RCDP International Volunteer Program

RCDP International Volunteer Program

About

Established in 1998, RCDP-Nepal is a recognized leader in the field of volunteering. RCDP-Nepal pioneered volunteer in Nepal and India programs. Our volunteer program offers an alternative way to enjoy the exhilarating and exotic beauty of the nature, and the people of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. Volunteering in Nepal programs and programs in other countries comprises of language, cultural and observation tours, home stays, expeditions, trekking, and many more.... Each year, 1000 volunteers join our program in South Asia

Reviews

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Paul
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First off, I loved my two weeks of volunteering in Bali and I couldn't be more glad I did it. This was my first volunteer experience abroad and it really was perspective-shifting, fun, challenging, and overall a really positive experience. During my time I volunteered at three different schools, one in urban Kuta, one in the smaller town of Amlapura, and one in the country. (Note: these were all normal public or private schools. None of them were for orphans, which I'd somehow gotten the impression they would be.)

What I loved: connecting with the kids. All the kids I worked with, from kindergarten through high school, were so fun. They loved having a foreign volunteer there, and even though the majority of them couldn't speak much English, I still was really able to connect with them in and out of the classroom just by keeping a smile on my face and giving out liberal high-fives. The faculty was also always very friendly and enthusiastic to have me there. Leaving each school was always a challenge and I found myself trying to stick around each day as long as I could.

What was unexpected: First off, I was the only volunteer with RCDP in Bali while I was there, and from the sounds of it they don't normally have more than one person there. This meant that when I wasn't at the schools I was mostly by myself, the first week in a simple but serviceable hotel room, the second in the guesthouse building owned by the great Bali volunteer coordinator, Komang. While I didn't mind this relative seclusion, if you're looking to meet other volunteers, this is not the place to do it.

Because of the low volume, individual nature of this volunteer experience, I found that there wasn't as much of a system in place as I had expected. In practice this meant that there was both less and more for me to do than I had anticipated. Less, because instead of having arranged classes to assist in all day I usually only had two and sometimes just one. More, because sometimes in those classes I was asked to conduct parts or the entirety without much instruction and because outside of class I had free range to hangout for hours with kids on recess. Let me tell you, it takes both considerable energy and creativity to engage with dozens of non-English speaking kids at once.

Outside of the limited arranged time helping in class, there was also some difficulty finding me a school to volunteer in at all during my second week in the smaller town. This was apparently because with the burgeoning Coronavirus situation the local schools were scared to have a foreigner come in. A reasonable fear, except that I had been in at that time Covid-free Bali for more than two weeks without displaying symptoms so there was really no chance that I had it. I missed having a school to volunteer at that Monday, despite the efforts of Komang to gather some local children that I could work with at his home. But after I talked to Komang again he did find a school that would have me for the rest of that week, during their afternoon sessions. The third school I also volunteered at a couple days that week I found by myself because it was connected to a Catholic church which I had been visiting daily. I met the nuns who ran the school and they invited me to come and volunteer there too, which I could do in my free mornings.

So, I ended up having plenty of volunteering, but it was all rather impromptu and I kind of had to fight for it (staying at school after I was done helping in class, insisting on finding a placement for the second week, and finding an additional placement myself.)

I do want to stress that Komang was very helpful and accommodating, but he was working with what really felt like a less than polished system.

Taken all in all, as I said to start, this was a fantastic experience, but I had to be flexible and engaged to make it that way, and I don't think any two experiences would be quite alike. The advantage is you do really feel like you're meeting locals who are excited to have you because you're not just one of many volunteers. The disadvantage is that things are a bit messy. But if you're ready to roll with the adventure, go for it!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
During my first week, the teacher I regularly helped in class wasn't there, so I was with a different teacher who didn't really speak English. I thought I'd be assisting him, but when we got to his class, he simply left me there to manage the whole 65 minute period! I had no idea what to do, but fortunately, it was an older grade who were a bit better at English so I just went through some food and clothing vocabulary, devising some simple games and sentence building exercises. Keeping things light and goofy, I somehow got through the hour!
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David
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Our host family was magnificent and the whole experience enjoyable. Food was wonderful and all round great fun and learning about their life and their history of tsunami.

