The magnitude of our social problems will require that all citizens and institutions make a commitment to volunteering as a way of life and as a primary opportunity to create needed change…says George Romne.
Monthly get together is a regular feature in the Long Term Volunteering programme facilitated by FSL India. The volunteers are placed on various projects at various locations. Once a month the international volunteers gather together to share their experience, success stories and learning vis-a-vis what they planned to implement and bring about changes in the lives of the target community.
One of the underlying principles of engaging the international youth mass on various projects through voluntary service is to give an international dimension to development interventions and the changes that emanate from the collective actions. Get together indeed facilitates a process whereby the international volunteers learn through sharing with one another. Get together normally spans for two days. It is organised in batches for the international volunteers.
The get together for the month of September 2011 was organized at a Beach Resort at Koteshwara (about 7 kilo metres away from Kundapur) on 15th and 16th September. Although eleven volunteers associated with different project at different location were invited, due to unavoidable circumstances, only six volunteers representing countries such as France, Japan, Austria, Slovakia and Sweden participated in the monthly get together. Three staff from FSL India also participated in the get together were part of the learning process.
The primary objective of organising get together is indeed multi-dimensional. During the two-day sessions, the volunteers had the opportunity to meet with each other. They could share their experiences among each other. It was also an occasion to get and give feedback on their projects. They made assessment of living experience in the host family. As the volunteers work on a range of issues such as education, health, socio-cultural and economic development and environmental issues; they made an assessment on the progress, changes brought about and challenges encountered. Indeed this process created a platform for dialogue and continuous learning.
One of the interesting events took place during the get together is project and host family portrait which the volunteers made through the graphical presentation as shown in the picture above. This was done so as to understand both positive aspects and the challenges encountered. The graphical analysis greatly varied from volunteer to volunteer. However, it was a learning experience and everybody expressed a spirit of enthusiasm of being part of the volunteering experience. Simulation games, sharing of experience, one-to-one talk with coordinator; were also organised for the volunteers.