Yojana ambassador football player Ron Vlaar
When Yojana asked me some five years ago to take the high position of ambassador, I had to think for quite a while. I did know Yojana to a certain extent because I had read about them and because, as my mother told me, in my younger years I had participated in their yearly sponsored cycling tour. But for me, that knowledge was not sufficient and thus I read a lot more and spoke a lot with Yojana about their approach. This definitely made me very enthusiastic about their work in India.
Yojana helps Indian rural youth to build a future with really great enthusiasm. And, on top of that, they do this without any financial remuneration. The projects appeal to me, just like the Yojana approach. No paternalism, but very critical. They don’t do the obvious like building schools, but together with the Indian partners they first analyse the problems and the reasons behind them. Only then do they find the best possible solutions together. I do realise that this is not the easiest approach, but it is definitely the best. Isn’t it fantastic that already so many children in the project areas are freed from child labour because their parents now realise that school is the best place for them to be?
The next step was the improvement of the quality of education. Too often children just repeat what teachers tell them without understanding. They did not learn to think. Curiosity was suppressed. That too was a problem that Yojana, together with the Indian partners, found a solution for. They created two science centres in which children are stimulated to do and ask. As Confucius already said, experience is the best way of learning. Children and teachers, who also are stimulated with other approaches, really enjoy and welcome these centres.
Yojana stimulates real thinking with the participation of Doris and Paul Cleghorn, who developed a splendid method of enquiry-based teaching in Great Britain. Now, with great enthusiasm, they are training Indian teachers.
Yojana has found so many advisors in Holland who are willing to participate and help in India that they are often asked to help other, larger organisations who are trying to make a difference in India. Yojana have been so successful because of their approach that larger charities and organisations are now asking for their help in reaching out to people in India.
I hope that you all can help Yojana to reach more children.
Ambassador Ron Vlaar supports Sporting for equality. Read more about this activity.