My name is Kiruthiha Ehambaram, I am a psychologist from Sri Lanka. I was working in Chennai as assistant psychologist at CHILD when I heard about REWA society from a colleague and friend, Tania. I did my research on REWA and was amazed by the work they do at Leh and Kargil with children with physical disability. I initially wondered what the role of a psychologist would be in an NGO that focuses on physiotherapy, but the more I thought about it, the more certain I was at seeing the need for a psychologist in such a set up. The next minute, I found myself typing a mail to the Director, Mrs. Karola who responded positively. I was thrilled at the opportunity of working at an NGO in one of the most beautiful places in the world, LEH-LADAKH! It was like a dream come true.
We were warmly greeted at the Leh airport by Mr. Norbu with white silk Khataks. After a day of rest to acclimatize in the high altitude our work at REWA, Leh began with an initial visit to the Centre. We planned our work with the staff and the manager, Mr. Dorjay. We were given the opportunity to work with the children, care-givers and the staff as well. I was thrilled at this opportunity and we were so motivated to deliver our best. The staff at REWA was very welcoming and accommodating of new ideas and they tried their best to fit in our sessions amongst their daily routines at the Centre.
During this one month we were privileged to conduct workshops for the staff and children, family support groups for the care givers and individual counseling sessions. It was not just about giving, but about receiving as well. I learnt an authentic amount of knowledge from the staff, the children and the care givers and most importantly learnt to work in a team with a holistic approach. I must add that working with Tania (the other volunteer) helped me tremendously in making this experience successful, enjoyable and educational.
We also travelled to many places during our stay including all the monasteries, Chang la pass, Pangong tso etc. and tried the local cuisine. We made some friends who will always remain close to my heart. Ladakh has given me memories to cherish for a life time.
After a month’s stay, I was very attached to the children and nothing has been more difficult than saying goodbye to these adorable children. There is absolutely nothing as great as volunteering in Ladakh. I was touched by the warm hearts and the kindness of the people in Leh who would go an extra mile to help you! The bewitching landscape with the snowcapped mountains, clear sky and the chilly breeze heals you from within in unimaginable ways. And end of the day you retire to bed with this sense of satisfaction that cannot match anything you would have ever felt before.
This exposure to new culture, new people and working in an NGO has given me the opportunity to relate better to people, become more mature, confident and motivated and has also increased my passion for working with people. It was an experience that will mold me for the rest of my life. I am very grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank Karola Ma’am, Mr. David and the staff of REWA, Leh for all the love.