July 14, 2019, by Anjni
Volunteering Abroad This Summer
So the summer holidays are well and truly underway now, and I know I’ve been abhorrently absent – and for far longer than I should have been – but not without cause! At the start of the vacation period, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to volunteer abroad in India at a children’s school as part of ProjectCARE. It was only two weeks but what an experience it was, and I can scarcely believe how quickly the time has flown! And whilst it saddens me that my time is up, I am grateful to have been allowed such an opportunity. I’ve written about what it’s like to volunteer before as part of a university society, and I’m here again to share with you my experiences, and the impact you can have by giving up but a small portion of your time during these long, lazy summer months.
ProjectCARE , an organisation of volunteers established by a group of students in 2013, supports and helps raise money for schools in India, and is run by CAREducation Trust; a charity that works with initiatives in less developed parts of the world to ensure that children are provided with an education. Many of us, having been fortunate and blessed enough to have access to an education, take it for granted all too often – and not necessarily intentionally – but we sometimes forget that education is a right, not a luxury. This is part of the reason why I chose to undertake this experience; being so privileged to have what do, it is important that we recognise this and help give back to and support those that are not.
And so began my two weeks! Alongside other students from the University of Nottingham and Warwick, I worked with children of varying disabilities, facilitating, supporting and leading lessons within their school – whether it be geography, physics or even arts and crafts. We lived as they did, and shared in their daily activities, and it sparked so, so much joy, not just for them, but for us also.
As volunteers, whilst we went out there with the intent to teach and help educate these children, they weren’t the only ones to come away having learnt something. With so much to give, they spent THEIR time teaching us; local dialects, sign language and just about their life in general, and I can honestly say that they have had just as much of an impact on us as we have had on them. The children out there despite facing severe adversity, showed us, that there is not a single obstacle that cannot be overcome. It was remarkable to see just how much they were able to make the most of their situations despite their circumstances, and through it all they never failed to bring a smile to my face and that of other volunteers each and every day.
My time there highlighted and really put into perspective just how blessed we truly are to have access to all that we do, and how, at times, we can be guilty of taking it all for granted. This experience has been BEYOND wonderful; not only has it been humbling, but it has also warmed my heart and touched my soul, and given me memories I know I’ll hold onto for a lifetime. But above it all, it has really gone to show that it is not what we have, but what we are willing to give in this world. And so I come back to the idea of the impact YOU can make by giving up your time and how, despite what cause you decide to get involved in, you can make a WORLD of difference, not only in someone else’s life, but in your own as well.