In January 2019 at 19 years old, I will be travelling alone to volunteer in Asia for 3 months.
In month one, I will be visiting Nepal, a country that hasn't caught up with the changing world. Because of this, many of its people live in poverty yet remain as proud and welcoming as ever. I will be living in a Nepalese Buddhist monastery teaching monks English and learning about their way of life. The majority of the children at the monasteries are Tibetan refugees and impoverished children from ethnic hill tribes. Becoming a monk offers many children the chance of a better life. Young monks are taught about Buddhist practises and philosophies as well as receiving general mainstream education – including learning English. The ability to speak English allows monks to translate religious text and communicate the teachings of Buddhism to all. As the Dalai Lama said, “To learn English is to spread the word”.
In month two, I will be visiting India to become engaged in the lives of underprivileged children in orphanages. 7% of all children in India are orphans. Orphanages across India lack the funding, resources and manpower to look after these vulnerable children. All children deserve a safe haven to live and the nurturing in which to grow. In addition to the orphanage programmes I also get the chance to engage in community work with vulnerable children within the local area. In India, many of the children do not attend school as the parents cannot afford the fees or they have to take care of other siblings whilst their parents go to work. I will complete a series of house visits around the community to visit such children where they interact and play games with them, help improve their English, reading and writing skills.
My final month I will spend in Sri Lanka, a small country filled with 2,000-plus years of culture, 8 Unesco World Heritage Sites, beaches, rainforests, and welcoming people. During my four weeks in Sri Lanka I will be volunteering in an elephant sanctuary, providing the animals with much needed daily, hands-on care. Elephants play a big part in Sri Lankan culture and have been trained for religious, commercial and domestic purposes for thousands of years. I will be working alongside a mahout (elephant carer) who has years of experience and draws upon generations of tribal knowledge about elephants. The activities I will be getting involved with on a daily basis include feeding, washing, and walking the elephants, as well as cleaning and helping maintain the sites.
I am incredibly grateful to have even a chance of an opportunity of going on this trip. However due to the costs of this incredible trip it will not be possible without the generosity of donations. Thank you.