Henry Island Fisheries Project educational Tour - South 24 Parganas - travel journal


Every time a customer books one of our holidays and opts in to our Trip for a Trip scheme, we organise a day trip for a disadvantaged young person somewhere around the world to see their local tourist sites, often for the first time.

Responsible Travel customers are helping disadvantaged children from Tiljala communities to visit Henry Island, often for the first time in their lives.

Tour group on the beach
At the end of February 2019, fifty-six children between the age of 7 and 17 years who are associated with the Indian charity Tiljala SHED went on a visit to Henry Island located in the Sundarbans Forest (beautiful jungle) to spend the day and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle and the nearby sea.

Children who have rarely ventured outside their local area were thrilled to go on the trip.

Tiljala SHED was started by a group of youths from Tiljala who wanted to make a real change in the area and transform lives, especially those within the rag picking community. In Kolkata society these children and their families are considered ‘the last tier’ and are, according to the charity “treated as dirt and garbage by society. Even people living in the legal slums despise them.” The families live along the railway tracks settlements and also along the dirty canal side settlements where violence and abuse is rampant. They were keen to offer the children this trip as a way to help them feel part of society again, as well as contributing to their education. Tiljala Shed operates two shelters in Kolkata, one specifically for children and many of the children on this trip are from these shelters.

Journal:

Date: 28 February 2019

Morning: All the participants met at Don Bosco School, Park Circus precisely at 6.30 AM and boarded the bus to Henry Island. The journey took three hours to reach the spot. This location was chosen specially for the children to experience nature at close quarters as they live in a highly congested environment. The open spaces, the huge fish rearing tanks, the mangrove forest and the open sea was something they had never witnessed in their life. The children were given light refreshments which they consumed in the bus. The breakfast was organised in a place in Henry Island.

Walking on a bridge through mangrovesLooking at fish on a food stall

Afternoon: The children trooped out of the bus and entered the precincts of the West Bengal Fisheries Development Corporation. While walking, Aftab - one of our senior staff who has a good knowledge about nature, told the children about the animals, birds and fishes found in Sundarbans. The children enjoyed the talks.

Evening: The Children played at the beach and had a sea bath. They enjoyed the waves crashing on them. For some this was a unique experience as they had never ventured into the sea. They ate snacks sold near the seashore by vendors.

End of the day: It was a happy occasion for the children which they will remember for a very long time. They trooped into the bus and came home happy.

Group in the sea
Splashing in the sea

Impact: The trip was meant for vulnerable children who do not get to venture outside the area where they live. Many of the children used to do waste picking work and now in school, their lives have changed and they can see new hope. This excursion was both enjoyable and educational. The children are now aware about a lot of things related to nature. They are now aware about why it is necessary to protect animals and trees and not to pollute the natural environment by cutting down trees and throwing plastic items and garbage into the sea. Also, we ensured that minimal use of plastic happened during this trip.

Quotes from the day
"Once in a lifetime opportunity to experience nature from such close quarters. Nature is fragile and needs to be protected."
– Md Chand

"Enjoyed the trip very much. Learnt about animals birds and fishes found in Sundarbans . The sea bath was exhilarating. Would love to go back once again."
– Jasmine

"Never seen the sea before this trip. It was fun to be able to go on such trips. "
– Nasima

"Well organised excursion. Thankful to Responsible Travels for making this trip possible. Gained knowledge about nature and animals. Hip Hip Hurray."
- Neha

More about our partner organisation: Tiljala Society for Human and Educational Development (Tiljala SHED) is a voluntary organisation committed to promote the interest of at-risk children, Reproductive and Child Health, Women Empowerment, Institutional Care for Children, Literacy, Microfinance and to accelerate the concept of global village. Our mission is to bring meaningful changes in the lives of the marginalized and vulnerable communities living in slums, shanties and pavements.

Group in front of the bus
On the bus
Group by the mangroves
On the beach
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