I am a management consultant, taking a break from work. I am an extensive traveler, and India has always been the goal destination for me. I found a great program where I could travel and feel the culture / country on a more personal level, at the same time doing some meaningful activities during my stay. I was in Delhi for 2 weeks, for a street children program. The program involves teaching English and math to children from a slum area in Delhi.
The placement is located in Okhla Phase I, which is a slum area, which is typically not a destination for tourists. Despite the high English level and easiness in getting around in Delhi, what I experienced in Okhla was something completely new. The neighbors of Okhla were first wary of my visits, but soon after were all welcoming with great smiles whenever I walked down the narrow paths of the colorful buildings. Children were caring and giving, despite their young ages. They were accepting me from day one, sharing anything they could, to make me feel at home. They even offered me to live in their houses, so that I didn't have to go back to Korea.
The children are easily inspired and motivated with even the slightest encouragement to their work and effort. They all have passion and find joy in learning. Even during the 2 weeks of time, with some personalized tutoring and lessons, they even showed great improvements in their class work. It was even possible to see their engagement and attendance level to class was higher. It is a great motivation not only for children, but also to the volunteers. They motivated me in a way to see the areas I have never seen before, and find beauty and passion there. It was truly a magnificent experience.
2) Local staff
Before coming to the trip, and throughout, I was in very good care from all the staff at Volunteering India. The level of care I got from them were so personal and considerate, I feel like I have made good friends in India as well. From accommodation, getting a sim card, photo copies, groceries, buying school supplies, tours within Delhi, and even tours outside of Delhi - all the staff took my problems as their own and did their best to make my stay enjoyable and easy.
I personally thanked all the staff as well, because through them, I feel like I understood the real sides of India, not just as a tourist. I feel like the understandings I had regarding the culture and history made me experience India on a much deeper level.
The time in Delhi has made me realize and experience so many things about myself and the world around. Although it was a 'volunteering trip', I feel like I received so much more from India, than what I could give during the trip. This has inspired me greatly to get involved continuously and plan my next trip around. I would definitely recommend to others who are searching themselves, and figure out what they want to do to add value to their surroundings.