Over the summer, I volunteered in Delhi, India for four weeks and worked at an organization called PORDAC (Protection of the Rights of Differently Abled Children). This opportunity was made possible both by the UBELONG, an international volunteer organization, as well as the Wallenberg Summer Travel Award. PORDAC typically runs a private school program for individuals with disabilities; however, because it was during the summertime, I volunteered and assisted them with summer activities. The children ranged from as young as 5 years old to as old as 18 years old. While I didn’t always have structured and concrete tasks to do, I provided physical support and guidance to the PORDAC staff, director, and participants. I spent my time playing and interacting with the participants, planning programs, and helping restructure the PRODAC curriculum. I also helped the older participants with vocational training. We worked on cooking, office, and general cognitive skills. One of my favorite parts about the experience was the spontaneous fun activities we would do. One day, we went to a nearby park to play cricket. Another day, we might have a pool party with the kids or start a dance party; it was a blast to be with the kids and help support this incredible organization.
Another incredible aspect of my time in India was my newfound relationship with the city of Delhi and India as a whole. After spending four weeks there, I felt like I left with a sense of Delhi’s culture, it’s social norms, and morale. I got to taste amazing food, speak to interesting people, visit various holy and spiritual sites, learn how to navigate the metro, and experience first hand what it means to live in Delhi. I also traveled on the weekends to visit India’s beautiful landscape and vibrant history. Overall, I’m am extremely grateful and appreciative to have had the opportunity to give back to the community of Delhi, help support PORDAC in their goals and endeavors, and to have experienced this life changing adventure!