Hi there,

We, Laure, Aurélie and Jens, volunteered at Paces Crafts in August 2022. Freshly graduated we wanted to go on an adventure, explore the world and open our minds to something different. We got in contact with Solid International and did some volunteering at Paces Crafts in India. What a great adventure it has been! 

For one month we helped the team with all kinds of improvements

  • We mainly focused on the implementation of aspects related to Corporate Social Responsibility. This topic was important, as Solid wants to strive for the World Fair Trade Organization label. We focused on different policies around Labour & Human rights, the Environment, Health & Safety, and Sustainable procurement.
  • We helped a hand in organising the stock room, we organised social events (f.e. about Belgium), we worked on planning and about school opportunities for the women’s kids. To further support the women and their kids, we organised daily English classes for both! 
With the help of our family & friends, we were able to invest in tablets, so the artisans and their kids are no longer dependent on volunteers for learning English. Focussing on all these aspects made our work so variated and so much fun!

It was a great adventure! The colleagues in India were so nice. During the weekends, we visited the zoo, the Dasam and Hundru waterfalls, we visited the artisans’ home and we joined a church celebration. Our colleagues Tausif, Ebha, Jay B and Nikhil took so much care of us. 

India is so different, so bureaucratic, and so chaotic. Sometimes it can be frustrating, that everything takes so much time. The 3 minute walk to the supermarket can easily take 2 hours because of all random actions that happen. Or if you want to go home, there is an enormous traffic jam or just a bunch of cows chilling on the road blocking all the traffic. No, no single day in India passes without any adventure, but that makes it exciting. In that perspective, India can learn from our structured life. But there is also a lot we could learn from them! Think about the culture, their music & dance, how important family is, and how it is always put at the first place, yes, even before work! People live with much less, but they are extremely grateful for all the little things. If you give something, you get it back twice in love and care! As Ranchi is not touristic, we were the strangers. We got a lot of interest, people wanted to learn from us, we were invited by random people to have a cup of tea and to chat, that hospitality is just great! 
Oh India, a chaotic and special country, but oh so beautiful!! We would recommend this volunteering work to everyone. You are not only helping Solid, and Paces Crafts, you are growing as a person! It is an experience you will never forget! 

Laure, Aurélie & Jens 

Looking for a volunteer
In hand-machine knitting