Monthly Archives: June 2012

Session on Health & Hygiene for Children of Hyundai Employees

Session on Health & Hygiene for Children of Hyundai Employees

Chennai Facility team of FSL-India has been gradually making headway to address numerous health issues of the target community under model village project intervention. The team also has been extending health care service to people who live in the adjacent villages in Sriperumbudur so as to promote preventive health care among them. Recognizing the team’s efficiency in imparting health education, Hyundai Foundation requested Chennai Facility team to conduct health and hygiene session for the children and adolescents. This is the second time the team has been approached to organise such event for children and adolescents of Hyundai employees.

 

The program was conducted at Poonamalli, Chennai on 24th June 2012 wherein 20 children and adolescents within the age-group of 7 to 15 years participated. Sessions were conducted between 10 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. Adolescent health, personal hygiene, safe drinking water, use of toilets and how to keep it clean were the topics dealt with during the sessions. Awareness songs on personal hygiene were taught to the participants. Games and sports competitions were also conducted. At the end of the session children were asked to recollect what they have learnt. The participants were encouraged to disseminate the information to their families and peers in their locality and the schools where they study. Mr. Veeramani and Mr. Nagoor jointly facilitated the sessions for children. Indeed this exercise sparked a new interest among children and enabled them to think on “my health is in my hand”. FSL-India expects that this effort will create multiplier effect as more and more children will participate in promoting their own health.    

Linkage of Irukattukottai Panchayat Level Federation with TNCDW

Linkage of Irukattukottai Panchayat Level Federation with TNCDW

As an important component of the Model Village Project, FSL-India has formed Self-help Groups (SHGs) in Irunkattukottai village. These SHGs are federated at the Panchayat Level. To strengthen the women groups, the Chennai Facility team of FSL-India organised many training for the representatives on roles and responsibility of SHG leaders, book-keeping, how to conduct monthly meeting, group auditing, linkages with government schemes and programs, linkages with banks and micro finance institutes and leadership development. Ever since the Panchayat Level Federation (PLF) was formed, with the support of FSL-India team the PLF representative could plan and execute various programs.

 

The successful operation of PLF at Irunkattukottai village was reported to Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of women (TNCDW) popularly known as Mahalir Thittam in Kancheepuram.  The officials advised the representative of the PLF to get affiliated with TNCDW. To initiate the affiliation process two Assistant Project Officers such as Mr. Siva Subramanian (Training), Mr. Rajkumar (Livelihood) were deputed by TNCDW to hold discussion with PLF representatives and FSL-India team. Having interacted with the women, the representatives of TNCDW are pleased to see the progress PLF which has been formed and functioning actively. The two officers further encouraged the representatives of PLF and explained the procedural norms for linkages. To complete the process of affiliation with TNCDW the officers suggested PLF members to organize special meeting for a detailed discussion about how to avail various government livelihood schemes.

Wounded Sea-Turtles Rescued by FSL-India Team

Wounded Sea-Turtles Rescued by FSL-India Team

On 19th June 2012, HBP team of FSL-India rescued two wounded Sea-Turtles from Kanchugodu (Marvante) village which is located near Kundapura coast in Udupi District. Having received the information from one of the local contact persons, FSL-India team under the leadership Mr. Manjunath rushed to the spot on a rescue operation. The team could find that two turtles got wounded due to heavy rain and tidal waves. While one turtle had lost the right flipper, the other could not move because of tiredness.

 

Initially the team wanted to release the turtle to sea whose condition was stable. However, strong tidal waves made them to keep on hold until the situation gets better. The Turtles were kept at the rehabilitation centre for observation and later handed-over to Mr. Dasi for treatment. Mr. Dasi is a Contact Person and known for his expert and efficient care-giving and treatment of Sea-Turtles through indigenous techniques and application of herbal medicines. After the treatment and complete recuperation HBP Team will release the turtles to sea which is the natural abode.

