Alumni Spotlight: Sian Smith

Sian Smith, Volunteered in India from 24th July-4th August. Sian is from Shropshire in England, she is currently studying for an Undergraduate degree in English Literature at University of East London. She loves reading, travelling and watching Bollywood films.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Volunteer India in India?

Sian: I had wanted to visit India for a very long time, and thought instead of just taking a holiday, I would do something more productive with my time and really experience everyday Indian life. I decided to go with Volunteering with India because they are a smaller and less popular organisation that the regular ones that advertise at university and elsewhere. I thought my contribution to projects with Volunteering with India would be much more effective than if i had gone with an organisation with a vast amount of volunteers.

Volunteer with elephants through Volunteer India

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Sian: I woke up around 4am every week day, got picked up by the tuk-tuk driver and taken to the elephant village at around 5. Here I cleaned the elephants area, scrubbed the elephants and hosed them down. After the elephants were done bathing in a nearby lake the mahouts prepared them for their working day applying decorative paint and mounting the howdahs on their backs, whilst i broke down sugar cane into bundles for the elephants to eat. Some days i helped prepare chappatis for the elephants lunch. This was all completed by around 9 and i went back to the guest house.

What made this experience unique and special?

Sian: It was such a great experience to get up close and personal with such great animals, to witness their intelligence and bonds built between the mahouts and their elephants.

Volunteers eating in India

How has this experience impacted your future?

Sian: I have been really inspired by the effort Sukret at Volunteering with India has put into the organisation to make it successful, and i hope to return to work with this organisation and perhaps one day become a member of a similar organisation.

My time in India has shaped my personality greatly, changing the way i look and think about things, I feel this trip has given me much more direction in life, i wish to carry on along this journey, and help those who desperately need it.