Monthly Archives: January 2012

Times of India Appreciates FSL India Volunteers

Times of India Appreciates FSL India Volunteers

112Miss Lilian Ava Zeitelhack from Germany and Mr. Sean Gilhooly from London are the two long term volunteers of FSL India. The duo volunteers are placed in a teaching project at Milinda Vidya Samsthe in Koppa town of Somavarpete Taluk in Kodagu district. While Lilian has been teaching English to the children, Sean Gilhooly is assigned to teach them Art and Music. Besides both the volunteers are also teaching Geography, History and Moral Science to children. About 500 school children are immensely benefitted from the duo’s 5 to 6 hours of teaching service every day.

As soon as they arrived in early August 2011, FSL India assigned them with teaching projects. First they started teaching the children with disability. Later due to the need they were placed in Milinda Vidya Samsthe. Their popularity as committed and dedicated volunteers and teachers grew rapidly among the staff and students of Milinda School. They taught basic English and Grammar through alternative teaching techniques with singing and dancing as one of the tools.

On 15th January 2012, Times of India (Sunday Times) one of the leading National Dailies made a good coverage about their service. Mr. R. Uday Kumar, the news reporter of Times of India interviewed and interacted with the FSL India volunteers. Responding to Uday Kumar’s queries, Lilian Ava, essentially a student of Psychology stated that, “the students are very cooperative. As they can’t speak English in the beginning, it was a bit difficult, but later they picked up the language”. She further added that “Now, the children are able to understand English without any problem”.

36What is so important to note here is that the duo’s vision for the children. “We want children to think on their own, be confident and to ask questions. No answer or question is wrong as long as one really tries to learn something” – this is the message of Lilian that really impressed the news reporter of Times of India to make a special coverage and appreciate their commitment and dedicated service.

Lilian Ava and Sean Gilhooly further inform the news reporter that “it is been learning experience for us as the children and community people teach us about the cultural and traditional values of India”. The duo command respect of the children and staff of Milinda Vidya Samsthe for their committed service.

FSL India deems the appreciation of Times of India to Lilian Ava and Sean Gilhooly as a living testimony which will go on the record to encourage other volunteers. What is important to note here is that the recognition of media is only one of the instances. There are hundreds of FSL India volunteers placed in various projects all across India and are involved in providing commendable service to the poor and needy which are yet to hit the headlines of electronic and print media like Times of India.

Our Little-Flower Keeps Improving

Our Little-Flower Keeps Improving

18Our FSL India volunteers know from their own experiences, where things can be improved at the Little Flower School and so they did some great donations for the School, as well as for the hostel. Until three months ago, photocopies needed for the school had to be brought from outside. If it were some documents for the office or especially during the time of the exams, one student always had to go by bicycle to the next village, 8 km far away to get the Xerox print. Of course this took always a lot of time for the student who had to go and it was also complicated during office hours.

The two Volunteers of FSL India, Franz König from Austria and Moritz Wittkamp from Germany, did a lot of work for the school in the office and so they soon got aware of this deficiency. After some time, they decided that the current situation is not good, either for the school or for the students. They informed themselves about the possibilities and finally they donated a new office Photocopying (Xerox) machine. This purchase makes the whole work in the office much easier than it was before and especially the students who had to go by bicycle, is happy that he doesn’t have to spend his time on the road anymore. He can save the time now for his studies.

Another aspect that stung27 into the eyes of the two Volunteers was the difficulty of a proper hygiene among the children. Especially the youngest ones of our Little Flower Family used to face a huge challenge when they have to clean their clothes and bed sheets properly. These are duties which are usually taken care by the family, but here the children have to learn very fast, to care for their own hygiene and to be independent in those issues. Although they got great support from their elder ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’, it is not possible to avoid all diseases.

To improve this situation and to enable a more hygienic living among the children, we decided, that only a washing machine can bring the necessary hygiene. From now on, the Little Flower Family has a new washing machine with a drier included. Nine kilo gram of dirty clothes can be washed and dried now by every cycle. Now not only just their white uniforms shines bright like new ones, also skin diseases can be faced now by washing the bed sheets, uniforms and other clothes of our small ones.

