Pranaav Gupta, West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, 2nd year, [email protected]
Name of Organisation, Location, Team Strength
17000 Feet Foundation Leh, 12
17000 Feet Foundation, is an NGO that works with educating children in rural Ladakh.
The application process is fairly simple, there is a detailed google form that needs to be filled. See HERE.
The organisation replies in a week after which they schedule a Skype interview with you at a mutually convenient time. It is in the interview itself that you are told about whether you have been chosen or not.
Duration of internship and timings
You have the option of registering for either the one month or the 10 day program. I picked the 10 day program.
First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure
There is a pick up that is arranged for you on your arrival at Leh Airport. You are then taken to your hotel where you are greeted by the very affable Sandeep Sahu who offers you the customary breakfast and Ladakhi chai.
After taking rest the entire day, someone from the office comes in the evening to give you a presentation on what 17000 Feet does, what your main tasks are going to be along with the work that is expected from you.
The second day, is the scheduled orientation where you are made to demonstrations such as story telling, role play etc.
You meet with your coordinator who will accompany you to the remote village.
The essence of this volunteering program is the experience of staying in a remote home stay in Ladakh. Understanding local Ladakhi culture and also getting an opportunity to teach students who are so eager to learn.
Work environment and people
The work environment is very basic but the joy of seeing the faces of the little kids light up, when you teach them something knew is an experience that cannot be shared in words.
Since you are working in a government school the infrastructure was minimum. The children did not have benches sat on a carpet. The children are curious and inquisitive.
The experience of travelling to Ladakh, staying in a remote village with basic facilities and getting an opportunity to change lives.
The program cost excluding airfare is Rs 41000. Which is a little steep.
Before applying for this program, I did have that doubt in my mind of whether teaching children for only a period of 5 days can really leave any sort of impact on them. At the end of the program I had gotten the answer to my question. A definite Yes.
I realised that an interaction with these children even for a very short period has in many ways had definitely made a difference to their lives.