Why You Meet the Best People Volunteering Abroad

Women in Student Government Nathaniel Feldmann

Rebecca reflects on the inspiring people she's met while volunteering in India.

One of the best parts of travelling is meeting new people. I have met so many wonderful, interesting locals, travellers and expats over the past year and a half. It is really amazing to hear new opinions, perspectives and ambitions. You will meet inspiring people everywhere—you just have to put yourself out there and chat to people you don’t know, and I promise you will find friends who change your life and impact your goals.

So what does this have to do with volunteering? Well, imagine if you were surrounded by people who spent months of their lives helping others? Imagine the great people you’d meet!

There are a large number of 18-year-old volunteers spending a year of their lives in India, teaching under-privileged women. Can you imagine spending your 18th year away from your friends and family, in a challenging city, constantly hearing about and working with abused women? I can’t picture having the courage to volunteer here at that young, rebellious age. It is truly amazing what they are doing, and you just know that these volunteers are going to make a positive difference in the world for the rest of their lives.

There are also volunteers who saved money for months, fundraised and quit their jobs to work for free in order to help women who would otherwise have no education. Some work directly with the students, some work at the sewing centres that help women financially support themselves and some work in administration to ensure that the NGO will continue to run at the best of its ability. 

Everyone has the same goal—to help those who are less fortunate than themselves. Everyone here is generous, motivated, and self-less. You couldn’t ask for better people to surround yourself with. I could go on and on about the volunteers I have had the privilege to meet and get to know, but I want to focus on one person in particular.

Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself "that person is going to change the world?"

Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself that person is going to change the world? Like actually, truly felt like their passion and commitment will leave a positive impact everywhere they go? Well, there is one volunteer here who I believe fits that description.

He works at an affiliated organization, but often comes over to update us all on his wonderful work. The reason why he is involved with our NGO is because his two main projects of the moment are in Setrawa, a small dessert village where two of our empowerment centres are located. In Setrawa, he has—pretty much on his own—set up a student government at the local school, comprised of half boys and half girls, despite the school ratio being six boys for every one girl. The goals of the student government will help develop leadership skills and gender equality, as well as creating an environment that ensures the continuation of education for female students. Pretty impressive, eh?

But that isn’t even the end of it. He has also developed a composting project, which will be lead by five of the local women for a source of income. Not only will this project use some of the school’s waste products, but it also has the potential to expand and become a major business selling fertilizer to farmers. Environmentally conscious and empowering women—does it get better than that? What this particular volunteer has done is incredible.

To say that the volunteers I worked with are inspiring is an understatement. All of my new friends are going to find their place in the world and I guarantee that they will all make positive impacts wherever they end up. I am lucky enough to have the resources to volunteer and meet all of these admirable people. Travelling is great for meeting people, but volunteering is great for meeting the best of people.

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Published in Volunteer Abroad Blogs
Rebecca Chant

Rebecca Chant’s 12-month round-the-world solo trip led her to take action against gender inequality. She currently volunteers at Sambhali Trust women’s empowerment centre in Jodhpur, India.

Website: www.femvocates.com

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