Some comments from previous volunteers...
Emily Sherlock volunteered at the Children’s Village in 2007, and said:
“I was thoroughly well looked after by the teachers and, most of all, the House Mothers. They were so kind and considerate and almost did too much for us! All of our meals were cooked and served for us and the food was delicious. There is absolutely no worry about going hungry because they will feed you extremely well!
“The children were lovely. So full of smiles and they really appreciated us being there. They were so happy for us just to say hello to them and they are such grateful children.
“The school is very well set up and the teachers seem well prepared. We spent a lot of our time with the Kindergarten children teaching them nursery rhymes and songs. The most worthwhile thing about being there was probably just communicating with the children and giving them something different in their lives. They seem to work so hard and so it was great just to relax with them.”
Top tip: “Because the school is situated out of town and it’s not easy to leave the campus, make sure you’ve got plenty to occupy yourself with during your free time”
Flora Curzan also volunteered at the Children’s Village in 2007, and said:
“My weeks spent in the Heal Village were some of the most memorable of my life.
“The pupils of both schools work so hard, and spend such a lot of time studying, that for quite a lot of the time we found it hard to help. We found that if we tried to become involved in their academic classes, they would all stand up to greet us, and become distracted. We also felt that their way of learning was so different from ours that if we tried to teach academic classes, it probably wouldn’t help them, as our ideas wouldn’t correspond with their teachers’, or their monthly tests.
“We helped the IT teacher in a few of his lessons, as the computers were still quite new to him, and so in this case our experience of computers could be useful to everyone.
“But apart from this, our role became much more pastoral as the time went on and we found music was a great way to bridge the language barrier. We brought a few songs along with us to perform and teach to the children, (“my heart will go on” being a particular favourite of theirs!) and in exchange, they taught us some of their songs and dances.
“We taught a few larger classes music in the main hall, and also taught the nursery children a few English songs and nursery rhymes, and recorded these onto tape for future use. We prepared a game of pass-the-parcel, which we played with the nursery children.
“On Sundays, art classes took place in the main hall, and we brought along pencils and rubbers, and though we didn’t teach these classes, the children seemed keen to involve us in every way, showing us their work, teaching us, encouraging us to show our work to the teacher. At the end our stay, we gave the remaining pens and pencils we had to the children.
“A few times a day there was recreation, the longest being in the afternoon. In these hours we found we could really become involved with the children. On several occasions we brought out balloons, a bouncy ball, and a frisbee we brought from home and played games with everyone. The children were keen to involve us in all their games, sandcastle building, badminton, and skipping.
“They treated us so beautifully, and we just hope we gave enough back. We were so lucky to spend some time learning from and helping out in the village.”