Jeanette McGinley

Jeanette McGinley is from Melbourne Australia is married with four children. She is passionate about travelling and is always trying to plan their next trip, she loves encountering different cultures and lifestyles with lots of adventures and activities often carrying her camera to catch any special moment. She also loves sport following Tennis, Australian Football League, the Grand Prix and NBA.
child at water fountain

Why did you decide to volunteer with Aim Abroad in India?

Jeanette: My daughter when at secondary school did World Challenge and volunteered at an Orphanage in Cambodia; she is now at Teachers Uni and wanted to do some more volunteer work so we decided it would be great to take the opportunity to do it together. I had always wanted to go to India so we started researching via internet and emails on where and who to do our placement with. It didn't take long to decide on Aim Abroad as Kranti Sharma, Programme Coordinator always supplied any information and details that we asked for in a timely matter.We also liked the options available and the flexibility that they offered.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Jeanette: A normal day for us would be working in a Slum School for three hours then we moved on to the Orphanage for three to four hours then get picked up from there to help out at a Women's Empowerment Group and then back to the Orphanage for the evening returning back to our homestay between 8 and 9pm. Most placements are for 3 hours a day but with the flexibility that Aim Abroad offered we were able to do far more as we were there for two weeks and were wanting to make the most it.

We were extremely hands on with planning activities the evening before, buying supplies in the morning and then heading off to help in many different environments. Mostly teaching English and Maths and helping with anything else needed, for example helping out with daily chores in the orphange.

Children at school in India

What made this experience unique and special?

Jeanette: The people that we worked with their smiles and warmth, their energy enthusiasm and desire to learn with them having a great sense of humour throughout the process. They touch your heart and formed many precious memories and in amongst all this we have the knowledge that they achieved so much in such a short period of time because of their passion to learn. On a more personal note the fact that I shared this with my daughter was extremely special. As well as working along side other volunteers from different countries forming close bonds with them which saw us planning trips together on weekends and still keeping in contact with them now.

The flexibility of the program is unique as Aim Abroad would try to accommodate volunteers to make the most of there time over there offering the opportunity to work within other environments. We stayed with Kranti due to the heatwave so we would be more comfortable. Each day was a journey and you learnt very quickly in India that you need to be able to go with the flow but in doing so also be able to speak up and clarify what your expectations were each day. Ensuring you could make the most of every moment, because at times we weren't exactly on the same page once acknowledging this things ran alot more smoothly.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Jeanette: Volunteering in India has made me more confident and to really learn and experience ways you can communicate with others even if you don't speak the same language. The Women's Empowerment Group had the greatest impact as it was great to feel part of this group where they gathered to learn. We would share jokes and laugh and appreciate the time out together and in doing so there was a connection between us all, language was no barrier at all in this setting.Having encountered this I would love to do more volunteering especially in this area and again be a part of the personal growth and pride among other women as they embrace the opportunity to become more independent.