• Volunteer testimonials

Nicole Suchanek, who interned with Bakul for two and a half months (Dec 07-Feb08). She did a children's theatre workshop that resulted in a Musical based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with children. She also helped slum children with their reading in English and organized a photography workshop with them.

"When I came to India, I had wanted to do many things. After a very short time, I understood that none of my resolutions would happen. After a few more weeks I looked for another opportunity to contribute. A friend suggested Bakul and I began volunteering there with little expectations. I am amazed at my experience there. Some random German girl comes to Bakul, says she wants to do something and after a while at least 7 people get so dedicated to volunteering at Bakul that one of them even skips her own work for a whole week. I never experienced such a community ever beforeand I think it is unique at Bakul."

Quote from Melissa Cornacchia from Toronto who interned with a local NGO and simultaneously volunteered at Bakul.

"I came to Orissa on a completely different assignment. My work was with a local NGO to assist in thedevelopment of a youth programme. But after coming to Bakul, within a few weeks, I was also part of the programming. Assisting children to choreograph dances for a musical and collaborating with Bakul to meet youth. It all sort of organically came together. There was lots of momentum and energy, with additional programming happening simultaneously. I didn't spend all of my time at the library, as I had other obligations. But I was drawn to participate in the activities and spend time with the amazing people who were also drawn to Bakul. It was the place to be! And I believe that's the strength of Bakul. Once you're part of it, there's no going back. You're part of the family! At least that's how I felt. The space is given to individuals to make dreams, passions and desires come to life. That platform really does exist. But I used it as a foreigner coming to Orissa with the intension of doing something."

Shaila Patnaik was the first volunteer to join Bakul outside the group the group that formed it. She "dropped from heaven" just before the opening of the library and remained active till 2009, when she left for Delhi. She continues to be active when she is in Bhubaneswar.

"My Bakul experience started on the 29th of March, 2007 when I got a call from Sujit asking me to meet him at Bakul that morning. Sujit’s enthusiasm was, and still is, infectious to the extreme! The opening came and went. Extreme last-minute errands notwithstanding, the inauguration of Bakul Children’s Library was a resounding success. In the following days, I came and helped out whenever and wherever I could. Working at Bakul has been such a great experience. I experienced things I never thought I would, I met people from a variety of backgrounds and I saw firsthand how a few good men and women, who had dared to dream big, had succeeded in fulfilling their dreams. I have seen kids coming regularly to enjoy a world of books that, normally, they would have never had access to. I have met the most amazing people, the likes of whom I didn’t know even existed in Bhubaneswar . The highs, the lows, the narrow squeaks, the giddying successes , the parties (!!) - I wouldn’t miss it for the world.If there’s anything I’ve learnt from Sujit and the Bakulians, it’s this - Bring it on!"

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