On my first day as a volunteer in Dharamsala, India, two tiny Tibetan children threw themselves at me, clinging to me for comfort and protection. It was then that I realized my job as a volunteer was primarily to provide support and love.
This was in 2006, on my first trip to India, when I was volunteering with the Art Refuge program. My role was assistant art therapist, and I was tasked with helping Tibetan refugee children adapt to life in India.
Every day, I arrived for work on the roof of the Reception Centre, the large, cavernous building that housed the refugees when they arrived in Dharamsala, India, via Nepal. My work there immersed me into the lives and culture of Tibetan exiles, forced to leave their homes in Chinese-occupied Tibet, in order to keep their traditions and identity alive.