 

These days as the rainy season has already set in, often wounded turtles are found on the shore. FSL-India team is determined to take all possible efforts to conserve this endangered species.

Letter from a South-Korean Volunteer

Letter from a South-Korean Volunteer

During January and February 2012, FSL-India organised work camp in Chennai for South-Korean volunteers. Puduperu is one of the villages where around 30 Korean volunteers participated in varieties of activities with school children and renovated the school building.

 

During the camp volunteers were extremely glad and impressed by children’s affectionate gestures, communication, cultural exposure, food and so on.  Children also invited the Korean volunteers to their homes and shared with them about traditional practices and socio-cultural values. Recently, with a sense of nostalgia and memories afresh of inter-cultural learning, Miss Jinsol Kim, one of the South-Korean volunteers wrote a letter to Niranjan a school boy of Puduperu village. What is important to note here is that, it is not only Niranjan but also we can see the impact of inter-cultural learning among many school going children and international volunteers. Today few children in the village could speak few words in Korean language. The school children keep enquiring about the wellbeing Korean volunteers and interested to know when the volunteers will pay a visit to the school again. Here is the letter of Miss Jinsol Kim to Niranjan.

A Normal Day at Navabharat School – Children Action Trust

A Normal Day at Navabharat School – Children Action Trust

Exactly at 7.30 a.m. the noise of the school van reaches our ears and we know many children from Pudupakkam and the surrounding villages will walk to the road to be picked up. Now we have one and half hours left until the school starts and one hour till we get our breakfast which will arrives with the first van children.  After devouring breakfast we go down to the still-playing students. It’s not a far way because we are living on the school estate. “High and Catch” and “7 stones” games all over the place.

 

Finally (mostly some minutes after 9 O’clock) the second van brings the last children. “Time over”, teachers starts to let the children gather for the assembly. After the National Anthem the students leave one by one to the classrooms. With the attendance register, a duster and a few chalk pieces all the teachers leave to facilitate their first lessons. All subjects are taught in English except Tamil – the local language.

 

Everyone is awaiting the snack-interval – the first possibility of the day to go to the bathroom, drink water and … eat snacks! Students not having snacks with them, generously receive some from their classmates.

 

We teach English for children of IV and V standard and computer as well. Additionally we play games, sing some songs or draw with all the children from I to V standard. Between our lessons we assist in the LKG & UKG and we accompany them during the lunch session.

 

Now every teacher gets welcomed with a “Good Afternoon Miss” till at 3.15 p.m. the evening prayer starts. The day ends with another National Anthem at which end every van. Children are eager to get the best seat in the bus. The others await theirs return to get back home. They use the time for homework and after that enjoy to play games with the youngsters and of course we the volunteers.

 

Miss Clara & Miss Tony

FSL-India Volunteers from Germany

Sea-Turtle Contact Person’s Meeting

Sea-Turtle Contact Person’s Meeting

Sea-turtle contact person meeting was organized by the HBP team of FSL-India at Navunda (near Kundapur) on 29th of May 2012. Altogether 7 contact persons from different locations, one volunteer and a three-member team of FSL-India participated in the meeting. Indeed it was a good opportunity for the contact person to deliberate on various issues of Sea-Turtle conservation.

 

The primary objective of the meeting is to get to know each other, share experience and best practices on Sea Turtle conservation. The team discussed on wide a wide range of issues regarding Sea-Turtle Conservation. Topics dealt with in the meeting are:  how to collect sea turtle eggs, how to relocate, hatchery building, tips on safe hatch-ling including protection from threats such as dogs, humans, crabs, heavy rain, warms, safety methods to release turtles, measures to take care of baby turtles and growth of the Sea-Turtle project.

