Ladan Takow's Journey to India- Tamil Nadu and Chennai

There are complex global issues and challenges facing our world today. Taking part in the International Citizen Service and working with Restless Development will enable me to use my knowledge and experience to consider and reflect on my own perspective about the word. This trip will be a life time transformation it will impact my future role in taking action on issues I feel passionate about. I have always enjoyed working with different charities, helping others and attempting to change the world. My journey started with Somali Relief Development Form charity, I started volunteering for this charity when I was 17 years old. The Somali Relief and Development Forum is an umbrella organisation supporting Somali-led charities registered in the UK. SRDF charity is working extremely hard to help people in East Africa.  I wanted to be part of this amazing work and volunteer. I usually fundraise and host events; this enables me to network with young people in London/UK.

So far, this experience has been stunningly unforgettable. I am now in Tamil Nadu, which is the Homeland of one of the humanity’s living classical civilisations, a people whose culture has grown, but in many ways not fundamentally changed, since the Greeks sacrificed goats to Zeus. Here you can reach the ends of India, where three oceans mingle. Flying from Heathrow London airport, Chennai airport was my point of entry into Tamil Nadu. I stayed in Mumbai city for 5 hours before making my way to Chennai city. Mumbai (Bombay) is beautiful, full of dreamers and hard labourers, actors and sadly criminals. This city is also shaped by flavours from all over India and the world. Clearly, it’s impossible to explore Mumbai city, hopefully I will comeback in the future to see the Taj Mahal Palace.

I was in a group with 27 other volunteers they were as excited as I was, aged 18 to 25. We landed in Chennai city around 5pm and waited outside of the airport terminal for about an hour for someone from Restless Development to pick us up. Chennai city does not always make a good first Impression. The streets are clogged with traffic; the weather is oppressively hot, the air is heavy with smog and sights of any great interest are thin on the ground .We eventually made it to the hostel/Office to start training the next morning. I am currently enjoying my time in  Chennai city, yet I am only here for one week to train with the other volunteers before travelling to ‘Thiruvallur’ with six other volunteers to engage in  Livelihood and Health work in surrounding communities. We started training with the national volunteers and our team leaders and we have done some team building and interesting activities to prepare us for a placement in the villages. I must say, during training we enjoyed having long tea breaks and the fun activities. Now the hard work begins.

By Ladan Takow

Copy Editor: Mariam Mohamed

Ladan is sharing her journey to India and all her new experiences with readers. Keep posted for more stories.


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  2. Ladan, when you visited Tamil Nadu, approximately what percentage of Tamils looked identical to Somalis? 10%-30%? Were there times when you literally couldn't tell the difference between certain Tamils from Somalis?

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