41For the last donation, the help of many of our previous volunteers came together. Heading towards Christmas, the head of the project Mrs. Jakin Bin and the volunteers were thinking about how to enable a nice Christmas celebration for our children. Some of the previous volunteers, who have spent a part of their lives together with the children, were remembering their nice and joyful time in Ranganpalke. Knowing about the situation of the children, they did not forget them and donated some money for Christmas presents for the kids. Incited by this great news, we the current volunteers wrote a mail to all the previous volunteers who have spent some time at Little Flower School, to make Christmas a memorable one.

At the end there was a great35 feedback from many volunteers, as they are Tania and Marina (Spain), Anni (Finland), Jade (France), Julian (Germany), Franz (Austria). All together they donated a good amount of money which enabled us to buy many different sport items, which were handed over to the hostel children on their Christmas function. Seeing those volleyballs, football, badminton items, cricket bats and many more it brought shine and smile on their face. Beside all these sports articles the children of the Little Flower Family got a lot of utensils, books, games and quiz during the advents season. We brought a German custom into the Indian spirit of Christmas. By opening every day in the advent a small parcel to the children were guided with joy towards Christmas. Starting with the first of December one child cut the small present from a string named “Advent Calendar”.

All the children were very happy for all this great support from their friends. The big variety of received delivery improved many aspects not just of their daily duties but also of their playing time. In the name of the whole Little-Flower-Family we say THANK YOU to all our beloved backers!

Franz König and Moritz Wittkamp
FSL India Volunteers at Little Flower School

India – My Dream Country!

India – My Dream Country!

Date: 4th Aug 2011 to 28th Aug 2011
Work Camp Code: FSL-SPL 145
Location: Dharamsala
Name: Jihae LEE

17India has always been my dream country. A place that exotic, fantastic, and unlike the rest of the world. I wanted to see the prayer in river Ganga. I also wanted to feel the love of a great man toward his wife in Taj Mahal. Last but not least, I wanted to eat real curry with Nan.

However, when I arrived at the Indira Gandhi Airport, I began to worry about everything. The weather was very hot and humid. The airport, which should be the most clean and high-tech place, was not like that. I went to the hotel with no air-condition and no proper chair taxi. On the way to hotel, I was afraid because it was 11 p.m. There were many people on the street with nearly naked body. Hunting-dogs were searching for food, and the road condition was worst ever. Next day, I bought a bus ticket to the meeting point at double price, which took 12 hours from Delhi without toilet! I arrived at the meeting point at 4:30 a.m. Again I was afraid of the dark-unknown city. I stood there in the heavy rain for 2hours with my 2 luggage.

Seven hours after my arrival, I met my team leader and teammates. Now, my Work Camp begins. I loved my 19 teammates. Everybody was so outgoing and kind. At first two Dutch were not nice at all. Racism!! Well, 3 days later, I could see their changes. We began to talk about our countries and that helped us understand and fix our prejudices. Our team re-constructed the local school near our accommodation. We did mural painting, built the wall around school, and fix the fence. Working was very much a fun because we could talk a lot during the work and I could leave some mark in India by painting the walls. However, I hoped that, I would work more than I did. Because of the rain, we could not finish our work. That was my one of the reason, why I join this Work Camp.

I liked the country presentation during the daily meeting. I could learn a lot from their presentation and that helped me rethink about other culture. I was very much impressed to learn about each country’s real situation.

I had very close relationship with entire village community which was the greatest part. At first, I was afraid of Indians. I tried my best to ignore them. Later, I realized that I was wrong. People treat me the same way I treat them. After a week, they greeted all the time, helped me get a taxi and free laundry service.

It was a great time to look back myself. Through meditation, I learnt how to endure things and how to think carefully before deciding on anything. I also learned not to judge other people by their appearances. I thank so much to the Work Camp, FSL India and my school to provide such a valuable time. I could learn life lesson and appreciate the beauty of Indian culture including Taj Mahal.

-Jihae LEE

FSLIndia Hosts 8th Happy Move Camp for South Korean Volunteers

FSLIndia Hosts 8th Happy Move Camp for South Korean Volunteers

16FSL India has been implementing CSR projects, titled Happy Move Global Youth Volunteers and Model Village (MVP) in Tamil Nadu. FSL India is currently hosing 8th Happy Move Global Youth Camp for South Korean Volunteers. The program is intended to serve the communities of Sriperumbudur and Kanchipuram districts. This program is being supported by Hyundai Motors Company (HMC) as part of corporate social responsibility so as to establish closer ties with the local communities.

