Sally, CHEA (Kumaon)
Volunteering with CHEA was a hugely rewarding experience. It gave me an incredible insight into Indian life and culture that would not have been possible had we been visiting as tourists. It was very different to my past experiences of ‘voluntourism,’ as it felt more like a professional internship with a well-established local NGO, who benefit but do not rely on overseas volunteers. I met some great people who I will keep in contact with, had some unique adventures exploring the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas, and gained practical experience that will help me both with my future career and in putting into context what I have spent four years studying at university.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 8 weeks with Project Why and felt that it was very rewarding. I loved building relationships with the children and seeing them progress with their English. Once could see the benefits that the project are bringing to the children and the wider community and it was a pleasure to be involved with Project Why. I intend on going back to work with them in the near future.
Fiona, Aarohi (Kumaon)
Working with Aarohi felt like being part of a very close knit and welcoming family.The organisation is making some fantastic changes to education and health standards in the region. The more time I spent working in the school the easier it became to start implementing change and to put routines in place help to shape some roles for future teachers/others involved in the school in the future. I am still involved with Aarohi and hope that I will be for the foreseeable future. I feel that our presentation at the end of the placement was useful and valuable and that the organisation will take the required steps to put the changes we proposed in place. I continue to liase with the key workers at Aarohi and to work monthly on editing the newsletter.
Project Why is an exceptional NGO which, having spent 8 weeks with, I fully believe is doing brilliant work with the children and families in and around Okla. The Centers are well run by honest, hard-working and friendly local people who are used to having volunteers but were still very good at explaining everything and showing us around Delhi. The kids are brilliant and I really enjoyed being there aND seeing their optimism about the future and resilience in a difficult environment.
The work experience I gained AT ORF was both rewarding and useful. The type of work, i.e. reading, research and analysis, was very similar to my Cambridge degree. However the deadlines were a lot more relaxed and we were free to be guided by our own interests which made it a nice environment to explore topics which were not afforded my time during term.
My summer in India was a life changing experience, and I cannot express how grateful I am to Camvol, the Himmotthan Society and the Society for Mahaseer Conservancy, for making my trip possible. I enjoyed the responsibility and autonomy of my research project. The issues I was looking into were of both personal interest, and also of academic and professional relevance. I discovered a newfound passion for India. I felt very privileged staying with local families, living in such incredible landscapes and witnessing such wildlife, and experiencing the unique cultures and traditions of the villages.
Hannah, CHEA (Kumaon)
The experience with CHEA was a brilliant one. I learnt lots and have met many people who I will keep in touch with. At CHEA, I worked on an environmental education tourism programme for local urban school children. It was great to see that the children were very interested in the environment and their feedback was very positive. The project I worked on at CHEA was perfect for me. It combined my interests in geology and allowed me to do something positive for the environment and people of the area. We were given a lot of freedom with the project. We started by researching envinonmental challenges in Kumaon, then we mapped suitable villages and forests, carried out a tour and finally analyzed and presented results. One of the best things about working at CHEA was getting to know local people working for the charity. They took us to meet their families and even took us to see a religious festival at one of the local villages. I enjoyed learning about Indian culture and history. And of course I enjoyed the curry too!
The experience of volunteering for the ORF was definitely a useful and rewarding one. I learnt a huge amount whilst working there, about so many different areas of international affairs, and was able to take extensive notes in conferences and discussions which I plan to keep hold of for the future as I am considering undertaking a Masters in this discipline. I really enjoyed getting to know my work colleagues and the other interns and gaining some important insights into office culture. I also felt that I gained a lot from the experience of living and working abroad in a relatively independent manner, as I realised that I was able to successfully adapt to the different conditions this entailed.
Libby, Aarohi (Kumaon)
The experience at Aarohi was invaluable and, although at times challenging, I would most definitely want to work on a project such as this one again. I aim to keep in touch with Aarohi and hope to provide any help where I still can.
Volunteering at Himmothan was very useful as it gave me an invaluable perspective on the lifestyle and culture of the people I was working with. This perspective will prove very useful if I decide to pursue a career in development work as I have first-hand experience with the obstacles and challenges I may face. The work was also rewarding, I did feel like the work I was doing would make a tangible difference in the near future.
Sorsha, CEDAR (Dehra Dun)
CEDAR is a very small organisation; despite this, they managed to provide me with much help and resources. Practically, for me, the experience was very rewarding, in that it helped me gain data for my dissertation. It was a really tough experience at times, and my fieldwork was incredibly challenging, especially as the monsoon interrupted some of my data collection. I learnt lots about research and fieldwork, as well as about the village people living in the hill areas, and their livelihoods.
I enjoyed working at CES, there were opportunities for working on various assignments, including a literature review that was very interesting, and writing an article on the Indian Exclusion Report. I was grateful for the many opportunities CES provided for field visits, including to the ‘Idea of India Conclave’, the homeless shelters and talks at other think-tanks. The induction day run by CES in the first week was also fascinating. Above all, it was a great privilege to be given to chance to visit Muzaffarnagar, which was a definitive highlight of my trip. Although the office was quite relaxed, CES provided a lot of opportunities and everyone was very friendly and supportive.
Rachael, Nai Disha (New Delhi)
I helped to prepare the maths syllabus at Nai Disha and made progress with new classes. The experience was rewarding because I was working with the same children for eight weeks and could see an improvement in their work. I thought the whole experience was fantastic and really appreciate the work done by Camvol for arranging it and helping to make it possible. I felt very lucky to have this opportunity.