Monthly Archives: July 2012

Inter-Cultural Learning Takes Roots at Kundapur!!

Inter-Cultural Learning Takes Roots at Kundapur!!

Kundapura Work Camp (FSL-WC-524 )

Number of Volunteers- 18

Theme: Social / Kids


This is Vandana, the Work Camp Communicator reporting the highlights of the FSL-WC 524 Kundapura Camp. The camp began on 9th July and ended on 22nd July 2012. The camp had 18 highly motivated volunteers whose spirits were never dampened by the heavy monsoon rains of Kundapur!!! The team chose two schools- U.B.M.C School and Government Primary School for their activities. The Camp began with wall painting and educational drawing on the school walls. The activities included “teach through games” where the volunteers taught English to school students through various games and activities.


The highlight of the Camp was the involvement of the volunteers in paddy transplantation”. The team leaders-Deepak and Sharath, took the volunteers to the Paddy fields and it was great fun to watch the volunteers work in harmony with the local farmers- “Inter-cultural learning at its roots”!! FSL-India then donated rain coats and the local headgear-“HAALE” to the farmers.


The volunteers also had the taste of Indian cooking session when the team leader demonstrated the Indian way of cooking kebabs (roasted chicken fritters).


FSL-India Launched the First High School Student Exchange Program

FSL-India Launched the First High School Student Exchange Program

German student will go to Indian School and Indian student will go to the German school!


Indeed a phenomenal upshot worth sharing.  FSL-India kicked-off the First High School Student Exchange Program on 16th July 2012 by hosting 5 five German students for a six-week duration. Although the number looks miniature but certainly a step for a great vision to be realised in the days to come. Apparently it is one of the much awaited and long cherished desires of FSL-India – a dream that has been translated into a reality.


Having engaged in series of deliberation that followed systematic and meticulous planning with AFS Germany, FSL-India eventually succeeded in adding a new dimension to its program for the young students.


The process began with the visit of Director of FSL-India to AFS Germany in early October 2011. Later in April 2012, a four-member team of AFS Germany namely Felix Jawinski, Tanja Mohr, Mari Anne and Laura Wagner visited FSL-India to make a feasibility study. The experienced gained in this combined effort culminated in launching the pilot phase with a hope for a gradual up-scaling. 


The five German students currently being hosted are: Niklas Bauer, Robert Benedikt Jurges, Hecker Miriam Alexandra, Johannes Kolb and Larisa Susan Franzke who arrived on 16th July for the student exchange program. After a ceremonial welcome organised by FSL-India team, the five German students were led into a brief orientation and given input on culture, Indian lifestyle and Indian system of education. After a three-day of intensive orientation, with a blend of excitement and anxiety, the German students left for their respective Host Families.    


While Niklas Bauer, Robert Benedikt Jurges and Hecker Miriam Alexandra are placed at Pragathi Vidyanikethan High School, The Home School and Sree Venkateshwara English Primary and High School; Johannes Kolb and Larisa Susan Franzeke are placed at The Little Flower School at Karkal near Kundapur.


July 23 was the first-day at school for Niklas Bauer, Robert Benedikt Jurges and Hecker Miriam Alexandra. All the three Host Schools organised ceremonial reception in honour of German students. With full of excitement and enthusiasm to learn from and learn together with Indian students, all three of them delivered their maiden speech. While doing so they introduced themselves and expressed their expectation from the student exchange program. During the school assembly Hecker Miriam Alexandra could recite few sentences in Kannada (local language) and addressed the school assembly. The student community gave a big round of applaud to Miriam for this little gesture and welcomed her with garlands.  On 24th July the students and staff of The Little Flower School also broke into rapturous applause and welcomed Johannes Kolb and Larisa Susan Franzeke.


That is how the German students were honoured and experienced the breath-taking culture of hospitality extended by their Indian counterpart.  In reciprocal the Indian students will visit German school in April and May 2013.  This is only the humbling beginning. Let’s watch and see what emanates from this collective and composite dialogue by the Indo-German students.  

LTV Get Together June 2012

LTV Get Together June 2012

LTV Get-together for the month of June was organised on 14th and 16th for Kundapur Region and on 18th and 19th for Bangalore Region. It was organised at two different locations. While Kundapur Region organised at Simha Farms, Madodi, Shivmoga district in Karnataka, Bangalore Region organised at Chettikuppam, Pondicherry. Seven volunteers from Kundapur Region and four volunteers from Bangalore Region participated in in the get together.  The LTV team FSL-India facilitated the get-together.


