Its now just over three weeks since I arrived in Fort Kochi, welcomed into a fantastic family and have been looked after by the Rainbow team who have organised presentations on Indian culture, trips around Fort Kochi and the surrounding area. I decided to spend two months far from home (Belgium), to have a complete change of lifestyle with no particular aim, but to be of help!
Arriving in Fort Kochi one quickly feels at ease. The local people are clearly used to tourists but this doesn’t detract from the charm, palm trees, sun, street art and pretty cafes makes for a relaxed atmosphere.
I started my volunteering adventure with an Australian girl who stayed for two weeks, together we quickly felt at ease at home, in the town and at the schools. A typical day begins with a yoga class with Sajee from 7-9am, then breakfast prepared by Linda (the mother in my family). At 9h45 a tutuk comes to collect us to take us to our first school, where we have one on one classes with the weakest children organised by the the headmistress and Rainbow staff.
At mid-day the tutuk collects us again to take us where ever we wish! We have enough time to eat, rest and to prepare our afternoon classes.
The afternoon classes are in a different school, where we teach two groups of girls, the first are 6-9 year olds, the second are aged between 10 and 12 year olds. In all these schools there are some disabled children and although I am not convinced it is the best place for them, they are accepted and integrated into school life.
There is also the Disha School which has about 15 disabled children. Far from being equiped like in my country I really wanted to do something to help the well-being of these children.
I asked whether it might be possible to build a Snoezelen Room (a multi sensorial room). These rooms are designed to stimulate the senses, especially pleasure, also for relaxation and discovery.
This was quite a project!
After getting the go-ahead from the schools’ board of directors we started building the room, then the electrics were installed by a friend of Ridhi. Next the painting and decorating which I did with the help of another volunteer. In between all of this, there was much shopping for all the equipment needed for the room (lights, music, mattresses, different textures, essential oils for massage etc) Once the paint was dry we installed all the equipment.
I am so pleased with the end result and amazed that we managed to accomplish this in such a short space of time.
I still have three more weeks left here, I am only half way through my adventure, but feel I have already accomplished so much thanks to the local Rainbow staff team.
If you want to apply to this program register online via this link http://www.rainbowvoluntours.co.uk/volunteer-tour/health-volunteer-in-india