From 6th – 26th March 2017, we had 3 volunteers from 3 different countries, i.e. France, Germany and South Korea who participated in an Environment/Renovation/ Tibetan Culture themed work camp at the ‘Himalayan Beauty’ Dhauladhar mountain range of Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.
Even though it was a small group, the three international volunteers achieved the satisfaction and fulfillment that they sought through volunteerism. They actively participated in various activities including painting a school wall and black board, as well as educational drawing at Bhagsu Nag Government Primary School.
The highly motivated volunteers conducted sessions on ‘Health & Hygiene Awareness’ and ‘Waste Management’ for the school children and approximately 40 children benefited from this activity. The volunteers also cleaned up at Bhagsu waterfalls/river located at Bhagsu, along with the staff from a local NGO called Waste Warriors, with the aim to promote awareness among the local community in keeping their surroundings clean.
As part of their inter-cultural learning, the volunteers had the opportunity to celebrate the festival of Holi (festival of colours) with the local community/school children and interacted with the Tibetan monks. The volunteers had a once-in-a-lifetime, wonderful experience when they visited the main monastery at Mcleod Ganj for His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama‘s public teaching about Bodhisattva. They were fortunate to meet the Dalai Lama ‘in person’ and listen to his teachings – it was truly an amazing encounter! They attended the Dalai Lama’s 3 day session from 11th – 13th March 2017 with enthusiasm and thoroughly enjoyed a Tibetan cooking session. They also had the time to visit different places like the domestic and international Tibetan community with monks from Nepal, Sikkim, Bodhgaya, Mundgod, Bhutan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada and the USA. Although the volunteers were busy with all these activities, they had just enough spare time at the end of their stay to take part in a sight-seeing excursion to a Hindu temple, Bhagsu waterfalls, the Dalai Lama Temple, the Tibet Museum, the Tibetan Children’s Village, the Central Tibetan Library and the Tibetan Parliament House. The volunteers also did a presentation about their country’s traditions and cultural aspects for the school children.