- Group:Students from Ardingly College
- Age:16-18 years old
- Group Size:10
- Project:Care & Conservation
- Destination:Tamil Nadu, India
In July 2011 a group of 10 students from Ardingly College set off to India to participate in a 2 week care and conservation project. The group was made up of 7 girls and 3 boys, all of whom had a passion for travel and a desire to do something worthwhile over their summer holiday.
What did they do?
The group spent their first week living at an orphanage on the outskirts of Madurai in Southern India. Their main objective was to construct a volleyball and badminton court in the courtyard of the orphanage. Although the children at Madurai Seva Ashram were well cared for, there was little for them to do in their free time. Considering volleyball and badminton are two of the most popular school sports in India, it seemed like the perfect contribution for the group to make.
The volunteers spent their mornings constructing the courts which meant getting their hands dirty digging, sieving soil, painting and mixing cement. In the evenings the group were playing games with the kids, helping them with their homework, singing songs and generally providing much needed love, care and attention.
After a busy week of work the final touches had been made and the courts were ready to use. The week was topped off by a sports day during which the volunteers saw all of their hard work pay off. The day finished with a ceremony where the volunteers were thanked for the contribution they had made.
Over the weekend the group headed off to Periyar Tiger Reserve in the state of Kerala. Here they had the chance to see wild elephants, sample India’s hottest chili and even experience the traditional dance show of Kadakali. It was also an opportunity for a well-deserved rest before moving on to the following week’s project.
On their second week they set off for our model farm project situated in the picturesque town of Ullar. Here volunteers work on a model farm, helping to both maintain the land and educate the local community on the benefits of organic farming.
The group’s task for the week was to develop a new piece of land to be used as an organic vegetable garden. This was a strenuous task but the group worked together and successfully completed the cultivation of the land. This garden will be used to supply the local community with organic produce and also to demonstrate sustainable farming techniques to local farmers.
Thoughts from the group
"It really was an incredible trip and we all agreed that the fact we were able to leave something behind that could continue to be used was really satisfying. Something that made the trip so special was certainly due to the group structure we had. It was really good to have a group with whom you could bounce off and which allowed spirits and energy as a whole to be kept high. We all had an absolutely incredible time and are already discussing the next trip we are going to take with Projects Abroad!"
"The whole trip from beginning to end was a truly remarkable experience. All of the students from Ardingly enjoyed every moment (apart from perhaps sifting the worms out of manure!) and really hope that our contribution has made a difference. Projects Abroad had really taken into consideration every aspect to make our time out there incredible. This trip has given me a true love of India and the people, and I hope to be able to return to this captivating and beautiful country as soon as I can! Many thanks again for a fantastic two weeks."