Visiting Karunai Illam
Many overseas volunteers and visitors have in the past given their time at the Illam through teaching English, basic computer operations, drawing, sewing etc to the children. However, we are currently reviewing our volunteering policy to ensure that the needs of the volunteer, the children and the Illam are well met. Meanwhile short term visitors are welcome for which they could get in touch with the trustees.
DHAN the local NGO and partner who help with the day-to-day running of the Illam, manage a wide range of development programmes. Volunteers and visitors have used the opportunity to visit the various development initiatives that DHAN run directly such as self-help groups, micro-finance, water conservation etc to get a better appreciation of what they do and the overall socio-economic environment within which the Illam operates.
Here is what Shobita Jones, a key supporter of the Illam, has to say of her experience in 2013/14:
After a year of wondering, what an incredible experience it will be to spend time and get to know the people of the Illam, the day had finally arrived to make it happen. So I left to India to pay a visit to the Illam with my friends. I was accompanied by two wonderful friends Joleen Coervers and Sam Gruenwald, who have been of immense help throughout all our fund-raising events for the Illam in NZ. I used my visit to also meet and spend some time with my extended family members, in India. It was all well worth the time and effort. The experience was incredible and exciting.
It is hard to find the right words to share the amazing experience I had, spending time with all the amazing people at the Illam. The ethos they have is one I definitely aspire to follow for the entirety of my life. It’s overwhelming to see socio-economic inequality prevalent in India. It’s not at all an easy task to try and find ways to help alleviate poverty and other social ills. It’s both a bane and a scrooge that will not disappear soon.
After seeing the opportunities created for the impoverished children at the Illam, it opened my mind further to work harder and find solutions in giving children an opportunity to learn and grow, so that they can pave their own future. And they in turn make it a tradition towards helping their communities. This I'm convinced, because every child I spoke to at the Illam aspired to do well so they could help others who face similar hardships.
I feel like my “paragraph” could very easily turn into a book if I attempted to share with you here, about every individual person I was so lucky to have spent time with; of their life, their journey and their aspirations. I will reserve that for another occasion as I go along learning more through experience. Sharing experiences is on important way to disseminate knowledge and there is little substitute for it.