Let the Academics Begin!

The centers have officially began teaching their curriculum mid July. Manav Sadhna has been fortunate to hire a sixth teacher. Her name is Intolerant and she will be teaching the prathama class for students that need more help and taught in smaller group for 3rd-5th standards. The centers have began their health and hygiene lessons for the value based curriculum. The teachers have taught about how to bathe themselves particularly when water maybe hard to find. The students are learning about combing their hair, brushing their teeth, and the importance of taking care of their feet by wearing chappals (sandals). A local donor provided backpacks and notebooks to all the children at Manav Mitra. There were a lot of parents that attended the beginning of the school year meeting. In the meeting they discussed the purpose of having the center in their community. Another reason for the parent meeting is to teach the parents to engage their children in conversation about what they are learning and how the value lessons are influencing their children.  


I’m nearly completing my “Reading A-Z” phonics material work. Yogishbhai and Jagatbhai, coordinators for Earn N’Learn, did all the precutting, laminating, and cutting again for all 30 lessons each for 3 centers. I’ve enlisted a few volunteer friends to help sort the phonics cards to organize for each lesson. Thank you to Manav Sadhna for investing, for seeing the benefits of this curriculum, and trusting it’s impact on these little one’s education.


The 3rd and 4th students reviewed English letter names, sounds, and the actions that goes along with them. Several of the 4th standard students are remembering the “Humpty Dumpty” nursery rhyme and the phonics picture cards that sound the same on lesson 1. I’m very pleased that they retained a bit from last February and March. The 3rd standards are just beginning to learn this method but are excited to be engaged and their response has been positive.


Gauri Vrat festival is a Hindu celebration to honor girls and young ladies. They dress up in their best dresses and saris. They fast for 5 days to be blessed with a good husband in the future. They do not eat anything with salt, eating mostly fruit, nuts and drinking juice. The teachers celebrated these young girls by doing mehindi and giving gifts to them. At the end of the week the teachers and the girls did Garba dancing, a traditional  Gujarati folk dance, at each center.


I’ve been invited to help teach a couple of English classes for the Jai Jagat journey 16 kids. The teachers are wanting to create an English curriculum for the kids but being engaging and interacting to develop their English oral language. The purpose is to help the students to build their confidence with their conversations such as being comfortable with introducing themselves, sharing any thoughts, asking questions, etc. both for the show and if any travels happens such as a tour for their production. We did a quick review on letter names and sounds. The last class I had them read short comic stories of basic conversation skills concepts such as how to express feelings, adding numbers, and understanding parts of a book. The kids then acted out the comic story. They each had a speaking part and acted them out for the other groups. They seemed to have enjoyed this way of learning and being engaged.


I celebrated my 31st adoption anniversary on July 21st. It causes me to reflect on my life journey up until now.  I’ve learned a bit more about my adoption story since obtaining my full file from WACAP adoption agency in Seattle back in August. I learned that I was born in Vellore, India which is close to Chennai at the south end of the country. My birth mom was too young to take care of me so she made the hardest and the best decision a young mother could make. She placed me in a children’s home in Vellore in 1984. Then I some how got moved to another children’s home in Calcutta. Then finally got placed in my last orphanage to be eligible for adoption in 1987. I learned that my adopted mom, Joni Jensen, was infertile because she had Turner Syndrome. She also didn’t feel the need to be married to have children. She did the bravest and the best decision a young person could make in their life. Not only adopt one child from India but adopt my brother from Bulgaria. It’s my intention to visit my children homes and orphanage in Vellore and both in Calcutta the end of October for the first time.It’s surreal to be in India serving and teaching children who live in the slums. I’m very humbled to lead this incredible journey and humbled to be serving at Manav Sadhna. Thank you to both of my mom’s for providing life and a strong foundation for me. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for either of you.


I was also invited to teach a value lesson to the Earn N’Learn students at Manav Sadhna. Because I’ve been reflecting on my blessings that God has bestowed upon me and my heart has been full of gratitude, I decided to do my value lesson on this topic. I shared my adoption story and said that I’m thankful for my mom’s and my pets at home and explained why. I had them talk to a partner about what they were thankful for or who. I showed a YouTube video of when we serve others with love and kindness, it changes our emotions to positive feelings and filled with gratitude for what we have in our lives. Then the students and the teachers wrote a letter to someone thanking them for how they have helped in their life or the students could choose to write a list of the things and people for what they are thankful for. I’ve been enjoying teaching older students for a bit which is different for me.