 

Mr. Dasi who was involved in Sea-Turtle Project FSL-India for many years shared his experience about Sea-Turtle Conservation. On behalf of FSL-India the HBP team and volunteers assigned with this project shared about different activities to create awareness among community and schools such a beach walk, community awareness program, mural painting, TIC building (Turtle Information Center), community awareness program and puppet show. These can be effective strategies to create awareness about Sea-Turtle conservation in schools as and the community as well. 

My Inter-cultural Experience in India

My Inter-cultural Experience in India

I wish to tell you about my time as a voluntary social worker and my inter-cultural experiences in India. First of all I would like to tell about myself.

 

My name is Simon Bering (19 years old) from Cologne, in West Germany.  My idea to spend a year in India was based on an experience with the help of AFS Germany in Paraguay. As a young boy of fifteen years, I had the pleasure to spend one year in the heart of South America on high-school student program. I enjoyed getting in touch with foreign culture and people. Different mentality, behaviour, language, habits and traditions, in short the culture of the country was something new for me. It stood in a big contrast to my life back home in Germany. I did not understand all of what I experienced at the time but it left a lasting impression on me.

 

Back in Germany I finished my school and all my attention focused on my vocational plans for the future. I wanted to gain practical experience to raise new issues after a long school period. My intention to spend a year abroad as a social worker was driving ne to make a life experience, in a country that offers me an inter-cultural challenge. To become active in social projects on the one hand and to support the inter-cultural exchange on the other hand attracted me a lot. So I decided to spend a gap year in India through FSL India as an English Teacher in a tribal school.

 

Now I am already ten-month in this beautiful country. It has impressed me a lot with its incomparable places and people. A peninsula with large borders from the Himalaya till the cost of Sri Lanka! Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Jews are all part of the same society. It is the biggest “democracy” in the world. Paradoxically caste, gender and religion still have a huge influence in the everyday lives of the people. Furthermore India’s rapid economic growth has brought increased wealth to India’s expending middle classes. This stands in stark contrast with the fact that huge numbers of children suffer from malnutrition and poor people in India than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. These points illustrate the fact that India is a county of opposites and that makes it a compelling and unique part of the world.

 

The cultural differences between the Western World and India are enormous. To get in contact with Indian cultures was probably my main aim in the last months of my stay. Especially with regards to the behaviour of people, the differences are very visible. To give you an impression, I would like to illustrate it with some examples: It starts with very small behavioural-rules like the apology you offer if you touch someone with your feet. Respect plays an important role, in how people interact with each other. Mainly in interactions between younger and elder people, the norms and conventions of communication are extremely visible. The respect for elders is essential.

 

To gain a deeper insight into thoughts and actions of the Indian people depends on both, personal self-reflection and my continuing experiences of India. Firstly, I noticed that the norms and conventions are only the superficial part of the culture. To understand the people’s behaviour one needs to understand their ways of thinking and what influences the thinking. Only with this understanding one can expect go deeper into the Indian cultures. The key for this aim is communication.  

 

Two parts of my daily life have especially brought me into constant contact with Indian cultures. On the one side there is my host-family and of cause the project work. First I would like to give you an impression about the relationship with my host-family. When I came to this family in the August of the last year, I was the first volunteer to stay with them. That made it quite difficult in the beginning. They had no experience with foreigners from the Western Word, and I had no experience of Indian cultures. I am very lucky that their English is good enough so that we could talk with each other. That obviously made communication much easier. Our relationship is growing constantly. Of course there were difference of opinion, but paradoxically I always saw the good side of it.

 

The daily life with my host-family offered me a deep insight into the Indian cultures. Through conversation and observation I was able to gain access to many different cultures, subcultures, metaphysical philosophises and how they impacted on this family which manifested itself when the family totally reconstructed with the principle of the “Saral Vaastu” philosophy. This made me to appreciate that the reality is largely socially constructed and therefore a subjective term.

