My experience as a volunteer with Project KHEL

The lovelier filled, the faster time passes…

The excitement when the idea arose…will the weather be good? It’s Saturday and it’s raining…Back and forth the talks whether the girls will be allowed to come…and what about the expenses? Isn’t it too short a notice? …Imagining the happiness on the children’s faces…Finally:

Yes! They are allowed to come! Bus organized! Food organized! The weather forecast is perfect! …Sunday morning came with perfect sunshine! Did we take everything?

All the happy faces on the bus! Singing on the way.

The girls conquering the playground, running all over.

Games. Laughter. Sunshine. Playing. Food. Singing.

Being out of breath.

Everyone refreshing with a cool drink after the cricket game.

Again: running, playing, laughing.

Clicking memories…

We have to leave already? Packing up, sweet happy warm evening air filled with songs entering the open windows of the bus.

Some lonely, happy tears rolling down my cheek…

The lovelier filled, the faster time passes…

This is one of my most precious memories of my time with Project KHEL:  the Sunday outing we had with the orphanage girls from Lalbagh children’s home, Lucknow. A Sunday I will never forget…

Franziska volunteering with children at Project KHEL in Lucknow, India
Franziska with children and other volunteers of Project KHEL on Sunday picnic!

Very soon, it will be three months since I left India, and with that, my volunteering experience with Project KHEL. From mid-October 2012 until the end of February 2013, I had the chance to be a part of this wonderful project that teaches life skills to children through sports and games (Kids Holistic Education and Life-skills). My name is Franziska Litwinski, I am from Germany and am currently studying Masters of Intercultural Communication and Competence in Germany. Despite the discouragement from my head of department, I decided to go for an internship to India. Because learning about cultures, for me, does not come through books, but through experience. And right from the start, KHEL seemed like the perfect match.

Therefore, when I write about my time with KHEL, there are a lot of cultural learning (not just me learning about Indian culture, but also me learning about myself!), which I will leave a bit aside here. Instead, I would like to focus upon my experiences and learning with KHEL.

Project KHEL, volunteering in India, volunteering with children, activity based education
atop a bullock cart with other girls!

First and foremost, I love the approach of KHEL. Having completed a Bachelor to become a teacher but having been discouraged by the inflexibility, the missing liveliness in German classrooms – that is the unholistic approach – I was thrilled by this project: Activity-based, voluntary learning, outside the classroom, mutual learning between coordinators and children, using the joy to play which exists in every human, at any age…how amazing it was to see the difference in the children within those months, their gratitude, realizing again and again that, after all, it does not take much to make a difference, if you do it sincerely.

Project KHEL, volunteering in India, volunteering with children, activity based education
It was amazing to see the difference in the children within those months!

But it’s not like that we have ‘played happily ever after’ since our first sessions – there have been big disappointments after sessions in which everything seems to have gone wrong. Or how our un-hierarchical approach led to difficulties in discipline with the children (how to draw the line between voluntary learning and the needed discipline?), the struggle to figure out, every single day again and again, how to plan a session, how to carry out, how to learn from them. And in the backs of our minds the echoing question: Will it lead somewhere, after the children leave the project? Will it help the girls to be more confident? Will the KHEL ideas linger on, have an impact?

We cannot be sure, and how could we? But we’re creating a space for children, who normally do not have access to this kind of educational space. In the end, it is only an attempt, an attempt attempted fullheartedly, generously, in high hopes. As Stephen King said:

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

So let’s keep KHELing.

To know more about Project KHEL, you can visit their website at and engage with them on their facebook page:

Share your thoughts...


Subscribe to our blog

Join other followers: