Unlike most gap year agencies, Kullu Project does not pre-arrange rigid teaching placements for volunteers before they arrive in India. We think itâ€™s important that volunteers have a large amount of input in shaping the work that they do. After all they understand their own skills and strengths better then we do, and may also have new ideas that we havenâ€™t thought of yet.
But donâ€™t worry â€“ we do not expect volunteers to land up in the Kullu Valley and get things kicking the next day. Well actually we do, but they have a lot of support and guidance from people living in the valley. They help them to gain an understanding of the local area and culture, and in overcoming the day-to-day challenges of running the project.
Volunteers are also given a portfolio full of advice and contacts from previous groups, which help them to repeat aspects of the project which have been successful in the past. For example, there are certain schools and orphanages in which volunteers teach English or run activities year after year; helping us to develop long-term ties with them.
Running the project in this way is more challenging for volunteers then if they had ready-made placements waiting for them. However, it also means that volunteers can truly combine their skills and creativity with local knowledge and support
Ankit Sood is Associate Professor at Govt. PG Degree College Kullu. He also runs Sunshine Himalayan Adventures.