 

I am well-accepted member of the host-family. But I still kept my autonomy. Through them I had the chance to take part in traditional functions, ceremonies and marriages. Consequently this reinforced me the important role the extended family plays in Indian life. My host-family belongs to the Coorg cast, which is a very small and inclusive community. The family has its own traditions, which consist of attributes like the special food, music, festivals, language traditional dress and strong patriotism. This patriotism is represented by the fact that many Coorgis serve in armed forces and the police service. Therefore I got the unique chance to study one of the Indians lesser known subcultures. I guess that my host-family was the biggest support, which enabled me to get in touch with certain Indian cultures.

 

Being a teacher in an Indian school helped me become a part of the local community. The communication in school was not as easy as it was in my host-family. As was the case in my host-family, I was also the first long term volunteer in the Basavanahalli Ashram School. It was much more difficult to cope with the communication problem in the school than in my host-family. The teachers’ English-knowledge was so limited that it was impossible for me to communicate with them clearly. Today the situation has improved and we converse without hesitation fluently. I never felt that the language barrier was a reason to avoid contact with them. I could realise that we were pursuing the same goal. It was a very nice experience to be part of this working community. My relationship with them developed on both the professional and the personal level. This in turn created a comfortable atmosphere. We often spoke about our families, biographical backgrounds, interests and the common work we shared. These exchanges were pleasant and interesting. Unfortunately my time at this school is almost past. The summer-holidays made me to think that I have only two more weeks left in my project after which I will go back to Germany. Overall the collaboration has been wonderful.

 

In conclusion I have gained a lot from my cultural experience, in my time as a volunteer thanks to FSL-India. I have learned a lot about the Indian cultures, which stand in such a big contrast to my own. Therefore I also found out some aspects about my own culture that I would never have seen without this contrast. For example my point of view changed, in the sense that I now judge more carefully. To see situations through the eyes of another culture can often change the way we think and behave. I do not see India any more from an ethnocentric point of view, like I did when first arrived. During my time in India I feel like I have become more open minded. These contrasting points of views have enabled me to deal with problems in a more flexible manner. This has resulted due to the expansion of my own personal philosophy which has expended, so that it now incorporates aspects of the many cultures and philosophises I have been exposed to, during my stay in India.

 

I can highly recommend spending a year as a voluntary social worker in India to everyone who is interested in foreign cultures. It is a wonderful challenge that gives one and the people you come in contact with a fantastic chance to share in each other’s culture.

 

Simon Bering

FSL-India Volunteer from Germany

 

Six Hours of X-Mas Shopping

Six Hours of X-Mas Shopping

It was 23th of December just two days before Christmas celebration. A day the whole organization joined together to celebrate, eat well, play games and so on. A day on which long speeches about the benefits of work, the attitudes of NGO stuff and the big tasks ahead were hold. Everybody is happy and proud. Everybody has expectation of some Christmas gift and a few days with family and friends.

 

Everybody is ready to go home. But Mr. Sri was supposed to do one last job before Christmas. Three days before the house of family had burnt down because a school boy in the family fell asleep while reading with candle light. A horrible catastrophe shot before Christmas. Indeed the family lost everything – all memories, cloth and all working goods gutted down completely.

 

Somehow Indian urgent security system works out. Now the President of village Panchayat stated that the 5 years unfinished government house of tsunami rehabilitation scheme is going to be constructed faster. Neighbors donated cloth and food and so our organization did. In an urgent action all details for a support is collected and 3 days after the accident, Children´s fund of Canada donated Rs. 12,000/- for food, cloth, new working materials and expense for the new kitchen.

 

Well Mr. Sri wanted even on 24th. We drove to the next bigger market, where at first we had to wait an hour and something until the beneficiary family arrived. What first? Indeed a big discussion. The concerned man, a palm trapper is not willing to understand that Rs. 12,000/- is there but he is not allowed to choose what to buy. From the money he does not want to buy cloth or food, that has been donated all ready. What he needs is a metal, lockable cupboard.