Under the ‘Happy Move Global Youth Volunteers’ 34program, HMC, South Korea sends a total of 250 volunteers to FSL India. In addition they also send 20 Korean doctors and specialists. These Korean volunteers organise medical camps, health awareness campaign, education and renovation work in schools and villages.

The first batch of 8th Happy Move Global Youth Camp started on 19th January 2012 in Chennai and will continue until 31st January 2012. Altogether 88 Korean volunteers, 19 Hyundai Graduate Engineer Trainees (Indian 4participants), 9 nurses and 9 FSL India facilitators are participating in this camp. Totally 125 volunteers are currently partaking in this global event. FSL India team in Chennai under the leadership of Mr. Arun B. the Program manager is organising and coordinating this event.

The program started with a formal inauguration and welcome followed by orientation and team building exercise at Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI). From 21st January the volunteers w5ill be engaged in education and renovation activities in 4 villages around Hyundai Motor India and conduct medical camp in fifteen villages in Sriperumbudur block of Kancheepuram District.

On behalf of the management and staff, Mr. Rakesh S. Soans the President and Mr. Rohan D’Souza the Director of FSL India extend hearty welcome to the volunteers.

Parents Meeting at Tent School

Parents Meeting at Tent School

15Tent Schools are the initiatives of FSL India under Home Based Project (HBP). Many families migrate to Kundapur in search of livelihood. These families setup tents as their temporary homes. The children who move with their parents end up missing education. FSL India started Tent Schools in and around Kundapur to provide basic education to the children. The project aims to educate these children and motivate them to join regular school.

Tent Schools are effectively functioning with international long term volunteers. Recently one of the leading German Newspaper featured news article on Tent Schools. FSL India team along with long term volunteers conducted parents meeting at Navayuga tent school with a view to interacting with the families living in the tents and discussed on issues regarding their health and hygiene.

26The place where the meeting was conducted is now kept clean and tidy. This improvement is due to the awareness created by the volunteers and FSL India staff. People have also cleansed the water tank as a result of the awareness created on health and hygiene. Earlier they never used to feel the importance of cleanliness. Following are some of the changes brought about as an impact of the health education imparted by the Long Term Volunteers and the staff of FSL India.

• People are washing their clothes and take initiatives to keep their surrounding clean.
• The parents taken interest to send their children to Tent School clean and neatly dressed.
• Children also get into the habit of washing their hands before and after taking food and take bath regularly.

Totally 15 families along with children participated in the meeting. Volunteers such as Miss Meret, Miss Maria and HBP team of FSL India Mr. Manjunath, Miss Shalini and Miss Manjula facilitated the meeting and educated the parents and children on health and hygiene.

Rain Water Harvesting System Set up by Volunteers of FSL India

Rain Water Harvesting System Set up by Volunteers of FSL India

“In our country, we just turn on a tap and water is available. We don’t really worry about it going dry – says Jacob, the environmental engineer from Germany

25Water is a precious resource. However, in cities like Bangalore, water is squandered without a second thought. Johan Saelens, Jacob Benisch and Antoin Borjnon, three FSL India volunteers did their bit to set right the imbalance by setting up a Rain Water Harvesting system in a Hebbal school. While and Jacob are from Germany and Antoin is from France and like most of Europe, they don’t really have problems and water shortage is an alien concept to them

These three young volunteers of FSL India set up a rain water harvesting system in a government school near Bytarayanapura by mobilising almost an amount Rs. 15,000. Their trip across rural Karnataka made them feel how dire the situation is. The trio whose ages range from 19 to 24 years are high school/college students who are with FSL India for field service and inter-cultural learning. Jacob is an environmental engineer, Antoin a telecommunications engineer and Johan is just the high school student.

They are placed at Rain Water Concepts and Water Literacy Foundation, a Bangalore-based NGO. It was a new concept for them. But what they had not realised how important rain water harvesting was in a country like India where the demand for the life-giving liquid was more than the supply. In France and Germany, people just turn on a tap and water is available. People don’t really worry about it going dry. It was only when they came to India that they did realise how dire is the situation. They were surprised that in rural Karnataka, people walk long distances to fetch drinking water even in this day and age. Still amount of water is being wasted in Bangalore.

