20 May 2016
|“I never thought I would feel sad to return home. It was like leaving the family who made me their own here at Bamiyan. Knowing I have contributed to change their lives has been a life-changing experience for me".|
“From day one that I reached Afghanistan, I felt I was with family - the people were so friendly. It was my first trip abroad and I loved every minute of it,“ says Anthony. “It has changed my perspective about life and given me a sense of fulfilment because I could help the youth there who are so eager to learn.“
When the rest of his friends were enjoying their weekends back home in Ajra, a small village close to Mumbai, Anthony was busy conducting English classes for the youth in Bamiyan. When he decided to leave home to serve with JRS in Bamiyan, his parents were terribly worried. Having a Bachelor degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering, most of his friends asked if he had lost his mind to think of volunteering to work in such a volatile and challenging situation. It was two months before his parents to finally agreed to his decision.
From the day he arrived at Kabul, Anthony never for a moment regretted his decision. He thoroughly enjoyed his days at Bamiyan teaching 15 batches of high school and university students English and computers. His daily schedule started at eight every morning and ended at 4.30 in the evening.
Bamiyan is located in Afghanistan’s Hindukush mountains 2,600m above sea level, and is often referred to as Hazarajat, because of the majority Hazara population in the region. Being one of the most underdeveloped Provinces, JRS has been conducting education programs in Bamiyan, for capacity building of the youth since 2007. Working in close partnership with the Education Department, JRS presently conducts intensive English language, Computer, and Konkur (pre-university national examination) preparation classes, and organizes teacher training programs. Since last year, JRS has introduced tertiary education programs, offering Community Service Learning Tracks and a Diploma in Liberal Arts in collaboration with Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM).
“Seeing their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, even during holidays, I was fully engaged preparing for my classes so as to give of my best to my students,“ says Anthony.
Anthony felt that he made the right decision in volunteering to serve with JRS in Bamiyan because he could make a difference sharing his knowledge and skills with the youth who have few opportunities but still dream of becoming doctors, engineers or teachers. He was extremely happy to help them work towards realizing their dreams and bringing them hope. He recognized that his personal struggles dwindled into insignificance compared to the overwhelming challenges the youth encountered. Reaching out to them in their struggles helped him develop a positive attitude towards life.
“I never thought I would feel sad to return home. It was like leaving the family who made me their own here at Bamiyan. Knowing I have contributed to change their lives has been a life-changing experience for me,“ says Anthony, with a sparkle in his eyes.
Ashish Anthony/Programs Officer, JRS South Asia
+91 11 4310 4661; +91 11 4953 4106