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My first time volunteering abroad
Submitted by Kim Leong ng - Singapore City Singapore | November 27, 2016
I have been a volunteer back at my home country during my free time but it was never an easy task to decide whether to be an international volunteer, for I did not know what to expect, particularly when I was to be in a foreign land. Yet, the whole idea of volunteering abroad was so enticing that I thought that it would be a golden chance for me to step out of my comfort zone and to give back to the wider society. Then, I started the process including researching available volunteering opportunities overseas and communicating with the relevant contact of the organisation. Having reviewed fellow volunteers' experiences, I signed up for an orphanage care and education program in Nepal with Volunteers Without Borders.
Seven hours of road trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara, the destination of my volunteer work, was tiring but worthwhile with the scenic view of Himalayas range along the journey. I was greeted by Krishna as soon as I arrived in Pokhara. Krishna has been an active volunteer ever since he graduated from school. Unsurprisingly, he was the founder of the orphanage in which I would be helping in. The orphanage was called "The Love Company". Very much to its name, the orphanage provided not only shelter and foods for the children but also education and, most importantly, a "home" for them. I realised that "living in abundance" had always been taken for granted by many of us coming from a privileged background. However, the children could barely make ends meet, much less abundance. Hence, the existence of this orphanage was certainly a great comfort for the kids.
There were a total of 12 children in the orphanage. It was a challenge initially for me to bond with them given the language barrier and the difference in personality among the kids. But it did not take me long to get to know them and mingle with them. On a daily basis, I had a set routine which was to send the little kids to the school, to fetch them back after school, and to help them with their homework. As there was also another female volunteer, we split among ourselves in terms of the teaching responsibility. She took care of the girls while I handled the boys' homework. It really struck me of how talented the kids were despite their lack of access to various learning opportunities. An example was Rahul who could draw amazingly well even though he had never learnt drawings. His great observance and meticulousness were beyond my imagination.
Beyond helping out in the orphanage, I did have a few hours of free time every day that allowed me to explore the city. I rented a boat and toured around Phewa lake in order to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city while enjoying the breathtaking view of the mountains. Having said that, I could still hear the indistinct honking of the cars on the road! I thought it would be lovely to view the city and the Himalayas range from a higher spot. Thus, I decided to go for a sunrise viewing from Sarangkot and had to withstand the chilly weather before dawn was breaking. Eventually, my determination paid off when I saw the amazing views despite the foggy weather.
My time in Nepal was barely a week but the life experience I have gathered was far-reaching. The down-to-earth and positive attitude displayed by Krishna, the children, fellow volunteer, and the locals have taught me to see things, or perhaps life, from a different perspective. Sometimes, all we need to do is to slow down the pace of our lives and feel the breathing. This is what you need to live to the fullest, regardless of your social status.
Amazing first volunteering experience
Submitted by Charlotte van Beek - Hogeschool Zuyd | November 20, 2016
I've had an amazing time volunteering in Nepal.
I found The Love Company by just searching on Google. I e-mailed with Krishna (he responds very fast!) and before I knew it, everything was organised! I flew to Kathmandu and was picked up and brought to my hotel. Next day I took the taxi & went with the bus to Pokhara, where Krishna was waiting for me. From the moment I landed to the moment I met Krishna, everything was perfectly organised & I didn't have to do anything. Krishna is a wonderful man who welcomes you with open arms (literally!). He made me feel very welcome & like I had a friend here immediatly.
From that day onwards I had breakfast at Krishna's every day (an apple, banana, egg and delicious-just-made bread). After breakfast I walked to the orphanage and brought the children to school. The children are so lovely and nice and energetic. They're all very happy. After bringing the kids to school, you have time for yourself. Pokhara is a great city and there's much to do but it's also a great place to feel relaxed and just chill at a café.
At 15.00 the youngest children must be picked up again and then you go back to the orphanage with them. At 16.00 the older ones arrive by themselves. You have a snack with them and then there's free time!
I spend the free time doing homework with them, doing each others hair, doing henna, sprinting with the guys, reading, talking and of course taking lots & lots of pictures with them.
The house mother (who is so lovely though she doesn't speak English) makes you dinner. Her Dal Bhat (rice with veggies and lentils, with some variation) is very filling and delicious.
Just before dark you say goodbye to the kids and go back to your hotel. You have the evenings for yourself!
All in all I've had an amazing experience here. It exceeded my expectations and I'm sure I'll never ever ever forget this experience.
I would definitely recommend going to The Love Company Orphanage!!
A wonderful life lesson
Submitted by Yoann - Paris France | April 04, 2016
I've been volunteering for the Love Company for 2 weeks and it has been a very fulfilling experience!
The people on site were all very welcoming and attentive. The children were simply amazing, very smart and outgoing and eager to learn. They really live as a family and treat each other in a very caring way.
Since they were on holiday when I arrived we mostly played sports, we did painting and drawing and played games. So if you're coming mostly to help for their studies I think it would be wise to contact the orphanage before to come at the right time.
I would easily recommend to come to the love Company, I had a wonderful time with very nice people and I've learned a lot from the children, so don't hesitate!
The Love Company
Submitted by Simon - Auckland New Zealand | March 30, 2016
I recently spent just over two months assisting at the Love Company orphanage in Pokhara. I had volunteered there before so I had an idea of what to expect.
The orphanage is home to 16 children aged between 3 and 15. The children all attend the local school, which caters for kindergarten age right through to teenagers. I found it to be very well run. The children are always well-fed, well dressed, clean and most importantly they are happy.
The main responsibilities for volunteers are meeting the children in the morning, getting them ready for school then dropping them off, and then helping with homework after school. The children are fun to be around, very active and intelligent, and genuinely appreciative of our time. I had a great time with them and will really miss them.
Breakfast and lunch are included in the program, as is accommodation at a local guest house (there is a 15-20 minute walk to the orphanage or it is a 300 rupee cab ride). Between 10am and 3pm volunteers have free time to explore Pokhara, second city of Nepal and an adventurer's paradise. Saturday was our day off but there was never a dull moment.
If you are interested in volunteering, and you would like to come to Nepal, I would have no hesitation in recommending Krishna and his team at the Love Company.
Feel the love with the love company
Submitted by Fiona - Cumbria United Kingdom | March 26, 2016
I have just come back from volunteering at The Love Company and it was the best volunteer experience I have ever done. When you first get to Kathmandu it can be a bit unnerving as there is so much going on but as soon as I got to the hotel I had no worries at all. They were so welcoming and made sure I got on the right bus for my journey to Pokhara the next day.
Krishna was waiting at the other end for me and I was taken straight to my hotel before going to the orphanage. As soon as I got to the orphanage the children ran up to me and took my hands. It was like they had always known you. There are 16 children between the ages of 4 and 15 and they are looked after by their house mother. It was so nice to see the older ones helping out. It felt like a proper family home. One of the youngest, Simran, never stopped smiling the whole time I was there.
I had so much time with the children unlike other volunteer placements I have done. I got to take the youngest ones to school and pick them up. They are always so pleased to see you. Then I helped them with their homework before playtime and dinner. I never wanted to leave at the end of the day.
You have some free time to explore Pokhara too and every morning Krishna and his wife give you breakfast at their house.
I went to Nepal on my own not really knowing anything about the country but there is nothing to worry about. The people are so nice it's like they are all taking care of you. If you only volunteer once then make it the Love Company Orphanage. You won't regret it and I can't wait to go back.