Volunteer’s report

Toma, 32

I was volunteering in WIDE for 10 month (October 2015 – July 2016). If your heart longs for something meaningful and you feel you don’t fit where you are right now, this family and their daily challenges is the place where you could be and could recharge your heart with something beautiful and meaningful!

My plan was to stay for 2 month and I already had plane tickets back to my country, but once I had to leave I felt I want to stay longer with them and help more with their projects. I have changed my plans twice so at the end it happened that I have stayed for almost a year, and it was one of my best decisions I have ever made.

WIDE family besides their daily life, challenges and small projects, with the help of friends, volunteers they focus on 2 big projects that will bring support for them in the future and will ensure sustainability: its is ORGANIC FARM and RETREAT CENTRE & GUEST HOUSE (more you can find on their website: https://widechildrenshome.wordpress.com/project/on-going-projects/). Together with other volunteers we made presentations for these projects (detailed development plan, descriptions, budgets and etc.) so that it would be more easy for them to present and explain the projects for people who are interested in. We also made handy posters to present these projects. During my stay I also made fundraising campaign to contribute financially to the development of Organic Farm.

Beside these 2 projects, I helped developing and updating their website, Facebook account, helping Kumari, the Mother of the children and the founder of this beautiful place, with different administrative work. All this work mainly was done on week-days when children used to be at school.

In the evenings or weekends when all family used to be at home we together with Priya, daughter of Kumari who lives together and helps her mother to run the home, and other volunteers used to organise different activities for children: like learning games, meditation courses, art activities and etc. I have also organised Earth Day event to raise awareness about stop littering and keeping environment clean, and together with children we cleaned our surrounding. Kumari and her family are very open to new ideas, that are beneficiary for children and help them grow, so if you have great specific ideas you would like to implement during your stay just bring them, share, discuss and it will turn in a beautiful projects!

Kumari and her family is an inspiration how to live life higher than you, higher than your personal needs, a life that not only literally changes the lives of all children in their home, but also a life that contributes to a better humanity with trust in kindness, human connection and love without boundaries! Their dedication you can simply feel and see in big smiles of children growing there. It is the best reflection of their work and I am very grateful and happy I could be part of this ❤

Miss you very much and love you my WIDE family ❤
Toma Miss

 

Daniel, 28

What a place! The children at this children’s Home are so well looked after in all parts of their life. It was a pleasure to spend time there with them and help my own little ways.
I spent just over 2 weeks here, doing a little bit of everything but between 5 and 8 I was mainly playing / helping / teaching the kids. They’re a lovely bunch, loving and kind and love to play games.

Kumari (mum), Xavier (dad) and Priya (daughter) run the home with dedication, love and with the children’s best interests at heart.
They also like to feed you until you want to burst!
Toma, a long term volunteer there was also on hand to make me feel at home around the place and the town in general.

I’ve come back to London with such heart ache that I’m fundraising and collecting stuff to send out. Only special kinds of places make you feel that way.

Thanks Kumari, Priya, Xavier & Toma. See you next year ❤

 

Johanna, 23

My name is Johanna and I’m a 23 years old nurse student from Sweden. I spent one month during December 2015 to do a field study (during a course called ”Field studies in culture and health”). I am very thankful I took this opportunity and that Kumari let me into her big family. Kumari and her family have a unique way to make this orphanage feel like a big family more than an institution. During my time there I was writing a report about children’s ability to extension, both to themself in order to self-confidence and self-esteem, but also the children’s ability to connect and find trust around people even though they don’t grow up with their parents. I was so surprised and impressed about WIDE’s work for the children, the atmosphere is very open which make children open-minded and free and they have the opportunity to be curious and discover and develop themselves. The children also have so much space to express themselves and find their skills and strength.

As a volunteer at WIDE you spend a lot of time with the family and the children. We always had breakfast with Kumari and her food is so good!!! I miss her food while writing. She’s really taking care of her volunteers and she’s always making sure you’re feeling good and are satisfied. Lunch and dinner we had together with the children mostly which was a great way to interact with the children. Children are really open-minded and so friendly. Also it was a real pleasure to see how Kumari’s daughter Priya and son Babloo really was like sister and brother to all the children, they have the biggest hearts I ever meet!

During my stay I was helping children with their homework, prepared a dance program with smallest children for the traditional New Year’s event, updated children’s activity boards in girls’ and boys’ rooms, with other volunteers we were making Christmas greeting card and video, I also helped with children weekend activities in art.

I really recommend visiting WIDE Children’s Home. Also it’s a perfect way to get to know a new culture as Priya and the rest of the family really brings you into the family and their life. During my time at WIDE I was at baptism for their friends baby, went to meditation together with Priya, meet friends and family of the family, participated in family-dinners and celebrations, I really felt like I was one of them!

 

Emilie, 28

My name is Emilie, I’m an architect from France. I spent 2 months in WIDE Children’s Home (from October to December, 2015) and it was really great experience! I’m so glad to meet WIDE family and see this place! Now, it’s written for ever in my heart…

I discovered this orphanage as 2 of my friends came here and stayed 1 night in the air bnb room a year ago. Together with others volunteers, who were staying at the same time, we did a fense for the children’s garden, flyers and posters to present children’s home and to promote some events, projects, and fundraising. I also worked with Organic Farm and Retreat Center projects (made a plan, programs form projects and etc.). When children used to be back from school, we used to spent time together: doing homework, playing together. So days were full of activities!

