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Testimonial from

I first heard about GVI through my daughter who attended an under 18s programme to Cape Town. I wondered if GVI offered programmes for adults so rang them and was delighted to hear that they did. I chose Women’s Empowerment as the project theme was where I felt my professional experience best lay. I chose Nepal as I had not visited that country before and wanted my GVI experience to be totally new. I chose to upgrade the accommodation option and stayed in a local hotel very close to the homestay house where the other volunteers were living. I had all my meals at the homestay and used their facilities for the majority of non-project time. I was fully included in social activities and weekend trips so did not feel disadvantaged because I chose to have different accommodation. Whilst I happened to be the oldest volunteer during the two weeks I was there this did not matter at all. Everyone there has chosen GVI for their volunteering experience and we all had lots in common. The GIV staff both managers of the hub and the local Nepali project co-ordinators were very welcoming and understood what volunteers needed to give them confidence before starting on projects. The main activities that I worked on were being paired with two local Nepali ladies who wanted to learn English. A few days a week I worked in a village in Pame, just outside Pokhara and there other days at a community centre in Male Patan with the city of Pokhara. Both of my ladies were at different stages in their learning, but you get a log book that previous volunteers had written up with gave me a good idea of what I needed to cover in our lessons. The lessons were usually 2 hours long and I used the grammar resources and reading books that were at the homestay to plan my lessons. I was a bit out of my comfort zone for the initial sessions but soon got a good idea of what would work, if all else failed I reverted to reading books with my ladies, so the English conversation and pronunciation flowed. The other activity I worked on was running an Arts and Craft project at a school in Pame. The children do not get this as a curriculum taught subject, so it was fun to offer them something new. Volunteers took it in turns to come up with the ideas for the session and others helped with delivery. Sometimes the school teachers were absent, so we also helped provide supply cover for classes. This involved the children coming to the GVI classroom in within the school in small groups and we would work 1:1 or 1:2 with their workbooks on maths, English or science. The children were a pure joy to work with and as I had not expected to work with children it was a lovely added bonus. From the moment I first contacted GVI and the open day that I attended I felt in good hands. The staff were very helpful in helping me find the right program for me and all the pre-departure information was spot on. I was met at the other end and made welcome from the off. I found the work hard mainly because it was very hot and humid working in very basic conditions, but these of course are local conditions and were all part of the experience. I felt that I learned much about the daily life of a Nepali lady and how both they and the children as so keen to learn especially English. This is something as a tourist I could never have seen for myself. Seeing my ladies or the children smiling whilst learning was very rewarding. I learnt that I have lots to offer and being that bit older was able to think on my feet quickly if arrangements needed to change at any time. I felt that I was able to set a good example to those volunteers less experienced in life than myself too. All in all, a very worthwhile experience and I will be looking to go on another project within the next 18 months, perhaps somewhere cooler next time. I would urge anyone who might be interested to pick up the phone and speak to GVI you will not regret it.

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