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We constantly welcome volunteers from all over the world, provided they stay minimum one week. Having volunteers is a very enriching experience for all of us and we are always eager to exchange and welcome new ideas and activities. You do not need to have any specific experience with people with disabilities and you may even realise that your vocation or talent can be integrated in the students’ programme during your stay! This is how some volunteers taught music, painting or yoga to the students! Some volunteers simply helped with the everyday needs (cooking, shopping...), spent time making handicraft or sponsored a day trip for everyone.

This is what former volunteers remember about their experience at Divya Jyoti.

bv1-690x518Jimmy (France) October- December 2012

I was welcomed as a “prince” by Sheela and Nathan who immediately accepted my help. My action was limited as I don’t speak Hindi and my English is very poor but this didn’t stop me from wanting to help! I spent my time making mud-pot candles and decorating the handicraft by painting them. I also helped selling them, which was much fun!

Sheela, Nathan and the teachers truly believe in their work and are really worth meeting. If you are planning to visit Varanasi and wish to volunteer, Divya Jyoti will welcome you and you will be amazed by its strength and humanistic energy, in an environment in which respect and acceptance are fundamental values. Don’t hesitate, because this adventure is unforgettable!

bv2-690x518Camille (France) 2 months in 2010 and 2 weeks in 2012.

In 2010, I spent 2 months at the Divya Jyoti centre and I was also there for the Diwali, a light festival. For this event, I helped making candles and wrapping them up to sell them in schools. The people with disabilities didn’t work much on the candles with me as they were busy with other activities (drawing, cutting…). The picture looks fun because we were dancing on music… even with so little, I saw how these people could enjoy themselves and be happy !

damienDamien (France) a few months in 2007, three months in 2009 and a few weeks in 2013

Since the very beginning, I naturally felt comfortable despite my shyness and words such as exchange, communication and joy find all their meaning in this place.

When I met them for the first time, I wanted to be useful and now I visit them regularly simply to spend time with my new friends.

With time, they have become a part of my identity, just like my family and French friends.

Despite the language difficulties with most of the students and social workers who speak little English, we find different ways of communicating.

Divya Jyoti also allowed me to find a few keys to better understand the Indian culture.

The centre doesn’t expect anything in particular from you: you are the one who decides how you want to get involved and what you want to give. As far as I am concerned, I helped making the handicraft and I was also good at making silly jokes all the time!

Divya Jyoti is a great source of inspiration for me and I hope I will be able to help them as much as they hepled me. I reckon Divya Jyoti does a lot for the students but does just as much for anyone who visits the centre.