I have so much respect for Kumari and her family. I thank them a lot for this exchange and what they do every day!

 

Niklas, 20

Hey, my name is Niklas, I’m 20 years old and come from Germany. I will leave on tomorrow after my 6 weeks long stay with the WIDE family. The time I spend here was a wonderful experience I don’t want to miss anymore! When I arrived I was overwhelmed by the love and energy the kids showed me from the beginning. After my long journey and after I had overcome all the small obstacles on my way here, They all welcomed me so nicely and sweet that I immediately forgot all the troubles I had and felt like at home at once.

The following days I spent much time with the kids and the family, learning more about everyone and how things work in the family and in India in general. Thanks to Kumari I nearly never felt homesick or uncomfortable in any way because she was taking care for me as if I was one of her children.

I always had much to do around her even though I was never pushed to do anything. I just had more ideas to help than I could manage in the short time I spend here, because there is always a lot to do! But Kumari always appreciates new and good ideas. I’m happy that I at least got some small projects done to improve the situation of the home at least a little bit.

So all in all I have to say that everyone in this family is great! You can’t think of more adorable and lovely children like the ones you will meet here. Kumari and her whole family really takes you in as one of your own and also Pown (the caretaker and former child of the home) is always there for you if anything is missing or not working in your room.

The only thing you have to keep in mind, when you come to India and want to work on something, is to not plan too much in advance. At the end everything will not be exactly as expected 🙂

 

Josephine, 18

Hey, my name is Josephine; I am 18 years old and from Germany. I am currently a volunteer at WIDE, and I am here to tell you a little about the home, so that you get an impression of what it’s like.

– The Children –
All 32 of them are the most adorable, loving creatures in the world! On the day of my arrival they approached me openly, eager to get to know me and tell me their names. The second I saw them I forgot the exhausting journey and all my homesickness, as they invited me to play with them and hear their stories. I would say their smiles are the sweetest thing I ever saw, if it wasn’t for their eyes.

– The Family –
Kumari and Xavier, the parents of Baboolu and Priya, are truly the parents of all the children, and I could tell Kumari is the mother of many the second saw her. There is just some very caring and protecting air about her, which made me feel comfortable and safe from the beginning. When we arrived at WIDE we were greeted by Priya, Baboolu and Xavier, and I felt very much at home. If I was to make a dictionary one day and needed a definition for hospitality, I would probably just take this family as an example. Even though you could say that Kumari is maybe just a little bit too eager to make you eat enough 🙂:). Don’t get me wrong, the food is delicious, but you must be ready to clearly insist that you are full, unless you want your stomach to explode.

– The Experience –
As a volunteer at WIDE I must say that not only I got a first-hand experience of India and Indian lifestyle, I also got a second family and home. Being with the children does good to the soul and staying here already made me a more satisfied and happy person.


Julia, 18

Hey, my name is Julia, I’m 18 years old and I’ve just come back from a wonderful stay at WIDE. During these four weeks I was experiencing a lot of love and hospitality given by Kumari, her family and the children. On my arrival Kumari hugged me, asked me whether I felt good, whether I was hungry or tired and the children shouted ‘Welcome, Miss! How are you’ and wanted to take my luggage. Thus, I felt home from the very start.

There are several things to do in order to help the orphanage. While the children were at school (from 8am to 5pm) I created a new official website about WIDE Children’s Home and an official E-Mail-Account. Together with another volunteer I also designed some posters which will be put up in some aashrams to promote the orphanage. Besides, we contacted some organisations which might be able to help the orphanage financially or in other way.

After 5pm I spent the whole time with the children. Singing, reading, dancing, laughing, acting – this is what the children loved to do with the other volunteers and me. I think they’d be even happy if you just sit next to them and watch them doing their homework or anything else. I really enjoyed these funny hours.

But as I said not only the children gave me a feeling of being welcome, it was also Kumari and her family who tried everything to make my stay perfect. And they really succeeded!

Paying a lot of attention to my western stomach, Kumari and her daughter only used few hot spices for cooking. Furthermore, the volunteers eat rice only once a day whereas the family and the children eat it three times a day. Representing a ‘perfect mother’, Kumari also want you to eat a lot – maybe a bit too much for western habits and stomachs 🙂

All in all, Kumari’s, her family’s and the children’s hospitality, care and love touched me and I’m grateful and happy that I was able to have this experience!

Feel free to take a look at some photos I’ve taken of the children. Just click here!


Jenny, 22

Hi everyone! My name ist Jenny, I have been a volunteer to this wonderful home for nearly 7 weeks. A time, I will never forget. In this time I learned so much about Indian culture, people (especially the kids), life and of course food ;) Experiences you would not be able to do when you decide to travel around India as a tourist.

From my first day of arrival to the last day I felt comfortable and welcomed in WIDE Childrens Home.
Like the other volunteers I was having fun with the children when they came home from school.
Whenever I had a problem, I didn’t doubt to consult Kumari who started to become my Indian mother during this time ;)

All together:
Unforgetful time full of joy, worthy experiences and very beloved people who will stay in my heart forever.

I would definitely volunteer there again :)

Cheers ;)

Blog by Robby Pagels: http://pagelsindia.blogspot.com/

Blog “World by biclycle”:

http://travelingbybicycle2013.wordpress.com/tiruvannamali/