“The three months (more or less) of volunteering at Didi’s orphanage in Jaipur have been one of the most beautiful and important experiences of my life (these are not conventional words or an exaggerated statement).
Even though my knowledge about the way the center works and the tasks I am going to perform there was tiny, I always felt very safe during the whole process of the trip preparation, thanks to the support of Naimeya, who also supported me with general recommendations and advice about India, the purchase of flights, contracting medical insurance, etc… Now, once I have lived through everything, I can say that I was lucky to have organized this trip through a conscious and transparent volunteering platform like this: only through it I was able to contact Didi’s wonderful project in Jaipur, which would have been practically impossible for me to get to know without this mediation.
This small foster home, which currently hosts around forty girls between the ages of 7 and 18, is a real, true and courageous project that bypasses all the bureaucracy and the lucrative fund of so many other volunteer offers. It is not a project created to cover a need of the volunteer (camps, solidarity vacations …), the volunteer is a guest in a real home, where he/she is received with the greatest hospitality in the world (something very common in the Indian culture), and coexists as a family member with them.
Obviously, upon my arrival I spoke to Didi about what was expected from me and we agreed on specific tasks as a starting point, totally flexible. Due to my abilities, I took care especially of the youngest girls, the fact of living three months in the house meant that I connected and lived with all of them. In the afternoons I was a teacher of a group of 4 girls who were studying the equivalent of 1st-2nd grade of elementary school: I assisted them in doing their homework, I helped them in preparing different exams (mathematics, computer science, natural and social sciences …) and I taught them English. Didi attaches great importance to education and teaches her pupils that this is their true path of liberation and autonomy for tomorrow.
Apart from the afternoon classes, the other specific task that I developed was to tutor a group of 5 little girls and strengthen their hygiene habits. Apart from these daily tasks, the volunteer can collaborate here as he/she wishes and when he/she wishes. In my case, I also helped from time to time in the preparation of food, cutting or conditioning vegetables, cleaning common areas…
I have learned a lot from Didi and the girls. I loved their ability to invent games and their skills for manual work, as well as for doing hairstyles. We made greeting cards for each birthday, we made cutout dolls, and they loved to draw.
I only have words of gratitude and love for Didi and my girls. The house, in a humble neighborhood to the south of the city, is large and clean, three floors crowned by a bright roof terrace from that looks to the buzz of the city. As a volunteer I had a room for myself (shared in case more volunteers come), and a bathroom for me too, with hot water provided, which is accessed through a shared gallery. From the first day I was welcomed with the most sincere hospitality and the most sincere affection. They always made sure that I was comfortable, they made me special food without chili and Didi was always solicitous to help me in any procedure.
I believe that volunteering has been the best decision I have made so far in my life: I knew that the world could be more than the toxic spiral of work to accumulate money and pay a mortgage that we are sometimes forced to pay; I am infinitely grateful to Didi and the girls for giving me the opportunity to confirm this thought, as well as Naimeya, who made me knock on the right door, among so many false ones. Hopefully I can come back soon. I have learned so much from Didi and the girls… I have received so much, without why, without expecting anything in return. I am infinitely grateful for having been able to live these almost three months at their side, as one more didi.”