The volunteer activities in these programmes primarily relate to education and child care in various institutions that we have identified as appropriate for volunteer and local intervention. We constantly seek expansion of the positive influence of the programmes by including new activities that can engage volunteers in gainful activities for the local population.
Volunteers will visit the local projects as part of their orientation. Projects vary depending on the needs of the location, volunteers should be prepared to be flexible with regard to their project placement. Teaching and Education, Women Empowerment and Child care are the common activities that we offer in the Himalaya region. Most of the volunteer work will be carried out in the mornings. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to get involved in extra afternoon volunteer work (see below).
Teaching and Education
Volunteers teaching in rural schools has been one of the most successful interventions of our local partner and the most popular activity. Volunteers participate in educational enhancement for students of primary school specifically in the areas of English, Maths and enhancing creativity. In order to promote participation of more and more volunteers in this activity, you will be provided with detailed workbooks and guidelines for teaching. Those participants who have no formal education or practical experience in teaching can also carry out this activity comfortably with the help of aids provided.
The volunteer activities in the field include:
- Regularly teaching children English and Mathematics in the schools.
- Creating a playful environment and enhancing the creativity of the children through painting, playing games, singing etc.
- Working with local teachers in creating low cost teaching material and to train them in making education more fun for the children.
- Each volunteer will take responsibility for the everyday attendance of a few children to the school, aim to improve overall interest in the school and reduce drop-out rate.
- Ensuring regular health check ups for the children in each school through cooperating with the local doctors and hospital staff.
- Creating basic hygiene awareness amongst children on a regular basis.
Welfare and Child Care
In addition to the attention at schools, early childhood care and education is an area of critical need in rural areas. Drawing upon experience over the last few years our partner has taken up the responsibility of maintenance and care of local child care centres, and volunteers are encouraged to get involved. Also called Anganwari, these centres carry out holistic child care in the area.
Volunteer activities include:
- Personal attention and care to the children coming to the center everyday.
- Give assistance to the local worker for record maintenance for each child based on health, vaccination, growth and nutritional condition.
- Making and feeding the children a specially prepared nutritious meal everyday with the help of a local worker.
- Continuous survey of all pregnant women and new born babies in the area for regular health check ups and vaccination.
- Creating a colorful and enjoyable environment for the children with games, stories and other creative activities (all material support and training would be provided by the host organisation)
- Developing the motor skills of the little children through various games etc
School for Children with Intellectual Disabilities: Thakardwara (Himachal): Since June 2005, international volunteers have been working at this school. As a result of this intervention, the number of students has grown and attendance of children has become much more regular. Severely understaffed, the two teachers in the school are often struggling to give adequate attention to each of the approximately 20-odd students enrolled in the school. The volunteer activities in this institution would include: assisting teachers in completing assignments for the students, organizing education and fun activities for the children, and visiting students' homes for sensitization of the family towards their children with special needs.
A variety of educational and confidence building activities are organised for the benefit of adolescent girls and women of the local community by volunteers. These activities are geared towards expanding the horizon of this often neglected section of the community with the purpose of giving them a sense of self-worth and empowerment.
Volunteers contribute significantly in the areas of:
- Computer training: In the fact developing world the knowledge of computer can give the students a employability advantage and make it easier for them to access modern means to information and expression. Volunteers can make use of the well tested and developed modules of imparting basic computer skills to enthusiastic local girls and women.
- English classes: In an increasingly unilingual world , knowledge of English can make a huge difference to the confidence, employability and social status of an individual. With English not being the first language in the rural areas, people from a vast majority of Indian population miss out on quality opportunities of gaining confidence in the sue of language. Volunteers, with their involvement in teaching English to local women can help the project achieve a multitude of objectives like empowerment and increasing employability.
Extra Afternoon Volunteer Options in Himachal:
If you would like to get involved in more volunteer work than your core option offers. You may have the option to further volunteer work which can include the following:
- Additional tutoring for slow learning children:
With the help of regularly updated records of school children, interested volunteers can take up special classes for children that need more tutoring at their homes. This activity can have the additional benefit of building more confidence in the community about volunteers’ work and awareness about the need for regular schooling.
- Maintenance of institutional facilities:
During some afternoons, the volunteers can take up maintenance, renovation and decoration of their various work places like schools, daycare centers etc. Such work will not be available on a continuous basis and hence may be seen as an extra activity that the volunteers would carry.