Wednesday 13 February 2019

Service before Self

Serving others is a spiritual experience that instils calm in every human being. Rajyasri Rao, a Gold Award participant of The Lawrence School, Ooty visited Bokapuram village and Masinagudi as part of her Gold Residential Project. Defining her visit as a ‘life-changing experience’, she shares insights on what it means to serve others.

“Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.” says, Buddha. We seemed to have seen this insightful quote come to life when, as part of IAYP’s Gold Residential Project, we visited Bokapuram village and Masinagudi. During our five-day visit that began on 27th September and concluded on 2nd October 2018, we became the embodiment of ‘work hard, play hard’. At the school we were residing in, we engaged in levelling the ground and painting a primary classroom with colours most appealing to children. In Bokapuram, we engaged in renovation work on the houses of two elderly women. Another facet of our project was spreading awareness about the consequences of alcohol addiction in a village adjacent to the school, as part of which we painted signs on walls and conducting awareness campaigns in the village.

Putting up at a school with basic amenities, cleaning our own dishes and living spaces and contributing selflessly – all these instilled a sense of responsibility and consciousness in us. The contentment we derived after having finished our visit was supreme. The teachers who accompanied us guided us towards looking beyond the comforts of premiere boarding schools. They taught us to be humble and considerate by exposing us to an alien lifestyle departing several life lessons discussion sessions after dinner each night. Our teacher incharge, Mr Kuldeep Singh and other teacher escorts Ms Kamaljeet, Mr Kartikeyan, Ms Anjali and Ms Samina were as much a part of this labour intensive project as we were. Their dedication towards the cause together with their guidance enlightened us on what true service meant. Our support staff’s contribution made our stay comfortable and we would never be thankful enough for it.

I had never fathomed that the Gold Residential Project would be a life-changing experience for me, bringing age-old quotes to life. Despite bruises, cuts, sunburns, insect bites and challenging physical activities, we learnt to get up and vanquish the forces that caused us to trip. The most striking aspect of our journey, however, was how gracefully we transcended our comfort zones, motivated by the idea to extend our hands in service. Click here for more pictures

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