HATFIELD, PA (TIP): Yuva Hindi Sansthan, a New Jersey based educational organization concluded a two-week summer Hindi program in Hatfield, PA on August 16. The program designed under the strict guidelines of STARTALK, a United States funded Foreign Language initiative, targeted 60 elementary and Middle School students, most of whom, born and raised in USA, belonged to Indian American families. Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Deputy Consul- General of India in New York, who attended the camp as the chief guest on August 16, the concluding day of the program, distributed completion certificates to students. She extended her support to such efforts for promoting Hindi. Dr. Khobragade said that the Government of India was making all efforts to introduce Hindi as a working language of the United Nations. She assured that her office was willing to help Hindi programs.
Upendra Chivukula, New Jersey Assemblyman was also present on the occasion. He congratulated Yuva Hindi Sansthan for its consistent effort to teach Hindi to youngsters. Chivukula said that US administration fully realized the importance of teaching American kids one more language other than English. “United States recognized Hindi as a critical language for American students and businesses which were an encouraging step for the Indian American community”, he said. “The participating 8 to 12 years old students were placed in five different classes where our team of STARTALK trained teachers engaged them in performances based activities on topics related with ‘A trip to India’. “We used a variety of real life activities to make sure children were comfortably conversing in Hindi in meaningful and unrehearsed fashion”, said Rashmi Sudhir, who served as the lead instructor at the camp.
“It was an intensive program for which all instructors prepared for months planning their lessons”, said Rashmi. “A typical day at the camp started with a 30 minute Yoga session followed by classroom instructions for three hours before breaking for lunch. The students were immersed in a variety of activities in art, culture and technology classes during the post-lunch period of the day which continued until 4.30 pm.We screened interesting Hindi movies during the lunch hour while students enjoyed authentic Indian meal. Each and every minute of the camp was designed for learning Hindi and experiencing the product and practices of Indian culture”, said Rashmi. “The program was hosted by North Penn School District which provided classrooms, gym, cafeteria, computer labs and auditorium for facilitating the two week long activities during the program”, said Ashok Ojha, program director, YHS STARTALK Hindi 2013 program.
“The school district fully cooperated with us for managing the camp style program while a number of parents volunteered their time to support the program.” The campers were taken on a field trip during the camp to Philly Museum of Art where they learned about various ancient mythological characters, statues and icons, instructed by well known art historian from University of Pennsylvania Dr. Pushkar Sohoni, who also took them around the UPenn library where they walked around the aisles displaying tens of thousands of books in Indian language.