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  • Writer's pictureSebs

Reflections on Volunteering at Kasam by Julie Bettridge

“Earlier this year I spent two months at MBKG Pannai in Kassam, volunteering at the orphanage and King’s School. The experience was one I’ll never forget and I am so looking forward to getting back out there again soon.

Being a volunteer, you become one of MBKG, living day-to-day with the children and staff, sharing meals together, engaging with the day students, playing games, helping with studies, generally being involved as a member of the team and living as part of the family. From the moment I arrived in India I was made to feel so welcome.

The accommodation for volunteers at Kasam is basic, but comfortable and private. The food is predominantly vegetarian with chicken served every Sunday, and the ingredients are all fresh and local. I personally loved the food and have been trying to coax secret recipes from Helen, the cook, ever since! Day-to-Day, I would breakfast with the children and head up to the senior school to assist in the offices or take classes. I’d never taught, or even thought about teaching before, but the children simply love the interaction with the volunteers so there’s no real pressure to impress with elaborate study plans or exercises. As long as you can speak English, you’ll be fine! In addition to the senior and junior schools, there is a nursery at the farm and the young children and babies absolutely LOVE having visitors come and play. Be warned, you will be used as a human climbing frame!

Life at Kasam can seem quite insular for the children, who rarely get to leave the site until they reach teenage years. But despite this, no two days are the same for them, they love to pray, they love to study, they are devoted to each other and seem very happy. And this is due to the amazing work that the staff at MBKG do, the support that organisations such as the Sebastian Hunter Memorial Trust offer and volunteer programme that they run. I cannot recommend volunteering at MBKG highly enough.”

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