33After the trip to drought-ridden Gadag district in North Karnataka, they decided to do something to stop the waste of water around them. Therefore, they chose the government school near Bytarayanapura in Hebbal. The school has 525 children and used about 300 litres of water daily. Initially they had no proper method of disposing the used or grey water. This used to flood the roads and it was an unhygienic mess. There is no Cauvery water supply in this part of town and people rely on bore-well water. B Sumithra, the school principal says, that when these three came up with the idea of rain water harvesting in the school, it was a great relief.

These FSL India volunteers came up with three-fold strategic solutions. They set up roof rain water harvesting, grey water harvesting which led to underground recharging and open catchment harvesting. The entire roof became a catchment area for the children to use for their water requirements including bathrooms and for washing vessels. The grey water that came out of the bathrooms is used to charge the groundwater after intense filtration. They also created a method to ensure drain system so as to prevent roads from flooding. The entire cost was about Rs 36,000.

People who supplied the raw material gave at a cost reasonably low price. They did not want to ask anybody for help and wanted to do this by themselves. There is no water shortage for them in their country. But no one ever knows how bad the situation can get around the world. Water is a precious resource it needs to be conserved. This is the lesson one has to learn from these young volunteer.

Ecoclub Meeting at Kundapur

Ecoclub Meeting at Kundapur

14“Change your mind” was the title and topic of a skit which the International volunteers and staff of the homebased ecoclub project of FSL India performed during an ecoclub meeting in Kundapur. The meeting was organised by the Flora and Fauna Club Kundapur and attended by about 200 students from the 8th to 10th standards of Kundapura High Schools. The children got a lot of information about the wildlife in the Western Ghats.The main character of the play was a very selfish person who didn’t care about anything but himself. Without hesistating he polluted the environment and didn’t care for the living species. But his mind completely changed when he got to know about the consequences of climate change. He nearly died through a natural catastrophe and he only survived because he was rescued by some dolphins. The skit could show the children that the changing climate is a universal problem which concerns all of us and therefore needs urgent attention.

We can already see the 22consequenses of the Climate Change such as more climatic catastrophes. Even if the governments and big companies have the power to diminish the emissions of greenhouse gases, everyone should be aware of this. The main character completely changed his mind. We hope that the responsible persons all over the world will also change their minds.

31Among the public it is very important to create awareness even through small events like the Eco-club meeting. Every participant and the audience had at least a lot of fun joining this event. International volunteers of FSL India such as Caro, Lisa, Venus, Arther, Morten, Mia, Maria, and the staff members such as Basavraj, Steffi, Manjula, Manjunath, and Shalini participated in skit. As a token of appreciation, Dr. Malli, the organizer presented a memento to the volunteers and staff of FSL India.

My First Project with FSL India

My First Project with FSL India

13Hello everybody who reads this story all over the world. My name is Karel van den Berg. I am from the Netherlands. I am 38 years old and as Team Leader I have conducted three Work Camps for FSL India in 2005. Next week I will do one in Pondicherry. On my blog on this FSL India website you can read my experiences and find out what it means to be a volunteer for FSL India. In this first story I want to go back with you to 2005, my First Project with FSL India.

My first project with FSL India was in Goa, in Panaji, in January 2005. It lasted for 3 weeks. I was there with Leti from Mexico, Courtney from the USA, Pauolo from Italy, a very nice Korean and of course with Praveen the camp leader from FSL India. We stayed in a beautiful guesthouse with a very nice view on the beach. In the first week we were taught all kinds of information about HIV and AIDS by John of Positive People. In the second and third week we were teaching ourselves on several different schools close by. We were teaching the children of 16 to 17 years old to be careful with needles with drugs.

I taught the boys, and Leti and Courtney taught the girls. We also went to visit a house where there were living young children with HIV. We played with them, and they taught me how to play cricket. For a few hours they could forget their terrible disease. Now only 7 years later probably some of them are not living anymore… You can imagine that this had a great impact on us foreigners too. Then we also performed street theatre for about 100 truck drivers. We tried to learn them in a theatre play, in which I played a house wife. We also went to a small hospital with grown up people who had HIV. This was also a very impressing thing for us to see. But it was really a wonderful camp organised by FSL India. It gave a very good feeling to be able to help all these people and Praveen is still a big friend of mine.

