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VOLUNTEERS

Volunteering can be a special experience. We have been thankful to welcome so many wonderful human beings at Umang who have made valuable contributions by serving and teaching.
All our volunteers are part of our worldwide extended family and even months or years after they leave they always have a special place in their hearts for Umang. We think they’re pretty special too.
Just see what a few of our volunteers over the past few years had to say about their unforgettable stay with us.

Rosa-Mol1
Marieke-and-Pooja-1

VOLUNTEERS TESTIMONIALS

Marieke ter Veld

23 October 2017 to 27 December 2017

My name is Marieke ter Veld and I volunteered at Umang from October to December 2017. I am a special educator and the girls of room Ginny 1 were my focus. I enjoyed having a structured routine and knew what I had to do on a daily basis.
In the beginning it was hard to communicate. I was not really comfortable with the English language, but everyone wanted to help if you had a question. To help the caretakers I organized 3 workshops:
1: My Observations
2: The importance of talking and physical contact
3: Sensory overload

After the workshops I saw a difference among the caretakers. They were more comfortable to speak and share their experiences. The caretakers were more happy in their work and with each other. Gouri, the social worker did the translation of the workshops and after the workshop, the caretakers were more in contact with me, they talked to me, and asked for help in their work.

I love the residents! They were so welcoming and friendly. Most of the residents are speaking English, this make it more easy to communicate. The residents like the most to make fun and jokes with me. We laughed a lot. They like the physical contact of a hug, hand on the shoulder or a high-five. They want your attention, and it’s nice to work with them on basis of my work experience in the Netherlands.

I had a great time at Umang. I meet great people from the Netherlands and from India. I had a great time in the volunteers house where I felt safe with everyone and I had a great time in India overall. I want to thank Sulu and the other staff members and volunteers for this great experience. I think they learned from me and I from them and that I feel Umang was my home for these two months.

I would definitely recommend Umang WWTI to anyone else.

Hester de Kok

24 November 2017 to 19 February 2018

Umang, a home beyond a home.
This is so true! For me as well as for the residents! We got a warm welcome when we came in, but it went on throughout our stay! Everybody made me feel at home, the residents and the caretakers. We were able to work together with the caretakers, teaching them some new habits, but also learning from them. About Indian culture and life at Umang.
During my time at Umang, I have been counseling two Girls one-on-one and one girl together with Lisa, the other volunteer. They enjoy the attention once a week and I see that they are starting to use it for talking about the things that are on their mind. Next to that I have been massaging a few of the residents a few times a week. Also when the nurse is not here, I help with the therapy of the female residents. Together with Lisa, we have been giving workshops to the caretakers regarding handling the residents and their difficulties.
On some occasions Lisa and I have prepared a meal for all residents and staff and every friday we baked a cake with two of the residents, which we ate on saturday with all the residents and staff.
What I love about Umang is the gratitude of everybody. They really love living at Umang and are happy with every small present or special thing like eating cake with the tea or cheese sandwiches for diner. Time went so fast while living at Umang, three months over too quickly.
I miss Umang and everybody living and working here, while travelling further and going home after that. Thanks for having me!

Lisa Khoe

24 November 2017 to 19 February 2018

Umang as my home beyond a home.
Thinking about Umang and life at Umang, hundreds of things come into my mind. All of these thoughts come together with strong feelings; feelings of security, acceptance, warmth, peacefulness, happiness, joy and love. Working at Umang can be a lot and it definitely gives you some real big challenges to deal with. As a person you need to have an open minded attitude, a healthy confidence, a positive mindset and an eagerness to teach and learn. It is no ‘piece of cake’ and you got to put in some effort, but with all those beautiful things around you (read; the specially abled residents, hard working and enormously kind staff, umangs location and surroundings) there’s not a way someone will not love Umang.
My time at Umang gave me the opportunity to be a part of the family, it gave me a new home beyond a home. Not a day has passed where I didn’t go ‘home’ without a smile on my face. All I can say for the future is that I honestly hope the residents and staff will keep on being the lovely, kind and strong people they are. You have made Umang to what it is today. I am proud to say I got the chance combine my knowledge, experience, openness and care with this piece of work in progress. A piece of work that has already come so far and still is an oasis for growth and development!
The working, culture, challenges, lots of moments of happiness and personal development combined with all said above made my Umang experience a really special one never to forget.
Dear Umang,
THANK YOU

Marjan Veel

8 December 2017 to 13 December 2017

I was not a formal volunteer but an adoptee parent who visited Umang for a few days with my daughter, Radha. We had a really good time in Umang. I am a professional massage therapist, so for the few days I was there, I gave massages to many residents.
There is already a lot of attention on physical movements through yoga exercises, breathing, and also everyday physiotherapy in the daily routine at Umang. Happy to see that!
I think it is good giving massages to the residents as it will help the residents to have a good immune system, better streamed skin, even more flexibility in legs/arms and greater awareness of the capacity of their body.
That will help them, I’m sure to feel even more accepted and happy in the loving caretaking environment.
I’m impressed by the good care given by the caretakers, manager, volunteers and physiotherapist, and the bond between Sulu and the residents, and also among the residents together.
It was good to see so much synergy between the care already given to the residences- like prayer, yoga and exercises. That made the effect of the massages even more.
I feel grateful to see that Umang is a good place.

