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.

Resilience and resourcefulness are the strengths of the people here and in a remote environment prone to wild weather, landslides and earthquakes, they are frequently drawn upon.

These characteristics however, are not those the Sikkimese choose to define this place. Instead, they will gladly share with you; the fortunes, culture and fertility of their home with an infectious optimism that’s truly humbling.

Just ask the kids. They were posed the simple question: ‘What are the greatest things about Sikkim & India?’ They were given a little guidance on how to represent their thoughts on paper and an overall plan to collate their thoughts as one Indian flag. Here is what the students at Vidya Sagar Gyanpeeth school have to say about their home state of Sikkim and the nation of India.

If you’re thinking about volunteering at a school like this, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough and guarantee you’ll have a worthwhile experience. There’s great benefits for yourself personally as well as for the school and HELP makes sure of that by being a smart & responsible organisation.

It’s a chance for you to experience a vibrant culture, build your teaching skills and build great friendships. It’s a chance for the school and students to really improve their English, learn about your foreign culture and to get some external ideas to move forward.

For me, it’s been a truly memorable and meaningful experience that has change my outlook on what I can do with my skills and how I can help others.”

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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