Skip navigation

UCD Volunteers Overseas

Volunteer Testimonials

Volunteering in Delhi - Margaret Walsh, BA English Graduate 2012

‘Welcome to Delhi,’ a city of constant movement, energy and above all noise.   The streets peopled with crowds beyond anything we could have expected.  As experience goes the only word that adequately describes this place is CRAZY.   It is truly beyond belief!  It is hard to imagine such huge cultural differences in the one world.

Throughout the time that we spent in Delhi, much was achieved.  Each and every centre in which we worked was completely different.   They all brought their own successes and challenges. The teaching that took place truly brought out an enthusiasm for learning in the children we worked with and resulted directly in a huge increase in attendance and participation. Education encourages hope in the lives of the children with whom we worked.  It directly affects their families also by providing another dimension to life, one that is full of promise and a sense of progress.  However, such progress requires commitment and it takes much time and hard work.  A great example of this is  the physiotherapy programme which delivered so much energy and excitement to the lives of the men that live in the shelter, some of whom struggle with disabilities that require a great deal of care and sensitivity.  The programme completely changed their attitude towards exercise which is integral to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.  This is something that requires great support in the lives of those that are presented with challenges that are often times difficult to comprehend fully.

One of the highlights of the trip was the construction of two family homes in a colony north of Delhi called Bawana.  It was here that we could see the most tangible difference that our presence made.  We built up a strong relationship with the families who were on site every day and who really showed us what hard work was through their dedication and commitment to the job at hand.  Another highlight of the trip was at the end of each school day when there was always an opportunity for play.  This was always a time of great laughter and fun.  We would dance and play football, the students loving the chance to climb and clamber over our shoulders and heads or to take pictures with our cameras – the ultimate novelty.

On a personal note, I learned a lot about the true nature of compassion and kindness.  The students in our classes would never cease to show great care for their families, often trying to save the little bit of food they received in the school or community centre for a younger brother or sister or for a neighbour who was sick and who they felt needed the meal more than themselves. Also, each and every person with whom we worked both in the partner organisations and our own team showed a great capacity to empathise with one another in order to achieve the most with the time we had in India.  Overall, it was a great privilege to be able to participate in the essential work that UCDVO carries out each year.  Development is one area that really needs our support and it is through projects like this that we can remember those members of our global community that need the most help and support.