Volunteer in Asia
What I enjoyed the most was seeing the excitement and pleasure the gibbons felt whenever the owner came to say hello to them. After two weeks of volunteering in Thailand, I know that I made a difference and that feeling of being a part of the gibbons' happiness is something I couldn't be without.
I do not have enough words to describe the depth of the experience. I only know that the people I’ve met have influenced my life and I strongly recommend volunteering in this village. They need lots of help in establishing educational center and the overall experience for the volunteers is one of a kind and very rewarding… I recommend it to all those interested.
We planted vegetation to help stop erosion, prepared plantings in our homestay, went on a six hour trek, visited a number of historical and Buddhist sites and experienced the culture with the Akha people almost continually throughout the week. The Akha are the most tolerant and accepting of others of any group I have ever met. As far as an immersion learning experience goes, it would be hard to match.
As conservation volunteers, the team I worked on saw early mornings and plenty of data entry in the afternoons. We worked at two separate sea turtle conservation efforts weekly and also taught classes that combined conservation concepts and English vocabulary to the local primary school classes every week. Two of the most fulfilling, enriching things I’ve ever done in my life...
In the mornings I worked with children from the Special Needs School in Udaipur, and in the afternoons I taught English in an after school community class. We took the special need children to the zoo and spent a lot of time doing crafts which they loved. As it was Christmas time we spent the last few days before their school holidays making a Christmas tree!
In the Deaf and Mute school, I learned basic Indian Sign language and taught English and vocabulary, and did arts and crafts.When I went to the Community Center, the children were split up into 4-5 different classes based on their age. I spent time with the toddlers and 6-10 year olds. We had so much fun reading, spelling, writing, and counting.
I volunteered with ‘street children’ at a local school. The volunteers and I were welcomed with lays, blessed with bracelets, and milk tea. I spent my time teaching English, mathematics, playing, singing, dancing, and learning from the children themselves, as they taught me even more than I could ever teach them. After volunteering, we would head off to some more tourist activities such as, visiting the Akshardham Temple and watching their magnificent water show.
Our way of living in the West differs drastically from the way people live in India. As volunteers we saw incredible things we would have never imagined during our stay, such as how people really live in the slums. This was thanks to coming as a volunteer rather than as a tourist, which allowed us to immerse ourselves into the culture in a special way. We were able to see this unbelievably chaotic borough from the inside (even the inside of the houses!) thanks to the children (students from the school) who guided us through.
... my time spent in the hospital reduced the stress on the doctors in a severely understaffed hospital, and made a positive contribution to the people of Palampur. I helped perform tasks such as assisting geriatric patients in and out of their beds, taking blood pressure and vitals of post surgery patients...
The small hospital waiting room was crowded––full of patients from the surrounding villages seeking medical treatment. The doctor and medical staff hurried to and fro, despite the stifling heat, to treat the overload of patients. This was the scene in Karan Hospital, just outside of Palampur, India, every day. The doctors are heroes here, working endlessly to observe, diagnose and treat the plenitude of patients––a job of at least five doctors in a Western medicine facility. This is what medicine, the pursuit of helping people, is all about.
I learned a lot about the culture in Vietnam and was able to explore the famous places in Ho Chi Minh as well. Apart from the amazing time I had during the cultural week, I was more keen for my week of volunteering to come, as that was my main purpose of enrolling myself to this program. I’ve never been happier that I chose to work in a school as I; myself enjoy having children around me.
The Ho Chi Minh Community Involvement placement starts off with four days of Culture Week, a fantastic opportunity to get to know the other volunteers we would be living with for the next three weeks. This involved language and culture classes, a tour of the city and its major historical sites, cooking class and Vietnamese towel folding class (the last two of which caused a LOT of laughter!). Then we all started work.
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