Marjolein Hortenseus and Wouter de Jong

July 2017 to August 2017

Our time at Umang began with a long flight from Amsterdam to Mumbai, then from Mumbai we went to Umang by taxi. When we arrived we first met Suresh who showed us around and introduced us to the residents.
From that moment we were part of Umang for four weeks. We’ve had a wonderful time at Umang and got to learn a lot about India, Indian people and the way things work in India. During our stay we’ve experienced what the rain season is like in India, although we’ve managed to arrange a lot of things with the help of the staff, our fellow Dutch volunteers and of course the wonderful residents. For example, we cooked Dutch pancakes for the residents, bought some medical instruments and a wheelchair, we’ve also arranged a shopping day for the residents together with our fellow Dutch volunteers. The residents loved it and got some really nice clothing and other useful stuff.
We have experienced Umang as a really nice place to be and we think it’s a great honor to be able to be with and to help the residents of Umang. We also enjoyed the people of the staff and we had a nice time in the volunteer’s house with the other volunteers. We had a really good time in India and at Umang and we hope we can return some day and visit Umang. We hope the residents will continue developing as good as they are doing right now so they will have a wonderful future!

Vandita Crezée

15 January 2017 t0 15 April 2017

My name is Vandita Crezée. I am 27 years old. Since my adoption I have been living in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Netherlands. I live on my own in a nice renovated apartment which I like very much.

In 2004 and 2013 I spent a holiday with my relatives in India. Since my second trip to India (in 2013) I have been thinking about being a volunteer in India. My employment contract terminated in January 2017. I therefore considered this moment a suitable one for going to India.
I have been trained as an occupational therapist and nurse and I would love to apply my knowledge abroad. I have counseled various therapies and I have been able to give advice about lifting activities. I have drawn up an emergency list for all the residents and advice about the use of aids.
At Umang I mainly observed the residents during the first few days. As I’m not used to working with the target group living at Umang the staff gave me some indications how to approach things best.
I can look back on my journey to India with a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. I am very glad that I have chosen to do voluntary work during three months in India. The most important reason why I wanted to do voluntary work is that I stayed myself at Holy Spirit Hospital and I would like to do something for the children of Bal Anand and Umang. I hope to have given these children a lot of love and attention.
During my time in India, the following made the deepest impression on me:
• People are very poor and have few possessions but they are nevertheless happy.
• In spite of poverty, people are always very hospitable and willing to share the few things they have with others.
• It struck me that people were less poor than in 2004 when I visited India with my relatives for the first time.
In conclusion I would like to say that money and possessions do not make you happier. I am glad that I have been in the position to make this journey.

Yelappa Visser

October 2017 to April 2017

My name is Yelappa Visser. I am a Bal Anand adoptee and grew up in the Netherlands since 1991.
I graduated as Social Worker. After my graduation in 2012 I have volunteered for 3.5 months in Bal Anand, WWTI. After I came back from the volunteering I was asked to joint the Dutch NGO Stichting Welzijn Kinderen van Bal Anand en Umang. I become an ambassador and one of the volunteer coordinators, which is an honour. I support and help new volunteers with their preparations for volunteering at Bal Anand and/or Umang. It gives me a good connection and staying tuned to the progress at Umang.
From October 2017 until April 2017 I became a volunteer for the second time. This time I also wanted to be more focused on Umang where the help is most needed. I am more specialized to work with special children. I worked with all the children- it was really a blessing to know them.
The greatest benefit of my 6 months of the volunteering was that I got more time to build a bond with the residents of Umang. It did not go fast or easy with everybody, so it took time. To many of them I became more accessible for help or questions, but sometimes the attention, presence, smile or joke was enough already.
I also really enjoyed working with the (local) staff, even if we did not always speak the same language we found a way to work and had a great time with them to learn from both sides.
In the period I was at Umang there also another volunteer from the Netherlands. It was nice to spend time together and stay at the volunteer house. It worked out good between us, we spread our work hours so there was one of us at the important moments when there was a need during day time.

Chriske and Marga van Barneveld

May 2016 to June 2016

The first time when I was in India in 2005, my parents adopted my sister from BalAnand. When we were there we saw the land area of ​​Umang. In 2012, when I was seventeen years old, I visited India again to do volunteering work in a hospital in Madurai. I also visited Bal Anand and Umang that time. It was special to see the development of Umang, from just an area full of dust to a beautiful building complex. In May 2016, I went to India for a third time to volunteer at Umang with my mother, Marga.
It was very special for us to work at Umang. The residents have stolen our hearts. Every morning we helped the residents with the morning ritual. In the afternoon we helped the residents with their duties. My mother tried to give speech therapy and I helped some residents with math. In the evening there was time for watching TV and laughing a lot. We also took the residents to a swimming pool with a lunch, it was great to see everyone enjoying. It was sometimes difficult to experience the cultural differences. We hope that we are able to visit Umang again and that the project will continue to be developed by specialized supervisors and volunteers. For us, Umang is a place where the residents have got a home.

