Deepa Padmanabhan is an ESL Volunteer for Vellore Project. She joined the Ann foundation in 2010. During her trip to India, she had the opportunity to visit students at the IELC School for the Blind.

She recalled her interaction with the children and teachers of IELC to us with enthusiasm saying that it was a truly motivating experience. During their meeting, she was pleasantly surprised when the children welcomed her by introducing themselves in English. They spoke to her at length about their hobbies and their ambitions. Many students included learning English among their favorite activities, and some even expressed their desire to become English Professors. In fact, she says that two students from the school, Anbu and Sandini, have chosen to major in English Literature at the undergraduate level. She quotes a student who said to her, “English classes are very useful to me, they are great “. It was heartening for her to see their eagerness and motivation to learn.

The visit was also an educational experience for Deepa. The students gave a tour of the vocational training center where students learned skills like weaving and envelope-making that prepared them to join the workforce and become independent, productive citizens. A good knowledge of the English language will expand job opportunities for these young students. She gives credit to the dedicated school teachers who gave their guidance and support to ensure children develop their skills in the English language. She was moved by the respect that the children displayed to her and the other teachers. Please visit our website to learn more about IELC project.

Meeting with the children in their environment helped her understand how effective ESL classes have been for students to use the language in conversation. Deepa’s experience bolsters our commitment to the cause and provides reassurance to all our volunteers who work toward bringing a positive change in the lives of their students. We, at Ann Foundation, hope that all our volunteers get the opportunity to visit a project site and see for themselves the impact of volunteerism.