15 January 2013

Riikka, Volunteer

Name: Riikka Jarvelin
Volunteered: Autumn 2010 to Spring 2012
Nationality: Finnish
Programme: Creche

I came to India with my boyfriend, who got transferred to his European employer's Pune office for 18 months. I wanted to donate my time to a local NGO improving the situation of the city's underpriviledged children and was very happy to find Deep Griha Society. I soon found my place within this amazing organization, which makes such a difference to the people living in Pune's slum areas.

I started working in the creches at DGS Family Welfare Centre at Tadiwala Road. This community is in the largest slum in Pune with more than 35,000 inhabitants. Among it's other greatly valued projects Deep Griha Society runs a daycare centre for children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. This opportunity allows both of the parents to go and earn a living and the older siblings to stay in school, while the small children of the family are well looked after. In the creches the children also enjoy a nutrious meal every day and learn important life skills preparing them for school.

My days in the creches have been filled with playing, helping around with the everyday tasks and teaching the older children some basic English. I have also been organizing special activities for different holidays, like painting eggs for Easter or colouring and cutting wall decorations for Diwali. The children love having books read to them and not a day has gone by without singing nursery rhymes and easy English action songs. The matching game and puzzles I’ve brought along have also been a great success. I’ve also been taking part in organizing health check-ups and dental camps for the children. Teeth brushing was a new activity introduced in the creches and has started off really well.

My time volunteering with Deep Griha Society has been incredibly inspiring. Working with children time flies by really fast and their innocent joy in the simplest things is extremely catching, you can’t help but be a good mood. The kids have been openhearted in accepting me and bring a smile to my face everyday. They truly have brought joy into my life. I have been lucky enough to spend a year and a half here and Pune has become like a home. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working alongside my colleagues and many of them have become dear friends. Watching the toddlers grow, take their first steps and learn new things has been the most rewarding. Volunteering for Deep Griha Society is also an excellent way to meet like spirited people from around the world and broaden your horizons. I recommend it to anyone looking for a genuine great place to do some good and to learn about a new culture. For me it has been an absolutely unforgettable experience!

Category: Volunteer

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