During the summer of 2023, myself alongside the Hatters Explorer Scout Unit embarked upon a two and a half-week trip to the north of India to carry out numerous volunteering projects in some rural areas of the Himalayan region. During our trip, we engaged in many activities such as sightseeing at the Taj Mahal in Agra and visiting the Akshardham Temple in Delhi. The main attraction of the trip, however, was the two expeditions we went on, one of which lasted 4 days, and the other, about three days. Whilst at altitude, we were taught the basics of mountaineering, such as how to acclimatise properly to the new environment, and the measures that we needed to take to ensure our safety. As a result, with the help of some local sherpas, we managed to climb all the way up to 5000m in altitude where we were rewarded with some fantastic views and a pleasant sense of fulfilment!
Whilst we were in the Himalayas, we delivered two volunteering projects as a group, the first being the reservoir project in which we helped a local village gather rocks and other materials in order to help build an irrigation system for their crops using a nearby river. This consisted mainly of finding, carrying, and depositing boulders to the villagers who would then break down them down into suitable slabs in order to construct their reservoir. The second part of the volunteering we accomplished was our Optical Project. This was essentially an optician’s service that we delivered to a nomadic group of individuals who would otherwise not have any access to eyecare the way we do in the UK. With the help of many generous donations of a range of glasses from our community in North London, we managed to help roughly 100 elderly, nomadic patients with optical care, as well as teaching them methods of staying on top of their hygiene to improve their visual longevity.
I am grateful to YET for sponsoring this trip with a very generous donation, as this trip has given me many useful skills and experiences that I can now take home from a truly one in a lifetime experience. Thank you.