My name is Melanie Stammler and I am an Austrian citizen. I am 21 years old and I worked in my country as a florist. The reason why I decided to come to India is quite simple: I wanted to have new experiences outside Europe and make my contribution to children who were not as lucky in life as I have been. Here in Don Bosco I have poor but caring and lively children, friendly co-workers and warm food awaiting me.

In the Bridge School I teach the 3rd Class, which was a challenge in the beginning, but now joy and fun. I also realized that when I am teaching, I am also gaining much from the children. I teach them lessons from the book and they teach me lessons from life. They don’t treat me as a stranger but as their elder sister.

I always feel happy when I see so many smiling faces, running to me and hugging me. It was not important in which mood I was, the moment I entered the Bridge school or the shelter, the children immediately wiped away my sorrows and made me feel good. In the Shelter I could always feel the togetherness and the family spirit among the children, the fathers and the staff.

The Salesians and the staff always give their very best to the children and do all things possible to make them happy. Don Bosco Navajeevan is not boarding or hostel but a large family where love and happiness permeate every activity. Here children are not only loved but made to feel they are loved. I am happy that I got a chance to be in Navajeevan, where I give my love and receive much more in return.

When I return Austria in two months, I will be carrying so many interesting events in my head and a heap of love in my heart. I will never forget this wonderful year I spent in India, among such loving people and exiting colorful culture.