The biggest challenge he faced was the language and culture, everything was different. Despite this, Sarath made the most of his experience in every way possible. Not only did he take away lessons, he has acted on them.
Sarath, 21 comes from a village in Kerala, he speaks neither English nor Hindi, only Malayam. In saying this, Sarath was by far the most expressive volunteer and this was evident in his interactions with everyone. This is his story of breaking barriers.
Sarath is extremely passionate about the environment, folk culture and the role young people can play in the world. He has also had previous experience working with young people in his village. He’s a member of the Vayali Bamboo Band and was introduced to ICS by Vinod, the founder of the group.
Sarath broke all the language barriers and found other ways to interact with everyone. He loved to dance and there is no music in the world that he wouldn’t be able to dance to. He made musical instruments. He really connected on a creative level and went as far as directing an entire play in Hindi. Can you imagine?
“It was like a film of which I was the hero”. Sarath explains his experience.
Sarath came not knowing exactly what he wanted to do but he knew that he wanted to do SOMETHING and he really grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
He found real value in the relationships he built, especially with the volunteers and his host family.
“Being on this journey has made me closer with my own family and speak to them more, not only because I learnt the value of family but also because they speak the same language as me”.
The experience was so impactful on Sarath that he even shared his story with his old school teacher, which is something he never thought he would do.
What Sarath took away with him: Gained tremendous confidence.
“In my opinion whoever takes an initiative is a leader.” He says.
On working with young people and children in a different language, he emphasises, “When I do not fear taking a session in another language why do I fear in my own? I’ve always wanted to create a Youth Group and I did in a community of different language.” He sang songs in Hindi, and danced on every possible music. He took it upon himself to learn English and can now confidently hold a phone conversation. After he returned to his home community, he held a 5 days camp on leadership for adolescents and youth and touched more than 200 people!
He has also taken away task based skills like observing, identifying problems, local culture and confidence in speaking and performing on stage. He expresses his joy sharing, “I feel that the young people I’ve worked with have a starting point now…”
At a personal level Sarath has achieved satisfaction, “I’ve learnt to make people happy no matter what!”
Sarath’s final word of advice to the world is “Go ahead, look forward, no step back, any challenge face it, happily.”
Sarath touched the hearts of everyone in the program.
A true inspiration.