Monday, May 30, 2011

General Informations form a Volunteer

Hi! My name is Rachel and I'm currently volunteering with Aim Abroad. I've been here for 5 days and it has been truly amazing already. So far I've worked in the orphanage, volunteered at a hospital and worked with an empowering women project. They have all been really interesting and the program is really great about letting you mess around until you find a project that suits you. They also help plan trips for you if you want to travel and make sure you have other volunteers around you. Through trying out different programs I have met 4 hosts families and they are all wonderful people, really wanting to help out the volunteers staying with them and inspired to help those in need in India. The two things I was most worried about coming here were the heat and my safety. To tackle the first one, I will be's hot, slightly hotter than 100°F, 40°C every day. However, Indians beat the heat by waking up early before it gets too hot to go outside and staying indoors with AC for the hotter part of the day. As long as you drink plenty of water, you'll be fine. Water btw is about 20 rupees, 40 cents per liter so it's easy to come by. The second concern, safety, hasn't been an issue at all. I have walked to different volunteer sites and markets near my host family's house by myself just fine. It takes a little getting used to to be in such a different environment and I originally walked with other volunteers but now I feel comfortable to go out during the day alone within walking distance of the house. If I go out at night, it's with other people and we avoid unsafe areas.

The country is extremely busy and it is definitely a culture shock when you first get here because it is different than anything you can picture. However, even after only 5 days I have been able to become comfortable with the environment and really appreciate the crazy Indian culture surrounding me :)

I hope this helps you with an introduction into Aim Abroad. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Monthly Update

   The following update should serve as an insight to the day-to-day life of the children at the Alice in Wonderland orphanage, and other projects, for anyone interested; especially potential volunteers and those wanting to help. The Alice in Wonderland orphanage, is located in Faridibad, about an hour's car journey south of Delhi and was founded around a year ago to offer a nurturing environment to children who would otherwise be without. The residents include Muskan and Rajat, brother and sister aged 12 and 9 respectively, Anish and Manish, brothers aged 7 and 6, Brijmohan, 7, Sonu, 7 and Khushi, 3. All with distinctive personalities that are guaranteed to charm.
    The 17th of April was marked by Brijmohan's 7th birthday, which was celebrated with a tea party at the orphanage which all the children and 3 volunteers attended. Just like there should be at every child's birthday, there was cake. Also greatly enjoyed, were the presents and a pinata. As a special birthday treat, the next day at school, Brijmohan proudly wore his own clothes, instead of his uniform!
   Not as fun for the children, however, was the outbreak of head lice, which resulted in haircuts all round. That's apart from Muskan; (12 years old) to chop off her beautiful, thick head of shiny black hair would be a crime!
   Another notable event was the day that the children received new outfits, courtesy of Simone and Colin, mother and son volunteers from London, England. The excitement could be felt in the air and they were only to happy to pose together for their very own photo-shoot. Being the subject of photographs is something they are only too used to as not a day goes by without a volunteer snapping their movements, whether they are dipping their chapati in their chai at breakfast time or waddling to school with their enormous backpacks, which they recently received from Bethany, a most-dedicated volunteer from New York, USA. Bethany was intending to take only a week out of her busy traveling schedule to spend in Faridibad, but after falling in love with the children of AiW, ended up staying with them a month, also sharing her devotion and skills helping and photographing the various other projects in the surrounding areas which volunteers can choose to donate their time to.
   Anyone willing to offer themselves to an extremely worthy cause should take note. As a volunteer who has spent 3 weeks here already (out of 5) I can say from experience that the considerable amount that can be given by a dedicated volunteer and gratefully received by the children, is unsurpassed by the amount that can be learned.
   Also worth taking note of is the current temperature, which has been reaching and exceeding 40 degrees Celsius almost every day. The heat, however, is not uncomfortable if the following precautions are taken: drink plenty of water, around 3-6 liters, appropriate clothing is always worn, which can be purchased from the nearby markets for extremely reasonable prices. (Additionally, wearing appropriate clothes from the market is appreciated by the locals and helps to make you feel less like a foreigner!) At certain times of the day, it is best to be indoors where the fans and air conditioning make a considerable difference. Most of the projects are equipped with fans, more recently the Alice in Wonderland school, which hosts around 30 children from the surrounding slums in Faridibad, has been fully kitted out, making it a more pleasant working and learning environment.
It won't be long before the next update, thanks for reading! For further information, photographs and contact details please visit our Facebook page: