My time volunteering
I was a volunteer with the Society to Uplift the Rural Economy (SURE). I was their organizational development adviser but I also mentored the staff, gave workshops on business skills upgrades, helped with fund raising and represented the organization to foreign visitors. I also helped out on many of the various projects SURE was involved in.
One of the projects involved helping a small village outside of Barmer, Rajasthan. The semi-arid Thar Desert was having a drought and this had severe consequences for the villagers.
see our report at http://societytoupliftruraleconomy.blogspot.com/2009/09/drought-in-rajasthan-2009.html
The impact of my placement
The drought relief project was directed under Chanchal Tailong and myself. Mrs. Tailong was a consultant for SURE and I represented the organization directly which allowed us to find funding to help the villagers.
My unforgettable moments
On another project funded by Sight Savers International, I went with SURE staff out to a small village in the desert. The man we went to see was a blind man that SURE had helped him set up a small shop (peti shop) in his village to give him a lively-hood. Still, being a blind person reduced his stature in the village as a sick person. When a white western person, ME, went to visit him, all the villagers gathered round to pay respects to this event. His stature was greatly improved. I didn't have to say a word, all I had to do was to be a white foreigner.
The impact my placement has had on me
After my two years in India, I decided to volunteer with VSO in China, where I ended up staying almost 5 years wortking with an environmental NGO in Chengdu.
Post Box No. 29, Gurudwara Road