Have you ever had a feeling that you want to do something over and over again, but it never seems to be the right time? That’s how I always felt about volunteering abroad. Then in September 2017 everything slotted into place for me.
I was catching up on the last few episodes of Love Island 2017 and watched as Camilla mentioned to Jamie that he would have to do some charitable work with her when they got home. I checked her Instagram profile to see if they actually did, and that’s how I came across Indigo Volunteers. Who said you can’t learn anything from reality tv?!
I had a look on the Indigo Volunteers website, which was super easy to navigate, and found out that they support many projects around the world, as well as in India. I have a personal connection to India, and I knew volunteering there would be a very special experience for me.
After looking at a few in more detail, El Shaddai Charitable Trust stood out to me. They came across as the genuine, honest and well established organisation that I would have love to be involved in. Two months later I was on a plane to Goa.
My 6 week volunteering experience was so much more amazing than I ever imagined. I fell in love with all of the children and the staff that I spent time with, and I think I actually came away learning more from them, than they could ever learn from me.
I went on my own, and it was scary at times. Some of the things I saw and heard about upset me deeply, but being able to help in some way made it a little easier to cope with. People say that these kind of experiences change you – well they absolutely do! Indeed I went back for another 5 weeks.
I really wanted to help El Shaddai before my arrival by raising money for one of their many valuable community centres based in the slum area of Chimbel. This centre provides education to all the children in the area that would not have access to it otherwise. The kids love being there and are so enthusiastic to learn, but they had to do it on the floor due to lack of funds. Thanks to all the people who supported my crowdfunding campaign, we managed to buy chairs and tables, and to create a nice classroom for the children of Chimbel.
If you are considering volunteering then head over to the Indigo Volunteers website and have a look at all of the charitable organisations that really need your help. It’s honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life, I just wish I had done it sooner!