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Pod Volunteer - Amelia's blog from India

Amelia volunteered at the Pod Volunteer Child Care project in India (https://www.podvolunteer.org/projects/child-care-india) and here is her story:

I have rated everything as 'very good' as on reflection there is nothing I would rate anything other than well above average. From the Pod set up, to the project. The project in particular and the work of Ravi, Gurav and Neha was amazing and they truly made the experience so amazing for me and for this I will be always be grateful. Plus I know I will go back to India again after the fantastic experience I had first time around!

How would you describe a typical day at the Child Care volunteering project in India?

I don't think I will ever be able to fully sum up my time in Udaipur working as it was an enlightening and life affirming trip for me, but I will give it a go. From the moment I contacted Pod I felt supported, and when I saw all the different projects they offered I was not entirely sure which one to go for. But after reviewing them all child care was for me! So I chose Udaipur child care project and that is where my journey really began. The application process was easy to follow, and then Pod made sure I had all the information I need to - which was great!

Then soon enough I was off to Udaipur. From the moment I got off the plane and Ravi (one of the project leaders in India) was there to pick me up I knew the project was going to be incredibly supportive. I got a full induction and tour around the house which really helped me settle in. The other volunteers were a fantastic help as I was travelling alone, something I had not done before.

The two weeks I volunteered for flew by. The work with the children was incredibly rewarding, in the morning we would work with the first graders at a school a short drive away, then go on the visits to either one of the orphanages or the Rag-picker community in the afternoon.

Each volunteering experience was incredibly rewarding, and this is the bit I find hard to sum up as each day was different as the kids would make us laugh in different ways, or there would be that moment where one of the children said their numbers in the right order meaning our teaching methods were working, or the team you are playing rounders with wins! Crucially what ran throughout was how rewarding this work was and how much the project staff in India truly care for the people and children they work with, to the volunteers themselves.

Other highlights of the trip were the day trips to Ranakpur temple, Kumbhalgarh Fort, and the Monsoon palace. As well as the trips to the city to explore the weaving streets, city palace and general hustle and bustle Udaipur has to offer.

Along with the cooking and roof-top dance classes run by Neha.

Then all too soon I had to say goodbye, though I know this will not be the last time I visit India. Whilst I cannot lie and say the project was not without its difficulties from the language barrier to the cultural differences. The truth is if you go volunteering with an open mind, and heart, then you will have a truly fantastic Indian adventure and meet some amazing people along the way.

What did you find most rewarding?

The work at the orphanages as it was all about getting stuck in with the kids and doing activities everyone could get involved with, even if it did prove that volley ball is definitely not my strong suit!

What did you find most challenging?

The biggest challenge was the money problems India was having whilst I was out there, as they pulled bank notes out of circulation. But the project staff were incredibly helpful and went above and beyond what I would expect. Plus as a group of volunteers we all helped each other out too.

Other than the above, I would say another challenge was the language barrier, however the fact that Gurav, Ravi and Neha spoke fantastic English did help reduce this.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Go for it!! That is basically what I would recommend, India is a fantastic place especially Udaipur and you will be supported all the way.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?

For me none, I only wish I could have stayed longer!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

I saw positive reviews online and looking back I am so glad I decided to go with you guys, your support and the projects you connect with are fantastic so THANK YOU!!

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes

If you would like to join this project you can find out more here: https://www.podvolunteer.org/projects/child-care-india