The get together primarily focussed on getting to know the progress on the inter-cultural learning and project activities assigned to each volunteer. Project portrait, one-to-one talk with coordinators and skit presentation were the major input during the get together. Indeed this event gave the volunteers opportunity to share their experience, project work, progress made and results achieved. It was also time to find solutions to problems that they encounter in the projects, share the best practices in voluntary services and get motivated for future work.


In Pondicherry Mr. Velusamy, a development practitioner was invited to give input to the volunteers on India and the present scenario. He addressed about religion, language, economy, SHG movement in India since 1960, green revolution and SHG movements’ contribution to food production, specification of Below Poverty Line and Above Poverty Line, micro finance institution and so on. The session was very interesting and volunteers liked the input.


During one-to one talk with the respective coordinators and volunteers discussed on the challenges they encountered in the projects. Volunteers also had lots of fun games during get together and enjoyed every bit of moment.


Long Term Volunteers – New Arrivals in July 2012

Long Term Volunteers – New Arrivals in July 2012

In early July 2012, a group of 14 volunteers from 6 countries arrived FSL- India for long-term volunteering program. FSL-India organised a week-long orientation for volunteers in Bangalore and Kundapur. While twelve volunteers participated in the orientation in Bangalore two were given orientation at Kundapur. The orientation was scheduled from 2nd to 68th July 2012.


 FSL-India team cordially welcomed the volunteers with garlands of jasmine, vermilion tilak marks on the forehead and Aarathi. Several sessions were conducted to provide 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:


  • Dorothea Reichert from Germany
  • Irina Blanche from France
  • Natacha Dépit from Belgium
  • Margot Deveze from France
  • Claire Pattn from France
  • Anais Pauchon from France
  • Audrey Salman from France
  • Marc Stegemann from Germany
  • Claire Illac from Belgium
  • Malte Olaf Werner from Germany
  • Kusaka Miyako from Japan
  • Stephanie Gut from Switzerland
  • Annick Kandelaars from Netherlands
  • Eva Maria Hund from Germany

Work Camp Updates (June 2012)

Work Camp Updates (June 2012)

Yoga / Ayurveda / Culture (Kerala – 4th to 24th June 2012)


Number of Volunteers: 15


Camp Activities: Volunteers attended Yoga Class every day from 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. They were also involved with painting and conducting games with the children in Special school. The special attraction of the camp was the sessions on Ayurveda for volunteers. Sessions were conducted at the Parassini Kadava Ayurvedic College.


Inter-cultural Learning: As part of the inter-cultural exposures, volunteers visited Muthappan Temple, and watched the Teyyam dance. They learnt about Indian cooking during a visit to an Indian family and participated in country presentation. The other visits included the Snake Park, Toddy (local alcohol) collection centre and Kallari Payat (Martial Arts) School.


Social / Kids (Bangalore- 11th to 24th June 2012)


Number of Volunteers- 9


Camp Activities: Volunteers participated in wall Painting- educational painting- Alphabets, parts of body, numbers, days of week, months of year etc. Volunteers also taught English to the children, participated in a campaign “Marali Shlige – Return to School” to ensure enrolment of children in the school. “


Inter-cultural Learning: Volunteers visited Temples. Session on Henna application, how to wear Saree by girls and Dhoti by boys was organised during the camp. Volunteers also watched Bollywood movie show DIL-SE and participated in Indian Cooking demonstration Mrs. Parijata.


Tibetan culture/ Renovation (Dharamsala – 4th to 24th June)


Total Number of volunteers: 21


Camp Activities:  As part of the camp activities volunteer participated in school wall painting, construction and renovation work and organised fun activities with the school children.


Inter-cultural Learning: As part of inter-cultural learning volunteers spent a good deal of their time in interacting with Tibetan Monks. They also had Tibetan cooking session, visited a Hindu temple and waterfalls, visit to Main Dalai Lama Temple and museum, Tibetan Art Gallery and Carpet Factory. They enjoyed visiting Tibetan children village and spent time in Four-day trekking at the Himalayas.

Social/ Kids (Kundapura – 4th to 17th June)


Number of Volunteers: 6


Camp Activities:  Volunteers at Kundapur work camp were engaged in School Wall Painting. They also visited to special school and had interaction with the school children. They conducted some activities with the school children such as teaching English, Mathematics and Health and Hygiene awareness through songs, art, games and painting etc.


