Giulia & Marina, Solidarity Leave in Nepal

Giulia is Project Management & Shoes Product Development and Marina is Product Manager & Shoes Collection Director, both working for Bottega Veneta in Italy. They went for a mission to Nepal, to the Saathi shelter

1- What inspired you to get involved as a volunteer?

We decided to get involved as a volunteer because we wanted to help other people in bad situation and teach them something that will be useful in their future, give ourselves, our time and our energy to them.

When we read about the projects in the Kering Foundation website, Nepal was our first choice on instinct and heart.
We immediately felt within ourselves that it was the project that we would love the most, both for the country and for the difficult and painful reality of these women and children.
Our mission was in Kathmandu: the Saathi shelter is home for girls who have been sexually abused.

2- What was your role during your mission?

During the mission we organize the social activities for 15 girls all day every day for two weeks.
The main activities during the mission were: cooking, drawing, painting, sewing, hand making frames, photography, bracelets making with wool colored laces, salt dough, embroidery, dance and yoga, decoupage.

The girls have learned to embroidery with criss cross stitching, to make the frames with cardboard and newspaper, to make bracelets with colored wool laces with different techniques, to do cookies and cakes. Activities had a dual purpose: to spend time with the girls and to teach them what one day could become a job.

3- What are your best memories of this adventure?

For me MARINA there were many important and special moments, but the one that immediately comes to mind is the last day when I was teaching the girls painting with the “hand colors” after painting on paper, they began to paint my face. It was a special and unique moment for me because they laughed happily and in the same time drew the lines of our unforgettable friendship.

For me GIULIA my best memories of this adventure were the eyes of the girls. The first day I was afraid about their reaction, in case we wouldn’t understand each other due to different languages, but we understood each other only with our eyes. Gazes and simplicity had made everything beautiful and memorable.

4- What advice would you give to future volunteers or to people who hesitate to take a solidarity leave?

We suggest you this experience because it will become one of the best experiences of your life.
You only need to be open and listen with head and heart, be able to adapt to different conditions of culture, religion and hygiene. For sure with this kind of experience you get a lot more than you actually give!