August 2005 batch

Alesha De-Freitas
Streetsmart Education for Kids (Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu)

Alesha De-Freitas, from London, UK, graduated with a BSc in Politics, Economics and International Studies from the University of Warwick When she watched the footage of destruction caused by the Tsunamis of 2004, Alesha did not imagine that in six months she would be heading to one of the worst affected areas of India to help with rehabilitation. Her project focused specifically on inspiring youth in two small fishing communities of Tamil Nadu by developing an educational curriculum which appeals to their natural curiosity. Alesha is a “third generation, 50%-Indian-by-blood.” She was the first member of her family to travel back to India since her grandparents forty years ago. Consequently, her main ambition in India was to re-establish her familial connection with the country, and to understand her own place within the Indian Diaspora. While in India as a 2005-2005 fellow, Alesha began the process of learning the Tamil language and used that along with the immersion aspect to gain a greater understanding of what development actually means on a practical level. By engaging children in their inherent interest of the world around them, Alesha worked to push the tsunami-affected villages in a forward progression, past their traumatic experiences.