A New Volunteer’s Perspective

By | October 1, 2012

By Emma Sykes

Beginning my first visit to India to volunteer at Shikshan Gram, I touched down in Mumbai expecting to be overwhelmed by the number of people, the volume of noise, and the sheer scale of the vast and varied country I had read so much about.

And certainly that was my experience on the two and a half hour drive to Shikshan Gram, along an express-way where signalling is rare and appropriate ‘stopping distance’ is an apparently unknown concept!

Picture of child carrying bowls

Nonetheless, Shazar’s calming presence served to assure me that nothing was wrong, and that the constant beeping of horns and white-knuckle overtaking was all actually quite normal…

The environment I woke up to was, however, entirely different. My first few days in the Shelter have been incredibly peaceful. Of course the kids are dynamic, excitable, and constantly chattering. But out in the hills, their pace of life is slow, and considered- everything that needs to be done is done, but not with the urgency and impatience I’m used to. It’s definitely an adjustment I will enjoy making!

Picture of group of volleyball players
Already I can see how valuable the relationship between the children and the Shaolin students is. It’s great for the kids to have such kind and disciplined role models.

And it was a lot of fun to watch them lead Kung-Fu practice this evening around the volleyball net!  I have felt welcomed by everyone in the Shelter, and I am so grateful to have been taken into a family when I am so far from home.
Picture of Emma the volunteer and the children


Note from the editor: If you would like to volunteer here with us at Shikshan Gram.. you would b every welcome. We love having overseas volunteers for a short stay or a long stay. Contact us today to find out more about volunteering and helping our children.

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