 

His new home will not be lockable so all his belongings will be unsafe. His wish is reasonable. But to ask the sponsor for additional fund is complicated, difficult and time-consuming. So what we did is we bought working materials for 1700 rupees. Like that we went on with every single bill until Rs. 4500/- was saved. What an amazing act. Rs. 12000/- is enough for primary family needs. We could manage and if you look at the picture, you could make out that curtailed the expenses and the villager whose house was bunt down had the desired cupboard. Mr. Sri and I had our first 6 hours X-Mas shopping.

 

 

 

Lukas Toerner

FSL India Volunteer from Germany

Pre-visit Meeting of 9th Happy Move Camp

Pre-visit Meeting of 9th Happy Move Camp

Pre-visit meeting of 9th Happy Move Camp was organised at FSL-India Office of Chennai Facility and HMI on 30th May 2012. The objective of the program was to chalk out plan of action for 9th Happy Move Camp. Dignitaries such as Mr. Sanny, Mr. Shan, Mr. Youghan, Mr. Ha, Mr. T. J. Lee and Mr. Sridhar from Hyundai Motors South Korea/India, and Mr. Sehoon Kim from International Work Camp Organization participated in the meeting. Mr. C. Doreswamy, the Joint Director and Mr. Arun the Project Manager form FSL India participated in the meeting. Following points were discussed in the meeting:

  • Benefits of 8th Happy Hove Camp
  • Selection of villages for education and Medical Camp
  • Future plan for Model Village Project
  • Various options for volunteers’ accommodation during 9th Happy Move Camp
  • Draw up Tentative Program Schedule for 9th Happy Move Camp

Inauguration of Panchayat Level Federation at Irunkattukottai

Inauguration of Panchayat Level Federation at Irunkattukottai

FSL India has been implementing Model Village Project at Irunkattukottai village in collaboration with Hyundai Motor India Foundation. Formation of Self-Help Group (SHG) for livelihood promotion and entrepreneurship development is one of the major components of the Model Village Project. All the SHGs are federated at Panchayat level.  Panchayat Level Federation is legally registered with Tamil Nadu Government. This is a stepping stone for women to avail and benefit from various welfare and development schemes and programs of government as well as Non-government Organisations (NGOs). To celebrate the success of women development program and mark the occasion women and FSL-India team of Chennai Facility organised a program at Irunkattukottai on 30th May 2012.

 

While gracing the occasion participated by women members of the SHGs, Mr. Ramesh, Manager of Hyundai Motor Foundation inaugurated the Panchayat Level Federation. Distinguished guest and dignitaries from IWO, HMC, HMI, FSL-India, Block Development Officer, Presidents of different Panchayats and representatives from various Industries also participated in the program.  

Long Term Volunteers – New Arrivals in June 2012

Long Term Volunteers – New Arrivals in June 2012

In early June 2012, a group of 21 new volunteers from 10 countries arrived at FSL- India for long-term volunteering program. FSL-India organised a week-long orientation for volunteers in Bangalore and Kundapur. While sixteen volunteers participated in the orientation in Bangalore five of them were given orientation at Kundapur. The orientation was scheduled from 4th to 8th June 2012.

 

As the orientation commenced, volunteers were welcomed by FSL-India team with garlands of jasmine, vermilion tilak marks on the forehead and Aarathi. Sessions were facilitated to give input on various topics. Introduction about FSL-India and its work, Indian life style, roles and responsibilities of the volunteers, expectations and fears among the volunteers, setting up aims and objectives and conflict management were the major topics dealt with. Volunteers had the opportunity to learn Kannada Language and during evening hour sessions were organised to introduce them on Indian culture. They visited few projects and interacted with the local community as part of inter-cultural learning and experience sharing.

