From our man in Sikkim

By Shane Lefevre

“Tathung is a small farming village in the Western district of Sikkim, India that lies in the fertile foothills of the Himalayas. It sits in the Northeast corner of India, bordered by Nepal, China & Bhutan and a kind family here have allowed a silly Aussie teacher to call this place home for the past 2 months.

The spectacular scenery and dramatic mountain landscape calls adventurous types from far and wide, but it’s the warm hearted & welcoming people that really blow you away to make your stay unforgettable.…

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Coming back for more!

HELP volunteer Paul Lessner enjoyed his volunteering experience so much last year, that he came back for more this year. Last year he was in Ladakh. This year in Sikkim!

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Teaching in a Nepalese school

James Dix has just submitted this account of his HELP assignment in Nepal:

Albert Einstein, in formulating his theory of relativity, came up with the idea that time is not constant but can expand or contract depending on conditions. Einstein thought hard to come up with this idea. If he had been a Nepali, however, the idea would have come to him easily. Time elasticity is a Nepali cultural trait. A half-hour walk can mean ten minutes or two hours. A bus can come early, late, or not at all.…

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A HELP volunteer in Ladakh

Paul Lessner's farewell
Paul Lessner’s farewell

Last summer, I spent eight weeks in the Indian region of Ladakh. Even with large amounts of preparation, training and research, I found myself in a state of constant amazement and surprise. Immersed in a culture established eons before my own country was ever imagined or conceived, the experience touched me greatly and will follow throughout my lifetime.

I travelled from the United States to the heart of the Indian Himalaya to teach English and math in a remote village school where teachers and students welcomed me with open arms and beautiful spirits.…

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Volunteer news from West Bengal

Anne Taylor, who has returned to her school near Kalimpong five times, has written this account of her latest adventures:

 

“I am spending Easter weekend in Darjeeling and I woke up to a magnificent view of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas with Kanchenjunga (India’s highest mountain) the centre piece. And that was before I even got out of bed! It was so clear at 7am it felt as though I would be able to reach out and touch the snow.…

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A career-changing experience

I went to Changu Narayan in January with the modest hope that I could encourage disadvantaged children to improve their English. Nothing prepared me for the life changing experience that it would be.

Kerrie Sullivan with her pupils

Nepal was my first experience of the developing world and the level of poverty was shocking; families piled on motor bikes, cafes disguised as sheds, women washing at communal water pumps and dusty garages that advertised sim cards but sold only calor gas and chickens.…

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The joys of volunteering!

Class 111

Teaching in K – 5th grades in Nepal was a wonderful and enriching experience, but becoming a part of the local community was a special bonus I had not anticipated. During my two month stay, I was invited to Shiva’s (a major Hindu god) birthday celebration, a wedding, and a funeral.

On one of the many days off school for holidays, I found out it was Shiva’s birthday and was asked if I wanted to go to the temple, hidden up on the hill.…

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Winter sun

While I am enjoying a couple of weeks of winter sun in Tenerife, HELP volunteers are trekking to remote schools in western Nepal to start their assignments. They too will be enjoying the sun, but it will be colder than Tenerife at night!…

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A volunteer tells why she keeps going back

I will remember always my first sight of the village of Lower Echhey, walking a kilometre or so down from Shivalaya Mandir at dusk, along the side of the “jeepable” road which was gushing water, led by my host Tikaram Poudyal, principle of JN Memorial Public English Medium School. I looked around as we walked, feeling a surge of joy at the prospect of staying in this stunningly beautiful rural village of smallholdings in the foothills of the Himalayas for 2 whole months.…

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Volunteering with HELP offers all the good things of working with a small, personal organisation: in-depth local knowledge from the HELP organisers, and the feeling that one is doing something for the first time.
Daniel CookAlgarah School