September is here. It is time for festivals very soon. In fact in India the festive season never ends. The festivals keep coming one after the other with a few breaks in between. After all we have so many religions, with so many Gods. Where in the world would you see the nations celebrating one festival after the other?
Once you have tasted the dust of India it is very difficult to outgrow the same.
Come and taste the dust of India, the real India! This is what volunteering in India offers to you.
Happy Teachers Day to all the teachers on September 5, 2009.
We have Anna and Henry sharing their views about the new place and some information on the new place.
Come join and help these children!
Till next time,
New Tie up
We have a new place for you to volunteer. SIKAR is the district headquarters and 110 kilometers away from Jaipur on Jaipur-Bikaner highway/railway line.
It’s our new location for prospective volunteers. Volunteers stay in Bajaj Bhawan. It’s an office cum residential building and a very old Haveli. Now our volunteers get hands on experience of Indian living.
At present JK Bajaj Trust has an office there. The staff is also staying in it with their families. The chairman of the JK Bajaj Trust is Shri Shishir Bajaj (based in Mumbai), brother of Rahul Bajaj (owner of Bajaj scooter/motor cycle companies).
The NGO is part of Corporate Social Responsibility of Bajaj Group. It was registered in 1964 and involved in lot of development activity for the area. The youth wing called Nehru Yuva Kendras is also a part of this group.
Rahul and Shishir Bajaj are sons of the famous freedom fighter Jamna Lal Bajaj. Indian leaders Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi used to come and stay in this haveli years ago.
Facility for you
Volunteers can stay here in guest rooms and dormitories fitted with water heaters and desert coolers etc. and teach students in slum areas or schools. The slum area has more than 2000 huts and the people are from different parts of India mainly from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the desert area of Rajasthan. Some of them have been living in that area since the last 35 years and till date do not have water or power in their huts.
We request you to come and help these children with your knowledge and take back life long memories.
Volunteer story – Anna and Henry, UK
My boyfriend and I joined the volunteering in India program in June – one of the hottest months of the year in India – for a total of three weeks.
We travelled to Jaipur by train from Delhi and went straight to the guesthouse that had been booked for us. There we had some much needed rest after the long journey. In the evening Vinod came to meet us and we had our first Hindi lesson. After getting to grips with some basic Hindi we went out for dinner and learnt a bit more about what we would be doing over the next few weeks. Vinod was very helpful and explained what was required from us in the coming weeks. We spent the next two days exploring Jaipur with our own rickshaw driver Abdul who was helpful and informative. We spent time in the bustling bazaars shopping for gifts as well as visiting the famous sights such as the Amber Fort and the City Palace.
On the fourth day of our project we drove with Vinod to the small city of Sikar, two hours away from Jaipur and arrived at the beautiful Bajaj Bhawan (Haveli). This was to be our home for the project duration. We were welcomed by all the lovely and friendly staff and made to feel at home straight away.
Our job was to teach the children of the Kachi Basti slum school. It was a brilliant experience but far more of a challenge than we had bargained for! We had over 45 children in our class room each day in the age group of 4 to 16 years. All of them were keen and excited to be there. We would teach for about 2 hours each day in the morning and then spend the rest of the day preparing for future lessons and making up activities. After the first few lessons we got into the swing of things and got to know the children and their ranging abilities better. We then devised a basic structure for each lesson starting with everyone participating with the teacher led vocabulary sessions. We would then go over the words learnt the previous day and introduce the new day topic for that day. Splitting up the group allowed us to focus on the older children who had the more advanced topics. The younger ones spent their time colouring and playing. We purchased folders for the pupils to keep a record of their work and it also gave us a chance to see their development.
It was a big challenge at times trying to keep everyone entertained for the duration of the lesson but when you can see them progressing and learning new words as the lessons went on, it was worth the effort! At the end of the lesson we would always finish with a game or a song, ‘head shoulders knees and toes’ and ‘okeekokee’ were particular favourites!
It was a very exciting time to be volunteering with the JK Bajaj Trust as they were in the process of setting up a variety of new projects and developing the site to accommodate lots of new volunteers. The staff and their families are all so friendly and welcoming. We felt at home and really part of the team when we were there, and even after leaving we are still in regular contact. Another project that we got involved with other than teaching was the yoga camp. They hired a yoga teacher to visit a near by village and teach yoga to all the residents every morning at sunrise. It was an amazing experience to see how the money is used locally for the people. It also gave me an opportunity to get involved in a traditional Indian activity.
Life at the Bajaj Haveli was fairly relaxed. We spent our spare time chatting to staff members, planning lessons and visiting sights in Sikar. We had three delicious healthy vegetarian meals cooked for us each day, as well as copious amounts of chai (tea) whenever we desired!
On the weekend we visited Pushkar a tourist town with amazing temples and markets. It was easy to reach by bus. We also visited the home of one of the staff members and met his family and shared a meal with them.
Overall our time with volunteering in India was something we will never forget. We saw a totally different side and experienced things that you would never have the chance to if you were just visiting India on holiday. Although it was really challenging at times, there was no better sight than the children’s eager smiling faces desperate to start lessons when we arrived in the slum area each day. We also met so many people who were so passionate and dedicated to their work. It was indeed a very inspiring three weeks.
Till next time
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When I first arrived in India, it felt
like every little thing was so different from back home- the
sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, the animals; every
moment was a new adventure, and I was always excited to see what
would happen next! I volunteered teaching English to rescued
child laborers in a rural village near Jaipur.