I spent three weeks with my friends volunteering with VWI in Jaipur, India. We spent our time teaching english classes in a school, we work for 2 weeks with the street children program and 1 week with women program. Overall, it was an amazing experience and offered a truly unique insight into Indian culture. VWI links up with grass-roots projects in India and the staff involved in our project were very supportive. From the beginning, we felt safe and at home with our Indian host family, and the staff were in regular contact with us and dealt with any issues we had straight away.
One of my favourite aspects of the program was living with an Indian family. Every day my host mother make nice chai (team for me ) which was so great to charge up my body.Being totally immersed into family life and getting to know the students in our classes proved to be the best introduction to Indian culture. We learnt so much more in those three weeks about India than in the other 5 weeks we spent backpacking around Rajasthan.
The school experience was very enlightening, and although we would have appreciated some more information about what learning materials to bring with us, we really enjoyed it. The volunteer experience will only improve as the school program and curriculum better develops. For most of the children, we were involved in the only 'formal' education they would receive in their life, and that was quite confronting at times.
If nothing else, my time in India reminded me of the important things in life. As actions speak louder than words, the best review I can give VWI would be to say that we enjoyed our time in India so much that we are looking at going back to India and helping the school further!