Inter-cultural Learning: Volunteers during the camp had special session on Henna decoration and local language class. Indian family visit and visit to light house, tile factory and temples area special features inter-cultural learning facilitated during the training. 



To view the video footage on the work camp in Kerala click on the following web-link

FSL-India Hosts 9th Happy Move Camp

FSL-India Hosts 9th Happy Move Camp

FSL-India has been implementing CSR projects, titled Happy Move Global Youth Volunteers and Model Village (MVP) in Tamil Nadu. FSL-India hosted 9th Happy Move Global Youth Camp for South Korean Volunteers. The program primarily aims to serve the communities of Sriperumbudur and Kanchipuram districts. It is supported by Hyundai Motors Company (HMC) as part of corporate social responsibility.

The Chennai Facility team of FSL-India has been making all arrangement for 9th Happy Move Camp. During this program it is planned to work in 21 villages around Hyundai Factory. A total of 128 South Korean students, 30 Indian university students, 18 doctors from Open Doctor Society South Korea, 18 Indian nurses, HMC, IWO, HMI and FSL-India representatives are involved in Education, Renovation and Medical activities.


The camp started on 15th July and will continue until 27th July 2012. Thirteen-day long program will be facilitated in the proposed villages with primary focus on promoting development work and intercultural learning.


Currently In the proposed villages the volunteers have been  engaged in various kinds of activities such as imparting to the school children, renovation work at school as well as community and conducting medical camp by providing medical treatment to community people.

Work Camp Updates (April 2012)

Work Camp Updates (April 2012)

Yoga / Ayurveda / Culture (Kerala – 2nd to 22nd April -2012)


Number of Volunteers: 10


Camp Activities: Volunteers attended Yoga lesson every day. They also painted the Special School and cleaned the garden and performed activities with kids and visually challenged children.


Inter-cultural Learning: Volunteers visited Muthappan Temple, learnt about Indian cooking, participated in country presentation and visited snake park and Kalari Payat (Martial Arts).


Tibetan Culture / Renovation (Dharamsala – 9th to 29tjh April)


Number of Volunteers: 8


Camp Activities: Volunteers were engaged in teaching school children, did educational drawing, painted walls, windows and doors in the class rooms of Naddi School.


Inter-cultural Learning: As part of inter-cultural exposure volunteers visited Narbulinga temple. They also attending Dalia Lama’s lecture at the main temple and had an audience with His Holiness.  They also visited the Main Dalai Lama temple and learnt a bit on Tibetan Cooking.


Social / Culture (Mount Abu-Rajasthan 9th to 22nd April)

Number of Participants: 6


Camp Activities: Volunteers conducted activities for children at the school for the Blind, cleaned the paly ground and school campus and taught then basic English, Mathematics and other subjects. They enacted a play which was directed by Mr. Sharma of the Blind school.


Inter-cultural Learning: As part of inter-cultural learning volunteers visited nearby Temples and other interesting places in Mount Abu. They participated in country presentation and visited to Brahma Kumaris Ashram.


Work Camp Updates (March 2012)

Work Camp Updates (March 2012)

Wildlife / Environment (Mysore 12th to 25th March 2012)


Total Volunteers: 6


Camp Activities: In the first week of the camp volunteers were engaged in wall painting at a local Anganwadi Centre. They also did educational drawing and taught to school children of Primary School at Periyapatna. During the second week of the camp volunteers participated in educational drawing, teaching English to the children at Periyapatna Government School and country presentation.  


Inter-cultural Learning: Volunteers were invited by the local community to participate in an Indian Wedding. They also visited Temples and participated in Indian Cooking demonstration.


Yoga / Ayurveda / Culture (Kerala – 5th to 25th March 2012)


Total Volunteers: 7


Camp Activities: Volunteers attended Yoga lesson every day. They also painted the Special School and cleaned the garden and performed activities with kids and visually challenged children.


Inter-cultural Learning: Volunteers visited Muthappan Temple, learnt about Indian cooking, participated in country presentation and visited snake park and Kalari Payat (Martial Arts).


Tibetan Culture / Renovation (Dharamsala- 5th to 25th March 2012)


Total Volunteers: 7


Camp Activities: Volunteers were engaged in teaching school children, did educational drawing, painted walls, windows and doors in the class rooms of Naddi School.


Inter-cultural Learning: As part of inter-cultural exposure volunteers visited Narbulinga temple. They also attending Dalia Lama’s lecture at the main temple and had an audience with His Holiness.  They also visited the Main Dalai Lama temple and learnt a bit on Tibetan Cooking.

