Be volunteer at BTEF and live anunforgettable experience
Our volunteers are not superheroes , but they are willing to help, they have willgness to share and humility to learn and adapt to a culture like India without prejudice.
What do we look for?
Each volunteer, after adapting, meeting and interacting with students and teachers, you will decide how you want to collaborate during your stay. Perhaps it fits with your professional training, hobbies, or perhaps you discover abilities that you have never boosted. Participation will always be based on what “volunteer” means to us… to do something with a will that is born from the heart.
For example, we give freedom to organize activities such as sports championships, gymkhanas, music classes, drawing … Once a volunteer organized a badminton championship to mix girls and boys in a competitive environment, and the experience was amazing!
Do you have a specific idea to do there? Awesome! We would love to hear it and help you develop it before you leave.
In free time we encourage you to discover Bodhgaya, to know and practice meditation, yoga … The city is a true cultural heritage of Buddhism. If you like photography, you will not stop!
As you can see, we accept volunteers of all ages and regardless of academic background. The most important thing is being a nice person, having motivation and open minded to get to know a different culture. Tolerance, empathy and compassion.
My first, and certainly not last visit to Bodhi Tree School was in the beginning of 2019, as part of a Volunteering trip with a group of people who at the time, I did not know. No one can prepare you for India, it is so fantastically abnormal and culturally diverse, that someone like me travelling from a small European Island will never comprehend. Thus, with limited knowledge, I was clueless of what to expect.
Once arriving at Bodhi Tree School, we were greeted in the most heartfelt celebration. All children attending Bodhi Tree School gathered together and serenaded us with a welcome greeting. Immediately we felt like we were included in their lives, and that for a foreign volunteer is so important. Furthermore, the staff of Bodhi Tree school organized for us a never-ending list of cultural activities; from visits to Bodh Gaya Temples to getting invited to Traditional Indian Weddings, also had the pleasure of playing volleyball against the Indian Military staff. Moreover, dressed up in the Traditional Indian Saris for which we were super excited, and took ridiculous amounts of photos J. We also had the opportunity to cook Indian traditional food in one of the top hotels in the proximity. All these events and activities gave me a profound understanding of the Indian Culture for which I ended up loving and till today crave.
I had the privilege to volunteer for the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation over the course of 6.5 months. I originally decided to participate based on the projects progressive agenda and its success in transforming the lives of over 700 children from marginalized communities in rural India. The project itself is an experimental school project located in the poorest region of India, Bihar. The whole project is exclusively financed by international funds and donations.
The vision of this particular NGO is to positively influence the vastly conservative indian society on a large scale in terms of openness, tolerance, equality, empathy, mutual supportiveness, gender roles, woman empowerment, health and education. This is being achieved by regularly bringing together more than 700 children from 12 rural indian villages and teaching them collectively in mixed classes in a natural school environment, despite vastly different backgrounds, different castes and religions.
The project provides equal and inclusive education for both normally abled and disabled children. It finances every childs school material, ensures clean drinking water and a healthy and wholesome diet, teaches the children about their own cultural identity, boosts their confidence by involving them in dance- and military performances and gets them in touch with foreign volunteers from all around the world. Like me. Which is a steady intercultural exchange both broadening ours and their horizon and making us reflect on our societies, traditions, values and behaviours.
From the day of my arrival until the very end i felt welcomed with open arms and my work there was highly appreciated. Together with other volunteers from all around the world we could establish a library for the children that was stocked up with donated english and hindi books. I painted the walls to create a cozier atmoshere. The children loved it and the library soon became the crowdiest place in the whole school. Apart from that I did classes in Arts, Drawing and Painting with the children while my colleague Judith did conversational english classes. We foreign volunteers also had representative tasks like public speeches, event inaugurations and we attended military demonstrations.
It was throughout a wonderful experience and i was amazed by how very important it was to the director and management to let us forein volunteers experience the real authentic indian culture.
Bodhi Tree School is where I spent two years as a volunteer. You might think it is a long time, but actually it passed quite quickly. If you know the project you know what I am talking about. India is such a big adventure and unexpected things keep on happening, from the first day to the very last.
Arriving in a country not knowing anyone, not knowing anything about the culture except what you get to see in documentaries, was a great adventure for me as I am curious and open-minded. I still remember the first weeks, when everything was new and undiscovered. The way people behaved, the food, the way of living and of course the language. I got to know how the children in the village live, seeing their joy and their challenges. I am grateful that they let me be a part of their lives. They welcomed me the first day without any prejudices, treating me just human and teaching me many things. Learning basic Hindi helped me to connect more easily with the children in school and was one of the best examples how different people treat you when you try to learn their language.
There was one circumstance I particularly appreciated about the project, every day was different. I did not have a regular pattern of duties. It changed, there was development. New events needed to be organized, new projects were stared. India already is a diverse and colourful country, and so is Bodhi Tree School.
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