 

During the orientation volunteers were asked to write a self-addressed letter to make comparative analysis between how the situation was in the beginning and how it could be when they accomplish their assignments. Host Family Tea Party, Project introduction and project visit were organised during the orientation. Final Talk was also organised to share their thoughts with the staff. Following is the brief description of volunteers’ profile:

 

  1. Carole Marbach from Belgium
  2. Kamila Francova from Czech Republic
  3. Anna Johanidesova from Czech Republic
  4. Yliam Laguenani from France
  5. Clémence  Dangé from France
  6. Erika Damour from France
  7. Malin from Sweden
  8. Paul Ruelle from France
  9. David Mesplede from France
  10. María Jose de la Pena from Mexico
  11. Thibault Huet from France
  12. Maxime Moulin from France
  13. Joris Roy from France
  14. Ayana Kato from Japan
  15. Kerstin Mayer from Germany
  16. Keng Ieong Cheng from Hong Kong
  17. Marine Wambergue from France
  18. Yvain Ramousse from France
  19. Guillaume Audard from France
  20. Nouschka Veerman from The Netherlands
  21. Anastasia Bekezina from Russia

 

To view the video footage on welcoming the volunteers in Bangalore click on the following web-link

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM5U2oXAUb8

 

Final Evaluation (NH11 -Aug/Sept 2011- Arrivals)

Final Evaluation (NH11 -Aug/Sept 2011- Arrivals)

With an objective to make an assessment of progress made, impact created and changes brought about in social development and education projects, FSL-India organised a two-day Final Evaluation for BMZ volunteers. The participatory evaluation was held on 12th and 13th June 2012. Altogether 22 BMZ volunteers representing AFS Germany and YAP-CFD Germany participated in the Final Evaluation. It was conducted at St. Joseph Resort, Annagalli, Kundapur in Udupi District. A ten-member team of FSL-India facilitated the Final Evaluation. Objectives of the final evaluation are: 1) to make the volunteers revisit on their travelled path in India so as to justify the present status and provide platform to express their learning, 2) to achieve added development value for the projects in terms of help towards self-help, and 3) to make the volunteers aware of cultural and reverse cultural shock and learn from such experience. During the evaluation the following subjects were dealt with: 


  • Feedback on the preparatory seminar/pre-departure training in Germany
  • Feedback on the topics dealt with in the preparatory seminar/pre-departure training in Germany and the topics that are not relevant
  • Volunteers’ first impression about India
  • Feedback on the on-arrival orientation facilitated by FSL-India
  • Feedback on usefulness of Quarterly and Mid-Term Evaluations conducted by FSL-India
  • Struggles the volunteers underwent and the rewards (personal or project) if any   
  • Volunteers’ personal development, contribution towards the project, impact created and results achieved.
  • Layers of culture vis-à-vis contradictory cultural practices between India and Germany
  • Learning from the cultural and reverse cultural shocks

 

Volunteers who participated in the Final Evaluation are: Anja, Moritz, Andreas, Clara Sophie, Cornelia, Johanna, Nikolas, Anselm, Daniela, Mortan, Clara Popp, Lukas, Marco, Antonia, Yvonne, Maria, Dennis, Nils, Simon, Caroline, Lisa and Sarah.

 

As a preparation and to create a base for the final evaluation, questionnaire was send to each volunteer to collect information on a range of issues pertaining volunteering in India. All the volunteers actively participated in the evaluation. Indeed the Final Evaluation was a learning experience for the volunteers as well as FSL India. Volunteers expressed that the inter-cultural learning and impact created in the project, the experience gained would help them develop a future perspective and interest for development in Germany. It was an opportunity for volunteers to articulate about a great deal of changes that they have experienced in themselves. FSL-India team also expressed gratitude to the volunteers for their committed service for the development of the poor and needy in their respective project. With a symbolic gesture to appreciate and acknowledge the great efforts made by the volunteers, FSL-India team honoured each volunteer with a citation and memento. The Final Evaluation concluded with a valedictory message by Mr. Ranjit Kumar Singh followed by photo session.

To view the video footage click following web-link.

 

http://youtu.be/d8txVBiUhhU