As the event approached, we gradually got more nervous and excited. The school sessions were a big success as the days progressed, mostly as we used the previous sessions in the school as a way to improve and develop the coaching level for the next. Friday loomed, event day, the event management team, Laura and Kirstin, had created an incredible plan of how the day would look in order to achieve all the aims and objectives that we had set out to accomplish. On Friday morning at our daily sport session at 6am we were made aware of the strike that was taking place in the school that day. This devastating news made us question whether we could actually be able to perform the final event day as we would only be in Manipal for several more days. We were told to remain patient and wait for confirmation from the school on the subject of us performing the event day on the Saturday morning instead. On hearing this news, the events team swiftly developed several contingency plans for if there were any variables that we hadn’t taken into account. At last we heard the news that the Saturday session could go ahead, and the relief amongst the team was immense
The idea of the event was to provide the children with fun activities to reinforce what was taught during the sport sessions, the use of sport and exercise to maintain good health and the effect of a high sugar diet. In order to do this, the day was split into four main sections, a nutrition class, a crafts class, a sport session and finally a culmination event, which acted as a closing ceremony for all the children and teachers as a thank you.
The nutrition classes were run by Jen and Hazel, our nutritionist students, who provided the children with a session discussing the sugar levels of popular drinks in India along with the benefits of fruit and vegetables in the diet. Posters were shown to the children and the information was discussed in a way that the children could understand, through use of questions and visual cues.
The crafts class was used as a way of keeping the children entertained whilst also gathering feedback to assess the success of our project. These sessions involved the children colouring in a banana in any way they’d like, and on the back they would write what their name is, their favourite sport, and their favourite part of the project. These bananas were then collected and added to a banana tree, made by Allana, which can be viewed by anyone at the school.
The sport session involved around 70 children performing games at one time. The classes were split and two head coaches taught and carried out a game called “Basketball Corners”. The children seemed to really enjoy this game. This game was used as it was a way of having small sides games with a relatively high turnover of participants, so that the class could be controlled and all could be involved.
Upon completion of the classes, we moved on to the closing ceremony where the children were ranked for their participation and the mural that Allana had been working on with the children through the week was presented to the school. The principal gave a speech, and then was presented with flowers. She asked us all to come into the stage and upon doing so, we were presented with handmade cards from the children along with a rose – a kind and unexpected gift that made us all a little more proud of what we had achieved.
Overall, the event was a fantastic experience for all involved. Through hard work, teamwork and interdisciplinary knowledge, the RGU Go: India project had turned a group of strangers into a multicultural team who could plan and execute a project at a school within three weeks of meeting each other. I think we’d all agree that it is a remarkable achievement and the final result was worth the hard grafting we all had to put in!