My second project was in Gonnicopal. This lasted 2 weeks and I was there with two Americans, one Italian girl and a man from Korea. The camp leader was Joy a good friend of Praveen. We were staying in a small building next to a place where almost 30 children were living. In the morning we worked in a garden of older people. I think there were 15 men and women living and we cleaned the garden for them. We painted the fences and we build two benches for them to sit on. We even came in a real India newspaper with a small story about us and our work with FSL India. In the afternoon we used to go back to the accommodation and played with the children. They were so nice. We sang, played several sports and had a real drawing competition with choke on the floor. The leader of the school was Shanti. She was a very nice woman and also all the other women who were working there were very nice to us. And of course as in India, the food is very good. This camp again was a great experience. I remember also the nice trips we had in the weekends. We saw a real Indian wedding; I stood under a 30 meters high waterfall and sat on an elephant.

Then, after a little bit travelling around, I went to Karaikal where I worked in a Tsunami Camp of FSL India. The relief work started with a project in Karaikalmedu. In the first weeks a lot work was done. When I arrived in March 2005, the most important jobs were already done. There were new temporary houses for 50 families who had lost their house and of course there were a lot dead bodies to collect and bury. I forgot how many exactly, but for this small village this enormous wave of water was a huge problem and a disaster, you can imagine. It was really heart-breaking to see. But what I remember the most of this camp that everybody kept on laughing and was so friendly and nice to us. In this bigger camp there came and went every week different volunteers.

I was there for 7 weeks and I think I worked with 30 to 40 people. They all came from Italy, Germany, USA, Korea, France, The Netherlands etc. The leaders there were Prem, Praveen and Dr. Sanjay J. Deodhar. My work in this camp was mainly cleaning the dirty village and painting the temporary houses white. Because of the temperature (35 Celsius) these houses were very hot to live in. Painting them made a little bit more comfortable. We also painted the small school with nice colourful drawings. I also played with the children in a small building where they came together after school. The day after tomorrow this visit, I want to try to go back to Karaikal and to visit the village again. Of course I will write on this blog what I will find there after 7 years. Did they start with building the new stone houses? What about the plastics and other trash? FSL India left Karaikalmedu in the end of 2005. Now I am very curious what I will find there.

My first story until now, I will try to give you more interesting information about my new project in Pondicherry, from 16 till 29 January. You can read it here. For now thank you for reading my story and I wish you all the best. Thanks to you all wonderful people that I have met here. Everybody is so nice to me and I really love this place. It’s great to be back to part of the camp organised by FSL India! If you are reading this and doubting about to which country you want to come. I can only tell you, come to India, and come to FSL India. It is such a beautiful and interesting big country with a very nice culture. It’s great to be here.

Karel van den Berg
FSL India Volunteer from Netherlands

LTV Get Together (December 2011) – Kundapur

LTV Get Together (December 2011) – Kundapur

In the month of December Get-Together for Long Term Volunteers in Kundapur zone was held at St. Joseph Community Hall Anagalli. The two-day program was held on 15th and 16th December 2011. There were 17 volunteers and 4 staff FSL India who participated in the get together.

On the first day after lunch, volunteers participated in activities such as project portrait and collage. Then there followed the one-to- one talk by the volunteers with the respective coordinators. All the volunteers participated in the mood-chart activity on 16th Morning.

12Volunteers participated in the LTV Get-Together are those who are associated with projects such as Sea Turtle Conservation, Eco Tourism, Tent School, Teaching Projects, Orphan Children Teaching, Special Children Teaching and Environment Education. Charts were given to volunteers for performing the activity of project portrait. Newspaper and books were given to the volunteers and they were asked to prepare the collage. After the Collage, the volunteers were asked to share with other members of the group. Following is the detail of volunteers and the countries they represent:

Sweden-2 Slovakia- 1 Hong Kong-1 Germany- 5 Denmark- 5 France-2 Netherland-1

LTV Get Together (December 2011) – Pondichery

LTV Get Together (December 2011) – Pondichery

LTV Get Together for the month of December11 for the volunteers of Bangalore zone was organised at Indian Institute of Training on post-Development, Chettikuppam Village, Villupuram District Tamil Nadu on 15th and 16th December 2011. The objectives the Get-together are:

  • To create a platform for volunteers to share their experience, project work, progress result in a group
  • To find solution to the problems encountered
  • To share the best practices of voluntary service
  • To have one-to-one talk with coordinator
  • To get motivation for future work in the projects

21Program evaluation, group games, experience sharing and one-to-one talk with coordinators were the major activities of the two-day program.

