained from a number of orphanages and outreach community centres from a number of local slums which is an incredible achievement for the team.

Outside of the main focus to train local staff the week long trip saw other several other acts of kindness by the team and we have included just some of them. The team successfully renovated and painted the whole downstairs area of the orphanage where the children play outdoors. “We painted two large murals on the walls where the staff helped. It became a real team effort with everyone looking to lend a hand.”

At 7am every morning team leader Denise ran self-defence, lifelong training for 50 children from the local slums. “They loved it and engaged amazingly well. The orphanage has now asked me to run these classes with their staff and the mothers of the children in the community.”

The team ran also art and craft camps bringing all supplies with them in a local girls rescue centre and community centre.  Denise understands the importance of music and its proven positive effects on the mind while creating happy environments. “The girls rescue centre asked me for a stereo so that they can play music for the children to dance to so I left money for them to buy it and they just made contact to say that their stereo arrived and everyone is delighted.” 

We wish Denise and her team the very best of luck as they prepare for another selfless trip and we look forward to sharing their journey. 

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