Vera Hofmann - My stay at CTRD

My name is Vera Hofmann. After finishing my Bachelors degree in Psychology in Germany, I decided to volunteer in India for 6 months.

I chose CTRD Trust because I was fascinated by the various projects that they had to benefit the Tribal community. Moreover, I was drawn to their "grassroot" character. CTRD Trust is based in and empowers the Tribal community in the Nilgiris District tea plantations. Moreover, I enjoyed living at this site because I am fascination by the tea plant.

Since mid October 2013, I worked in different projects. After two months in my new environment, I shadowed staff members and helped them on the field. Having gained confidence from working in the field, I began conducting projects of my own. I continued developing projects until the end of my stay. My projects included helping the CTRD Home start five Vision Centers and renovating the kitchen at the CTRD Home.

On one hand, I worked very closely with tribal and destitute children. On the other, I cooperated with German Companies who supported the CTRD. Mr. Ranganathen gave me a lot of freedom to organize my projects the way I thought best. And when I had the feeling to have fresh air and take a break from office work, I would go to the CTRD Home to work with the orphans in the kitchen garden.

At CTRD, I learned a lot about tribes, the rural population in India, and their perception of life and values. I experienced firsthand the pleasures and sorrows of day-to-day life in this NGO. I am very grateful to all of the staff members who received me so cordially; because of them I learned a lot. I'm especially grateful to Mr. Ranganathen, he made this experience so authentic and unique.

Connecting with the destitute children and senior citizens at the CTRD Home widened my perspective of life. They showed me how beautiful and funny life can be even if you've nearly lost everything. The companionship among them and close relationship they built with me during my six month stay in the Nilgiris made me think about human bonding, dependency, and our western, more individualistic lifestyle.

I recommend staying at the CTRD Trust to those who are interested in learning more about the NGO sector, to those who are interested in working with experienced social workers, and to those who are willing to delve into an amazing, life changing experience in rural India.