During the session on projects, volunteers shared the activities that they had done, the progress made, challenges encountered and the results achieved. There was a session on Communication. In this activity the volunteers were divided into 7 groups. Each group consisting of one viewer, communicator and artist. Each group was given with a pre-drawn picture where the viewer would see it. The viewer would orally explain the picture to communicator who in turn would explain by sign language.


This exercise was facilitated with a view to making the volunteers understand that they are working in a team with people from different countries and different culture, language and background. It is always a challenge to share ones idea to other. Therefore, volunteers need to know different ways of communicating while working in a team.

Volunteers also had one-to one talk with the respective coordinators and discussed on the challenges they encounter in the projects. Some of them are:

  • Difficulty in making rain water harvest system at school
  • Challenges in teaching English to the children
  • Practicing spoken English with the children
  • Difficulty in teaching children with disability
  • Difficulty in finding work in the project
  • Feeling of loneliness because there is no other volunteer.
  • Difficulty in communicating in Local language

Volunteers also had lots of fun games during the get together and enjoyed every bit of moment. Altogether 20 volunteers and 5 staff from FSL India participated in the program.

We create an amazing “global humor”

We create an amazing “global humor”

1After more than four months in FSL India, I got a lot of working experiences as a volunteer in my project, the Little Flower School. The institution is an orphanage with a school as well. This combination is a great advantage for all the children living in the campus. Children can use the whole ground also in their free time and have a short way to the classrooms. What gives the whole situation a special character is the community itself and the feeling of belongingness and togetherness. Respectful treatment and the support of each member of this unique community is the outcome of this great combination with its marvelous spirit!

Before entering the project, I expected to meet a certain routine after such a long time being in the daily work. But in this case I really deceived myself. Although my work schedule is quite fixed, there is every day something new and special. By completing the school bus conducting, my duty as an art teacher, the tuition and playing time coordination, I don’t feel like simply running down a time table. All the small happenings create an exciting day. Starting with the smallest boy of our campus, named Stefan, who plays without knowing the clumsy fellow up to the big events like the well celebrated Children’s Day, there is always something special. The outcome is a daily interesting and joyful life in the Little Flower Family, which I esteem continuously.

Since the last weeks I feel more and more integrated into this great “Little Flower Family”. The relationships to all the members, especially to the children, are getting more intensive day by day, where I could see small-talk yesterday, I have interesting and deep conversations today. But we are not only sharing our words, we too share our jokes in a lot of funny situations. Mixing up my small knowledge of the local language Kannada with my English, we create an amazing “global humor”. With the wide range of creative activities like drawing, clay modeling or small handicrafts, children share their happiness and enthusiasm with me. That way I receive a lot of motivation and positive energy for my upcoming challenges and every new day.

Due to this, the relationship2 to our “project parents” Jakin Mam and her husband Binu Sir increased a lot and became more familiar. They are very thankful about the support of me and my volunteer mates, first the Austrian Franz and now Andreas. This gratefulness motivates us and guides us through the day. According to the good corporation we get to know a lot about the project backgrounds like the single faith of every child.

Knowing the children it is hard to hear their stories. All of them had to grow up in extremely poor backgrounds. They had to beg on the streets and couldn’t receive any education. It might sound like one of the daily news, but being integrated in the project that well, it is a very emotional affair for me. I’m happy about this wonderful opportunity offered to the children by this great institution. The whole project is completely financed by a continuous donation system. Only that way the monthly bills can be paid. The Indian government has not given any money to this institution. I request you to share your heart with this great Little Flower Children. Every small amount can be a big support for them.
Moritz Wittkamp

FSL India Volunteer from Germany

Blog lost pictures!!

Blog lost pictures!!

Dear all,

I would like to wish you all a great and wonderful year ahead in 2012.

I am very sorry to say that we kind of lost all the pictures on our  blog!! We are trying our best to get them back. Please bear with us.