10 Reasons Why Volunteering in India Will Change You

Situated in rural Bodhgaya, this is one of our very special projects.The people who come here, leave with true gratitude and love in their hearts. This important project receives volunteers from all over the world. Here are some experiences from such volunteers, and how this project can change your entire outlook on life (credits listed at the end).

You will receive an exceptional welcome

“On our arrival we were received by students with garlands while we walked through a strip of students throwing petals at us while they said Namaste to us. The people from the campus showed some of their very talents to us and fill us with so much energy that we lost all kind of embarrassment and end up dancing with them without caring about anything but enjoying the moment.”

greeted by kids in Bodhgaya

The commitment of the staff will astound you

“There are many persons involved in social work despite the fact that them themselves do not have many things. Example of this is the staff which live in small villages in the surrounding areas of the school and walk 5 km to the school and live in a very simple and humble way. They are very conscious that their help will improve, through education, the quality of life of the children of the school who live in similar condition to theirs.”

You will clear your mind

“While you are away from your country, family, friends and culture; you might face very difficult and stressful situations. All these can cause hard feelings, sad emotions and much more. It is in your hands to control this and place these emotions – sometimes caused out of fear – in its proper place. One helpful tool we learned, at the Damma Bodhi, is Meditation. You can work out your mind just like you exercise any other muscle of your body. You can make your mind stop working for a while because it needs, just like your body, to rest for a while so it can work better.”

volunteering Bodhi Tree School

You will push your limits

“The limits of men lay only within men itself. It is amazing how you can do whatever you propose if you try hard enough. The journey to the school from the volunteer center is one of those things you might find challenging. Most of the way, the road is made out of mud. Which in a dry day it is not a big issue, just a bit uncomfortable because its huge amount of holes and stones who find their way to end just underneath your wheel.

The most challenging thing is the sun. The way to the school might take you around half an hour to do beneath a harsh sun that can take the temperature to around 48º Celsius. But, as hard as it might sound, it is an easy task to do. If you have the right feelings powering your legs you can go anywhere. The fulfilling feelings of arriving to the school and seeing that the kids are really empowering. Of course, don’t forget your bottle of water to keep hydrated!”

cycling Bodhi School

You will discover the value of basic gestures

“Here you will discover the real value of things. You will start to appreciate little details and you will find out of how things that before meant nothing to you, or even you did not notice them, recover all their value. A clear example of this giving them the new school uniform. And suddenly the uniform became the protagonist of the day, the children were really happy of wearing it. And in these kinds of moments is when you really realize that the children and the people in general in India, are happier due to the fact that they appreciate more things.”

You will learn a great deal about yourself

“It is an inversion in yourself. You will not be only contributing to others but the contribution that you find for yourself is even bigger. You get to experiment a very different reality of your own and disconnect completely. You will come back renewed, with a wider perspective and reconnected with yourself. Volunteering is more important to oneself and your personal development than anybody might think.”

You will gain a new family

“While you volunteer there are moments of loneliness, you are away from your family and friends, you have to adapt to a new environment and culture which makes you fill lost from time to time. But, in another hand, you cannot imagine the things you gain. You will meet people that will form your new family, family from different parents but whose members take care of each other as blood brothers. You will share unique moments with this family that will stay with yourself for a life time.”

Bodhi Tree School, bodhgaya

You’ll live like a local

“Leaving your country behind might be very tough but also travelling makes your mind open more and more, broadening to places you might not even have ever imagined. You start getting a bigger awareness of the reality of the whole World. Despite how hard the change might be, all these will make you only overcome yourself to unbelievable levels! These are rewards that you obtain that last in you for the rest of your life.”

Expect the unexpected

“Great encounters might happen when you least expect them. In India life is full of surprises. A really interesting and unique experience happened on the last day of the stay of one volunteer in India. For her surprise she was received by a whole international society of Buddhist monks and by a member of the state government himself. They were so grateful for her contribution to the development of Indian society that they needed to see her before she left and thank her for all the work done. It was a really emotional moment for the volunteer.”

washing the children at Bodhi school

You will have a truly rewarding experience

“There is one thing I can assure you, when you accomplish a goal, finish one of your project, the feelings that arise inside of you are indescribable, you will feel the change happening, you will see the reactions of the people upon an unbelievable gift, so much happiness can bloom from such simple things.”

You can find out more about volunteering at this project here: Bodhgaya Rural School Community

Credit for this post goes to:
Copywriting by Pilar Diaz Clemente
Design & copywriting by Federico Stura

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