Yesterday Reality said goodbye to Shneeka Centre, a volunteer from the US who has been with us for 4 months. Before she hopped on a plane to Northern Island we sat down with Shneeka for a quick chai to reflect on her time volunteering in India…
Can you give us an overview of your role at Reality?
“I was a coach with the Girls’ Football program”.
What were your first impressions?
“My first impressions of Mumbai were great. I immediately loved how friendly everyone at Reality Gives was and how kind the Dharavi community were. Right from the start, the football girls have been awesome to work with. They are always so happy for practice and for matches. They are incredibly excited for the opportunity to play football and to be a part of a team”.
What have you been most proud of in your time here?
“I am definitely most proud of the moms’ football sessions we have started. Peter and I started holding Saturday afternoon fitness sessions for moms from the Dharavi community. The moms have been fantastic to work with. Many of them have not been given the chance to participate in sport since they were younger so it is really great to see them laughing and enjoying themselves while getting exercise. We have had a nice turnout so far and I hope it can continue to grow”.
What will you remember most?
“There are so many things that I will remember! I will remember all of the people that I have met and worked with. I will remember how excited the football girls are for practice and how excited they are to have the opportunity to play. I am hoping I remember the Hindi that I picked up too!”.
What have you learned?
“In my short time here, I have definitely learned a lot. Probably the greatest thing I have learned is how wonderful Dharavi actually is. Yes, of course there are negatives, but there are so many encouraging and inspiring aspects. People in the community are so helpful and caring. Even though their situation is less than ideal, everyone is always helping one another and so generous with the little they have”.
So often behind the camera or off running around the sports field, Shneeka has been something of an unsung hero these past few months. All of us at Reality would like to thank her for the wonderful energy and positivity she brought to the team; for what she did and the way that she did it.
All the best with your next adventure Shneeka. See you back here soon!