The orphanage was a challenge for our family (perhaps more for the adults than the kids who don’t understand the full
Scale of this). Our kids were great but I would challenge other families to consider whether this is the best activity as a family. Our lack of ability to speak the language did not aid our ability to communicate but love and hugs speaks a thousand words!

What would you improve about this program?
I think it’s hard to improve institutional facilities in foreign countries.
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Irisa
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This trip was the first volunteering service that I have done in my life, on my own and in a new country. My purpose was to look for a new perspective of the world which I have found in Kenya. Since the first day of arrival, I was struck by how friendly the people were. They were extremely welcoming and eager to help. I spent two weeks to volunteer at an orphanage which is the home to around 20 kids. I have also met the founder of this orphanage, who is an incredible mother to 5 grown-ups of her own as well as the orphanage kids. I could see that under her care the kids are well-fed, happy and kind-hearted. Through their hard work, some of them also achieved very good level at national exams and brought pride to this humble orphanage. The kids that I have interacted with were shy in speaking in English at first but they were very happy to get to know me (which evidenced through giving lots of hugs and kisses and making plaits with my hair). Towards the end of the programme, I have got to know the character of each of the kids and their confidence has also grown a lot since.

I felt that I was well looked after throughout the programme, always accompanied by some of the school/ orphanage staff to and from the host home. They also introduced me to the local rugby games, church, cultural food as well as the festive activities there, which were memorable. During the weekends, I also took a visit to Massai Mara for the safari and the attractions that the city has to offer.

Overall, I felt that my impact wasn't a lot due to it being already a fairly established orphanage and the school (co-located with the orphanage) was closed for the holiday. However, I went with a mindset to learn and so just being able to put more smiles on the kids' face, contributing to their meals and helping out with chores were satisfying for me. This is only the beginning to many trips back to Kenya to visit the friends and kids there!

What would you improve about this program?
I'd have liked to understand where the money that I paid for is contributing to upfront, including those for the project itself as well as the recommended excursions. It was unpleasant to find out that a large part of the fees that I paid for the excursions actually went as commissions to the local country coordinator (of RCDP), on top of the cost of safari tour which was arranged by a third party. It has upset me because this sum of money could have been used to purchase food for the orphanage kids. In general, I found the information provided by the local coordinator (as well as his presence) limited, his attitude and communication skills very poor. A lot of the information was only given after I repeatedly asked for it. The upside was that his family was welcoming and caring for my needs so the overall stay was still pleasant.
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Cyrus Lee
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

RCDP has done a great job in making the administrative processes for volunteering simple and easy. They have also done a phenomenal job arranging a local volunteering agency/work, that is customised and tailored to my interest and goals.

I applied for a 5 weeks programme in Cambodia, working on building a local school project in the Romeas Haek District. My role was to assist the local team in managing this project. My experience was thoroughly exciting and enriching. I had to opportunity to meet many individuals part of the local team, looking to make a significant difference to those disadvantaged. Moreover, I was also exposed to a wide range of Cambodian culture and its people, an invaluable experience that I will cherish deeply.

I would recommend RCDP International to anyone who is looking for an affordable volunteering experience abroad.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
For those looking for an invaluable volunteering experience abroad, I do advice that you do your own personal research on your desired work, to grasp a better understanding behind its situation and challenges. This would give you a better contextual understanding of the area and the people you will be working, which can help you decide on how you can best contribute.
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Kori
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I met a lot of great friends through this program and would love to go back. The orphanage was a great place to volunteer but is difficult to do much unless you know a little bit of Spanish to be able to communicate with the people in the orphanage. If you are able to communicate, you find it is a very rewarding experience and are able to help out in a lot of ways. Roger, our country coordinator was great. We lived with a host family and a bunch of young girls who were traveling and Roger made our safety a top priority. I did not take Spanish classes while in Peru but I heard they were great! DO NOT fall for scams in the plaza. There are plenty of them such as paintings and sight seeing tours. If you ever take a trip to hike or sight-see do not pay in full prior to the trip.

What would you improve about this program?
Communication between volunteers and who they are helping could be better, such as before volunteering to verify dates and working details and if/when they are needed

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