Being a developing country with too many societal concerns that need to be addressed, India welcomes hundreds of volunteers every year. They travel from far away lands with the noble aim of making some meaningful contribution towards the well-being of the people.
While choosing the most suitable volunteering project with children in India, participants often get confused between the Orphanage Program and the Street Children Program that are available in the capital city of New Delhi.
So, let’s take a quick look at this article and try to understand what are the basic differences between these projects.
According to a data, there are 20 million orphans in India who have either been abandoned by their parents or have lost both the parents. These children had fallen prey to the adversities of life and burdened by misfortune. The study also highlighted that a large number of orphans in India experience the real struggle for survival, often living alone and having no access to education and other welfare measures. Some of these children end up being trafficked or pushed into illegal activities.
Several NGOs in New Delhi have been working towards this cause and many of them are provided shelter at the orphanages, where they not only get access to a roof overhead and meal, but they also get basic education and medical treatments when required. These Shelter Homes become a sort of family for these kids, and when you choose to volunteer here, you also become a part of their family.
The kids residing at these homes have a fixed schedule and volunteers have to abide by that. Usually, the day starts early and the older kids are assigned the work of cleaning the premises, making the beds etc. Volunteers can assist the kids in doing this work. Those who have interest in cooking can help the kitchen staff in preparing the food for the children. Some participants can also help in administrative work, as and when required.
Apart from that, the main task of the volunteers will be to shower the kids with immense love and care and help them dream for a better life.
These kids have not chosen to be here, but what you can do is to show them a world that’s waiting to embrace them.
Teach basic lessons, depending on the age group of the kids. Volunteers often take part in renovation work. Use your creativity and add more colors and vibrancy to the entire environment where they live. You can also play games with them, teach them how to draw, paint or make origami items. Sometimes, older kids attend the regular government schools and they might need assistance in doing their homework.
Seeking the permission of the coordinator, you can also take the kids out for an excursion to the zoo or the museums, which will be an educative tour for them.
Cara from Pittsburgh volunteered for the Orphanage Program:
As the name suggests, the Street Children Program essentially deals with the kids who are pavement dwellers. India has nearly 100 million street children, of whom, about 1,75,000 can be found in New Delhi itself. These children either live with their families on the streets or have run away from rural areas to seek shelter in the city.
A good number of these kids can be spotted at the railway stations or traffic signals, where they sell flowers, water bottles, newspapers etc., hoping to earn a few bucks. Evidently, the kids live an underprivileged life.
There are certain centers and small schools set up by NGOs, which provide free education to these children. They come to these schools for 4 – 5 hours daily, and later, return back to their shacks. Volunteers opting for this project are usually placed in these Street Children Schools which are mainly located in the slum areas of the city.
The schools are not in good condition and often, there’s a lack of proper facilities. Volunteering Solutions, in collaboration with other organizations, has been successful in providing the basic necessities like blackboards, books, and notebooks as well as mid-day meals for the kids attending these schools.
Volunteers will have the main role of teaching at these schools, where the teacher-student ratio is extremely poor.
Teach them about health and hygiene, about the moral lessons of not to harm anyone and not to steal, how to live a good life etc. You can also tell them stories, listen to their stories, and give wings to their imagination.
You can make the most of your creative ideas and paint the walls with numbers and alphabets so that the kids can learn quickly. Activity-based learning methods will surely come handy. Plan your days ahead, and keep the kids engaged as long as you are there.
Moria Patricia from Ireland volunteered for the Street Children Project:
Love the kids as much as you can, and you’ll get back more in return. Most of our volunteers have a tough time while leaving the project after the end of their duration.
While majorly the work would remain the same, there’s a very thin line between these two projects.
No matter which one you choose to be a part of, the experience will be immensely enriching for you. You’ll get to spend your days with these little ones who have seen the most adverse conditions and yet, they know how to be happy and love unconditionally. They have an urge to learn, and all you’ll have to do is to shower them will knowledge and creativity.
Come, spread happiness, and make a difference!
Riyanka is a traveler who is keen on exploring different parts of the world. She’s a travel blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories. Being a die-hard ‘mountain-aholic‘, her favorite destinations are all around the Himalayas! She can spend days gazing at the snow-capped mountains, binge on Maggi and lemon-honey-ginger tea, and reading Ruskin Bond books.
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