Last month I worked with GVI in Pokhara, Nepal on the Womens Empowerment Programme. I was a first time Volunteer and was one of 3 more mature volunteers in the project working alongside a dozen younger volunteers, mostly students or in their mid 20s. The age difference was not an issue in any way - we were all there to make a difference and all did this this in our own ways.
I chose to take this first step into voluteering as something completely different from my career at home at a time when I felt I needed a new challenge. I was uncertain of precisely what I was letting myself in for and even after arriving on project, I was still unsure of exactly what I would be doing, but once we met the ladies and children and the project was in full swing, the impact of the work that GVI is doing and the contribution that I could make soon became apparent.
I have no formal teaching experience , so elements of the lesson planning were a challenge at first, but soon felt more natural. I would say to first time volunteers, be prepared to put in some time each day for preparation and you will enjoy the teaching far more knowing that you are organised!
The Nepali ladies on the project without exception were keen to learn, and the support from the local project staff was excellent. By the end of the 2 weeks , despite the relatively short time, I and others all felt that we had made a difference to the individuals that we had worked with.
The work in the local primary schools was an unexpected element of the project for me, but equally rewarding. Just like the ladies, the children were keen to learn and appreciative of the one to one and small group support that they do rarely get in their normal classroom environment.
The third element of our work , with the ladies of Sasane was potentially the most challenging given the issues being faced by these ladies. Whilst we didn't spend much time at Sasane due to the programme and festivals, the sessions we did there provided great examples of the tremendous work done by Sasane supporting victims and those affected by human trafficking.
At the end of my 2 weeks the obvious question was "would i do it again ' and the answer was a clear Yes.
If you are a potential Volunteer wondering if this is for you i would encourage you to seriously consider GVI . You don't need any formal qualifications, just your own individual life experiences, a willingness to have a go, and an open mind.
Give it a go and like me you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner!