As many of you know, I will be in India for a month to volunteer full-time in Delhi (and sight-see in my spare time).
With the month of spare time I allotted myself for international travel, I could have easily visited a wide range of cities and countries as just a tourist; instead, however, I decided to volunteer (thereby limiting the amount of time I have to visit tourist attractions).
I have volunteered a lot locally, but not often in projects that make a substantial impact on society (eg. beer festivals, 5k registration).
Doing this volunteer project allows me to contribute to a meaningful cause, while also learning more by immersing myself in the culture for a longer period of time.
After volunteering for a week with Alternative Breaks at UCSD/UBELONG doing mostly manual labor for an environmental org and for a semester in Shanghai teaching English to elementary school migrant children I knew I wanted to volunteer abroad again–but, this time, for an extended period of time for a cause that had a more direct impact for the NGO/community, and on a project that involved more local interaction.
The volunteer project consists of working for an NGO that supports children and people with disabilities.
The center is currently closed for the summer, but will resume after two weeks. In the meantime, I will be helping update the website and creating informational materials. When school resumes, I will most likely be going to the school and interacting with the children.
There are projects all over the world in causes that are equally as compelling and important. I chose India because the culture is so different from that of those in countries I have visited before (Europe, China, Ecuador, Morocco).
India is in a unique position as a developing nation full of contradictions and change. Moreover, the country has such a rich and complex history that has influenced current societal norms.
Portrayals of developing nations are often sensationalized and I wanted to experience living in the country (in Delhi) for myself.
Maybe, one day, I will visit again and be able to witness the changes (and hopefully progress) that has been made.
Follow along in my journeys.