Yogasphere Volunteer Trip
Join Our Founder Leo Lourdes this September 2018/ Next Trip Spring 2019 Volunteering Teaching Orphans in Himalayas See Gallery
We have selected a small group of our clients Dr Usha Rout, Elie Pippard-Kemp, Celine Vadam, Sara Seddigh, Fozia Iqbal, Sophie Chesser and Elizabeth Soar to join Yogasphere Founder Leo Lourdes to volunteer on an expedition this September to help share their wisdom and teach young Nepalese orphans. Both the orphanage and school are run by Leo's close friend of and prolific author Juliette Cunliffe with her Nepalese husband. The trip is with our amazing Yogasphere clients ranging from psychologists to teachers to look after the post-earthquake orphans and abandoned children in Pokhara, Nepal. To give them some absolute Yogasphere love and help them dream a wonderful, worthwhile future and also helping them release the trauma of the loss and suffering. We are helping to raise the vital funding to build them a permanent home and sustainable farm so they can be self-sufficient.
See more about the project If you can help in any way that would be great, whether you have old books, children's clothes or donations. If you would like to send things please contact Juliette to arrange.
During his travels in preparing for climbing Mount Everest, Leo spent some time here living and teaching the children yoga who had lost their parents and family through the terrible earthquake that hit the region and children abandoned through poverty.
If you are interested in coming on the next trip in Spring 2019, you will have a chance to spend some time learning some yoga, mindfulness and plenty of time to discover and explore. You will also be happy to roll up your sleeves and clear plant foliage and play with lazy puppies in the sun while drinking chai. It will be an unstructured trip and plenty of time to rest too.
Flights and Accommodation
You will be required to cover the cost of your own flights, visa, accommodation and subsistence which is inexpensive. Leo will also be volunteering and so all yoga classes and motivational talks will be at no fee.
This trip is not a yoga retreat in some faraway luxurious place that you may have been accustomed to from Yogasphere. While creature comforts will be more in ashram standards during this trip, yet nevertheless is stunning in natural beauty.
It will be for between 7-10 days and you will get some time to do trekking with Leo and his personal Sherpa mountain trekking guide Lalu who incidentally looks like a Nepalese Harry Potter :) Which is fitting as this trip will be magical.
You feel you have something to offer
Are a Yogasphere client
Available to travel with no restrictions
All volunteers will need to be Disclosure and Barring Service DBS checked for working with children (formerly CBS)
Application process please email email@example.com sharing the reasons you would like to come and listing your skills/talents
Meeting the Yogasphere team
Dates will be in the first 2 weeks of September 2018
Aayush’s father left his mother, taking Aayush with him at the age of about six years. Soon his father took up with another woman who treated Aayush badly, expecting him to do all the heavy duties, including carrying the water containers. Aayush he simply wasn’t strong enough to lift. When he could not do so, he cried and she beat him with a stick, usually on the back of his legs. when asked how often this happened and I was stunned by his answer 'Between four and six times a week', he said.
Knowing that Aayush was having such problems, his grandfather took him away to live with him but he really didn’t want him, nor did his own second wife. He was made to do a lot of work around the house, but at least he was no longer being beaten. Eventually they asked if Juliette could look after Aayush who was a poor-looking thing who didn’t know his exact age. What she knew was that the first thing they had to buy him was a new pair of shoes, for the front sections of his sandals had disappeared long ago. Soon enough, Aayush moved into the temporary hostel the orphanage currently have and he fitted in well. He was reserved at first, but soon opened up and proved to be very studious. He had been at the hostel for eight weeks when Juliette took the children for a walk around the village and she decided to call in at Aayush’s grandad’s home. She stood in stony silence as he immediately picked up a brush and started sweeping the floor, but absolutely no-one welcomed him, nor even spoke, except to me.
He still has his ‘lazy eye’, though when he is relaxed it is often open more than it used to be. We’ve had it checked and although nothing can be done to correct it as be then he was about eleven, he has no problem with his sight. Aayush graduated from Year 5 at Gauri School in March of this year, and was first in his class. Now he is at another local school where he can study until Class 8, although we are hoping when the new hostel is built he and the other children can change to a different school (which is currently too far away), where they can continue until Class 10. Aayush has designs on becoming an engineer when an adult. That’s an admirable goal Aayush, let’s hope you achieve your aim!