Wounded Sea-turtle Found at Kanchugodu

Wounded Sea-turtle Found at Kanchugodu

It was on 4th July 2012, HBP team of FSL-India rescued a wounded Olive riddle Sea-Turtles from Sanyasibailu near Kanchugodu (Trasi) village which is located near Kundapura coast in Udupi District. We received the information from local fisherman. As soon as the team got information about wounded turtle FSL-India team member Mr. Manjunath went to the spot at once. Olive riddle Sea-Turtles got wounded due to the tidal waves. 


The turtle had lost left flipper. The left leg too was wounded and hence it was not able to move. After the rescue we shifted the turtle to Maravanthe and handed-over to Mr. Dasi for observation and further treatment. After the primary treatment the HBP team tried to release the turtle. However, the turtle was not able to move because of strong tidal wave. Again it was kept for further treatment. Due to the rainy season, often wounded turtles are found on the shore in Kundapur coastal area. FSL-India’s sea-turtle conservation team is always takes prompt action to conserve this endangered species.

The word he wrote and spelled was ‘Deer’ and not ‘Elephant’………..

The word he wrote and spelled was ‘Deer’ and not ‘Elephant’………..

Nearly shouting and sure that his answer was right, the small boy from the UKG stood in front of my colleague and friends. Unfortunately she had to tell him that the word he wrote and spelled was “Deer” and not “Elephant”. It was one of the first days in our school project where we spent the following 11 months and actually we were really amused about the mistake of this small kid. He was four years old and because of this the miscomprehension from reading still seemed ‘sweet’.


It was by that time that we began to notice some great differences between the Indian educational system and the one in our culture. The first one was the age in which children start in India to read and write. The children coming into the LKG are round about three years old – barely able to hold and control a pencil. And as they still struggle to draw straight lines and even circles, they are taught the alphabet. The alphabet of a foreign language i.e. English they never have spoken before.


In order to give them a connection to that language the students are taught some simple English words. It was one of our favourite games to run through the classroom and point on different things: “What it is this?” and “Which colour is it?”


The Nursery and Primary school was called “English Medium School” because all the subjects except Tamil (the native language) where held in English. Maths, Science, General Knowledge and all the others had books with complicated English explanations for the “space and its galaxies”, “Division” and “Paper production” and lots more.


Some children who learn easily and get along with how they learn startled us with their ability to speak nearly correct English with the age of 10 years. In that age I only started to learn how to introduce myself and some fruits. Knowledge which was taught already in the first standard in Tamil Nadu. The big problem is that only a few children cope with that system. And sometimes it’s easy to understand why.


‘English Medium’ means that the teacher in many cases reads out the text written in the book and translates it into the native language. This leads to the fact that many children don’t even listen to the English part because they hardly understand it and know that they get the Tamil translation in a few minutes. Once the text is explained, the questions and answers from the book get answered with sentences directly from the book and all the students have to copy them. Now the homework could be to copy those questions and answers two times again. I was confused the first time I heard that. That doesn’t make sense.


Why should I copy a text? The answer was easy: They don’t understand the answer, maybe not even the question. They have a sequence of letters and words in front of them where they don’t have an idea of their meanings. But at the end of each term there is a moment they have to reproduce the hieroglyphics in front of them- the examinations. Those are held to test the children’s knowledge of the subject matter. So, the only solution to get points it these tests is to learn the answers by heart. They don’t learn the number ‘365’ when the question is “How many days are there in a year” but the whole sentence: “There are 365 days in a year.” The consequence is that the children develop an amazing ability to repeat whole sentences and even paragraphs but do not have an inkling of the material they are talking about.


Coming from a completely different background we tried different things with the children. Our focus was to let them write their own answers or that they at least understand what we worked out it the lessons. I didn’t want to teach them that the word “same” can also be “identical” or “comparable” if they don’t know what the latter ones mean. I taught them that the benches they sit on are all the same.


“But – oh no, one is different. Do you see why? It doesn’t have wooden legs but metal. It is not same.” Even though we were sometimes becoming desperate because the children still didn’t understand us, we kept on trying. The best time was when there were no books to follow, no regular lessons and we could do what we wanted. We asked them to write down their hobbies and their favourite food. We let them do a “profile” of themselves with name, date of birth etc. It was a task the children could easily connect to and I was so happy that we had that time with them.


