Friday, October 24, 2014

"Volunteering with Concordia was a wonderful experience"

  Our fully funded ROBBs volunteer Parshant shares his experience of spending 4 weeks in the UK 

Volunteering with Concordia was a wonderful experience. It was my first time volunteering in Europe (England). The work camp lasted for 2 weeks. It took place in a local school for special need kids in Durrington by sea . Including myself there were 7 other volunteers, Marta and Beatrice from Italy, Eliska and Klara from Czech Republic, Anil from Turkey, Jade and Steve (Coordinators) from England.

During the project we worked with students on Horticulture and below are some of the activities we were involved in: -

Cutting plants - Well as the title suggests, this activities involved cutting, trimming and grooming of over grown plants and trees. It sounds quite an easy task and fun which it is but I wouldn’t be sure for those who don’t like bugs lol, even I was having a little hard time dealing with them: ^^ though I don’t mind them at all. It was fun as well. 

Trimming of plants time-to-time is also helpful in their growth.

Weeding – We worked in different groups weeding the ground. Weeds are harmful for other plants. So it’s quite important task or else it would hinder the growth of other plants. This activity helped me to get proper understanding of weed. Earlier I used to think that weed is any wild looking plant with lots of thorn over it but a teacher at the school explained to us that ‘’any plant can be weed if it is something which you don’t want in your garden’’ For example if you are growing Thistle in your garden and out of no where a plant of rose pops up, then that rose is a weed.

Green house – They also have a small green house; they call it ‘’Poly Tunnel’’, where they grow vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, pepper, garlic, pumpkin, onion, etc.  Here we helped in planting new plants, seeds, watering the plants, etc with the help of other school children. It was also quite fun and we were able to learn a bit more plants from these activities.

There were other activities we were involved in such as :- Picking up the apple from the school grounds, cleaning the ground, watering plants, joined the cooking classes with the children, enjoyed making of sculpture and art work with the school kids, etc.

Everyday there was something new to learn from each other and also from the children. I might have made it sound little boring as I just talked about different task and work. But believe me it was a lot more fun. We talked to each other while working, shared ideas and learned from each other. Usually, we used to finish our day at school around 2:30 – 3:00 pm and after that it was our free time.

I think free time was one of the best moments during the camp. We enjoyed our small trips to beach with fish and chips (I am vegetarian, so only chips for me lol ) , picnic, visit to near by towns, etc. Free time was quite useful to get to know other volunteers ( now friends^^) .
At the end of the work camp it was kind of sad to say good-bye to each other. For 2 weeks we were like a family. I miss the nice and amazing friends I met during my stay.

After the work camp I came back to Concordia in Brighton and had the opportunity to visit other partner Ngo’s in Glasgow and London.  It was a lifetime experience, meeting young people and other volunteers, seeing how they work, etc. Everyone in the office Francesco, Francesca , Fiona and others  are very kind and smart.  I really enjoyed being with them.

I had other volunteer opportunities in India and Japan to which I am really grateful because each time I was able to grow and learn more. But this program with Concordia in particular somehow helped me to clear some confusion I had earlier.

The whole experience with Concordia was awesome and it provided me with new vision to understand various things, also I feel more certain about the things I would like to do from now on.

 Parshant 2014