Rosa Mol

December 2015 to February 2016

My name is Rosa Mol and I am from the Netherlands. Around 2 years ago I went to Umang where I worked and lived for 3 months. Working there taught me a lot. It is a real enrichment of my total being.
Back home, I also work with people who are mentally and/or psychically disabled. To see and experience the same job in such a different country was very interesting. It showed my how extremely developed we are and how good we know what we are doing and why we are doing it. Maybe this is because I had something to compare it with, what otherwise never gets seen. Back home we don’t realize this and just doing our job the best as we can.
Like they do it at Umang as well, the best as they can. And that is something that seems so beautiful to me. Two places, so different, and yet, so the same. We just want to create the best place for the residence and give them to most valuable life possible.
It was definitely not only easy and fun. Sometimes is was very hard and difficult.
The big differences of culture, language, and the way of working and approaching people. I did feel alone there sometimes, even knowing they are my family.
And it was hard to really get to change something permanently. But without challenges you won’t learn.
I’m very happy for everything I could do there for them and what they gave to me. I’m so thankful I had to experience this and that I am still part of the Umang family. They were so welcoming to me right from the beginning. I definitely felt like home and I still do. That’s so beautiful about Umang.
I just come back from a trip to India and off course I visited them. This was the main reason for me to go to India. This time I went with my mom, to also show her my Indian family. I wanted to see my Indian pariwar (family) again and show them and tell them how much I still care. It felt good to be back, still the same actually, if I was there yesterday. I was so happy to see them and they were so happy to see me and meet my mom. It felt very wonderful.

I hope and I know I will see them again. And I will never forget any of it.
Kind regards and much love.

Merel Bosma

August 2015 to September 2015

In November 2014 I decided to go back to my roots in India and visit Bal Anand, the very children’s home I got adopted from. Before I came over I participated in a fundraising run and all the money I raised was used on activities and presents for the kids of Bal Anand and the differently-abled residents of Umang.
For a few weeks I volunteered to work with the most amazing little kids at Bal Anand. They’re absolutely lovely. Me and Tessa, the other Dutch volunteer, spent the rest of our time volunteering at Umang, which was an experience very dear to our hearts. The residents were about the same age meaning we actually lived together at Bal Anand when we were babies. They took me in as one of their own and saw me as a sister. It was just amazing.
Working and living with the residents of Umang is so amazing. Seeing and being part of their progress is such a rewarding experience.
I’ll be back soon!

Kaveri Cordes

August 2015 to September 2015

In November 2014 I decided to go back to my roots in India and visit Bal Anand, the very children’s home I got adopted from. Before I came over I participated in a fundraising run and all the money I raised was used on activities and presents for the kids of Bal Anand and the differently-abled residents of Umang.
For a few weeks I volunteered to work with the most amazing little kids at Bal Anand. They’re absolutely lovely. Me and Tessa, the other Dutch volunteer, spent the rest of our time volunteering at Umang, which was an experience very dear to our hearts. The residents were about the same age meaning we actually lived together at Bal Anand when we were babies. They took me in as one of their own and saw me as a sister. It was just amazing.
Working and living with the residents of Umang is so amazing. Seeing and being part of their progress is such a rewarding experience.
I’ll be back soon!

Alka Tiessink

November 2014 to December 2014

In November 2014 I decided to go back to my roots in India and visit Bal Anand, the very children’s home I got adopted from. Before I came over I participated in a fundraising run and all the money I raised was used on activities and presents for the kids of Bal Anand and the differently-abled residents of Umang.
For a few weeks I volunteered to work with the most amazing little kids at Bal Anand. They’re absolutely lovely. Me and Tessa, the other Dutch volunteer, spent the rest of our time volunteering at Umang, which was an experience very dear to our hearts. The residents were about the same age meaning we actually lived together at Bal Anand when we were babies. They took me in as one of their own and saw me as a sister. It was just amazing.
Working and living with the residents of Umang is so amazing. Seeing and being part of their progress is such a rewarding experience.
I’ll be back soon!

Tessa Suruchi Hoek

November 2014 to February 2015

In the summer of 2014 I set out to my country of birth, India, to learn about the country, its people and their cultures. I had lived and worked together with other didis for a few months at Bal Anand assisting with infant and baby care. In November, I went to Umang together with Alka didi.
Umang was a hidden paradise. There we were welcomed into a family of loving and caring people. Each individual resident has his/her own unique personality, talents and humor. The residents were very kind and wanted to share a lot with us. We would conduct workshops for the residents and help with daily tasks and activities.
In the Netherlands I was able to raise funds through various projects and was able to take the residents on various day trips outside of Umang. One year later, I returned to India on a journey in search of my ancestral roots. During my journey, I paid another visit to Umang and was welcomed with open arms and warm hugs by residents and staff. It felt like I was coming home.
Umang was and will always be a very special place and I hope to visit once more in the future.

VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION FORM

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