Independent Placement

Nepal - March 2010

"My name is India and so for obvious reasons I have always wanted to go and visit the country.  I decided to take a gap year after finishing my A-levels to travel to the country, which is my namesake and to do some volunteering.

I know lots of other girls, older than me, who had taken gap years to volunteer abroad, had spent a lot of money on their project, but found it to be a complete waste of time. I didn't want to do that, and so I spent a very long time searching the web for a legitimate and reliable charity, which took volunteers to India. I decided AidCamps would be perfect.

Steve was incredibly helpful and actually advised me to take a placement in Nepal instead as the work and environment with their link there was more suitable to my requirements. Having travelled a lot throughout my teens and taken quite intrepid ‘off the beaten track' trips with my parents I wanted a real, raw experience and to live like the local people do. My main request was that I would live with a local family close to the charity placement and not in a hostel.

Steve found me exactly what I wanted though it probably isn't what most volunteers ask for. I lived with the most wonderful extended family of 15. They are Tharu people (a local tribe) and live a very traditional lifestyle, which I was able to learn so much about during my stay.

I raised money before leaving home to put towards a building in the local school and spent my time there attempting to teach English in that same school. I got to know the headmaster well and formed strong bonds with several teachers.  Actually teaching, was quite a daunting experience, and I was shocked at just how bad the Nepali education system is and how bad their textbooks are.

Unfortunately my stay overlapped with the exam period and then the school holidays (I went travelling for this period) and then by the time the school re-opened the temperatures had gotten up to 45 degrees and I couldn't bear to stay.

Even though I didn't really get to teach the children so much I had such an amazing experience. I loved every minute of it (apart from when it was 45 degrees) and the experience didn't feel at all contrived or aimed towards what westerners might want, it was completely honest and everyone was very welcoming.

AidCamps' idea of getting volunteers to raise money before they go and choose to spend it when they arrive was perfect. The more time I spent in the school, the more I wanted to help them and help the local community. I would never have wanted to hand out cash to people, but by giving money through AidCamps for the school building, I could give without really letting any locals know how I had helped them. I felt this was much more dignified for both parties.

While I was in Nepal, I had a local coordinator to call for help, though I only called him once. AidCamps kind of handed over to the local charity for the duration of my stay but when I had any problems with them, AidCamps were so quick to sort things out and were generally just so helpful. I am so glad that I chose to volunteer with AidCamps and particularly that I was able to live with a local family in a rural village like I've always wanted to (I stayed with them for about a month in total)."



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