When Sarada arrived to the orphanage from the Terai region in September 2016, she was a very angry child. She has no parents, so lives with her extended family but she has definitely been physically abused and used to lash out at everyone around her as a defense mechanism.
Sarada had only attended school for two months and didn’t know her age but, of necessity, she had to join much younger children in the Nursery class, which she didn’t seem to mind, even though we reckoned she was about eleven. Although she still kept lashing out, her softer side showed through, such as when someone dropped something on the floor, when she would rush up to pick it up and give it back.
She still does. In February of the following year, a visitor from the UK who was a nursery school teacher brought with her a couple of teddy bears, just in case any of the children needed them. She thought Sarada was a perfect recipient. Juliette taught Sarada how to stroke it and she instantly called him ‘Jack’, after a dog in one of the school picture books, thinking him to be a dog. Jack worked wonders for this tortured little soul. She put him to bed in her bunk when she went to school, got him up to sit with her when she came home, but last holiday her aunt came to take her back to the Terai and Sarada took Jack with her but forgot to bring him back. Maybe Jack has served his purpose. She still thrashes out occasionally and is not an easy child to teach, but such a rewarding one.
Krish came to the orphanage from the hillside on the other side of Phewa Lake because of his family situation. Although his mother lives at home, she is fully involved caring for his step-father who met with an accident and damaged his spine, so is now bed-ridden and unable to move so they cannot look after their children as they did before.
An injury like this, of course, also affects a family’s income for neither mother nor step-father are now in a position to work and there is no Social Security system in Nepal.lad, and the only Christian amongst the children. He is, however, only Christian by default as his step-father is Christian so he had to forego Hinduism and follow his father’s religion. Interestingly, at Christmas-time, when we tried to give the children an idea of what Christmas was all about, he seemed not to have a clue about Father Christmas, nor indeed of Jesus. But that’s the way of the world here in Nepal.
Krish came second in his class, which is just as well as he would like to be a scientist.
An elderly relation of Santu’s brought her and her brother to the temporary hostel about a year ago, but Juliette had to turn them away as we simply had no space. Three months later someone brought them back again and just left them, so we squeezed them in. .Santu has never been to school at all and, like so many of the children, has no idea how old she is. There was no alternative but to start her off in the Nursery class with children several years younger than herself. Her other, and perhaps even more serious problem was that she wouldn’t speak. The teachers actually thought there was something physically wrong with her tongue, preventing her from doing so times and they having had training in speech and drama, albeit not in speech therapy, Juliette took her on one side a few practiced tongue exercises together and role plays, one of which was imagining another girl with the same name on a hillside across the valley, to whom we waved and shouted. I shouted, “Santu” and soon enough ‘our’ Santu called her too. Somehow we had broken the spell and from then on she has been using her voice more and more frequently. Thankfully, there is nothing at all wrong with her tongue.Santu has no mother and her father is an alcoholic, so she and her brother have no-one at all who seems capable of caring for them. Santu seemed a changed child and was speaking to people in the village, something she had never done before. We were all thrilled, and it is lovely to see. When she came home from term an elderly relation brought her back and burst into tears before the teacher, telling him that Santu now with a smile on her face at last!
PRADIP, SUNITA and RAMESH
For these three children, let the pictures speak for themselves. All three of them are from
extremely poor families and are Chepangs, who live up on a hillside 40 kilometres to the west of
Kathmandu. They are considered ‘the lowest of the low’ and are actually below the caste system, that is to say, lower than the so-called ‘untouchables’. A disgusting remnant of India's history and cruelty that Indians have inflicted on their own people under the name of 'God'.
They did attend school, but had to walk more than two hours in each direction to reach it. Ramesh and Pradip are brothers, and Sunita, who is incredibly intelligent, is another child from Chepang Village. In one of these photos you can see the three of them when they arrived at the orphanage, and the individual shots show them as they are now. A remarkable transformation.