I still remember my question to Apkesh from the second standard:

“What is your aim in life?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Your ‘future job’ – what do you want to become? A doctor, a teacher, a driver…?”

“I don’t know” and he was already skipping the question.

“Okay, then write that down. Write that you don’t know.”


And I still have this answer. A wonderful answer he wrote himself which I didn’t correct because I wasn’t his teacher anymore. But if I had been I would have encouraged him to always keep on trying.

The answer he wrote was: “I don no”


And who knows, maybe someday all the children get the chance to learn by making faults. It’s only going to take some time. It also did in Germany. This kind of method is not unknown to our grandparents or even parents.


Just someone has to start. And better is if this someone gets some support.




Antonia Steen-Ricarda

Former FSL-India Volunteer from Germany

Little Flower – My Big Family

Little Flower – My Big Family

Thank you for this great time!!!

My heart is filled with an incredible love when I think about the past year. As a volunteer of FSL-India at the Little Flower School near Karkala I have worked, lived and shared my life with a great and incomparable community. Last year (2011) August I arrived from Germany on the campus and hostel. Many children along with the leader of the institution Mrs. Jakin Bin welcomed me in a heart touching way. From that moment on I experienced unforgettable moments with around 80 people including all the staff members.


My job as a volunteer was to take care of the boys of the hostel while taking bath and cloth wash. In the afternoon I played a lot on the ground, did sporty activities or some creative events with the kids. During the evening I sat next to them in the tuition, helped them in their homework and studies and tried to improve their English.


Not only for the hostel I was giving my service even in the English Medium School connected to the hostel, I had the chance to spend the time useful with the students. Every morning I was conducting in an individual way one of the three school buses of the institution. The greatest gift I got from the school was the honour to teach Art / Drawing in the standards 4 to 9. While many different creative works I got to know the personal talents of every single child. Every one of the 350 students will be kept in my memories for ever.


I never felt like being a volunteer for the Little Flower School and the hostel – I always took it a God-given privilege to be a complete member of this Little Flower Family. I thank those who received me with an open heart as their brother, son or uncle.


Due to the familiar character of the institution I’m sure that all the children of the hostel and even the school will be prepared in the right way for their future. Especially in the hostel the children are learning many skills through the life in a big community which makes them unique. The strong family bond is laced by the mother of the hostel Mrs. Jakin Bin and as well every single child with the love to one another.


During my stay in India I got to know what an important role the Little Flower School along with the Seon Ashram plays for the society here. I appreciate the work of the people who are in charge of these institutions. Mr. U. C. Paulose and his family are doing an excellent and dedicated service to the human being.


For me it was definitely the right decision to come to FSL-India. I enjoyed my work always with a smile on my lips. Happiness was accompanying me through the whole year because of those who were with me all the time. But not only the service I did, was part of this happiness; but also the aspects which I’ve learned and experienced were part of it – like the Indian culture, many new practical skills, the needs and struggles of a social institution and the LOVE which can be given by a child.


Once again I would like to say THANK YOU to all the people who made this year to an unforgettable experience for me. It is now a part of my life and it will always be.




Former FSL-India Volunteer from Germany 

Marali Shalege- Return to School Campaign during Bangalore Work Camp

Marali Shalege- Return to School Campaign during Bangalore Work Camp

Number of Volunteers- 9

Theme: Social / Kids

Duration: 2 Weeks


Hi I am Vandana, ‘Communicator- Work Camps’. I would like to share my experience at the recently concluded Bangalore Work Camp. The Work Camp at Bangalore had a great start with the motivated volunteers enthusiastically delving into the activities from the first day.


The Project site was the BBMP School at Chinnnayanapalya, Wilson Garden, Bangalore. The volunteers initiated the camp with educational paintings. In two weeks the school had walls decorated with colourful animals, the solar system, the water cycle, English alphabets, seven days of the week and twelve months of the year. The children enjoyed innovative and creative ways of learning English.


The highlight of the Work Camp was the “MARALI SHALEGE- return to school” campaign the volunteers undertook along with the staff and children of BBMP School. The rally in the neighbourhood was so successful that the school had 7 new admissions immediately after the rally.


The volunteers also had an excellent inter-cultural learning when staff of the school dressed the women volunteers in saris. They also enjoyed the ‘Henna” on their palms. The boys looked “Indian” in the typical “Mysore Petas and Dhotis”. The volunteers made country representation by teaching the children dances from their home countries. The children wanted the dances to go on and on!


The Camp was concluded with a warm send-off given to the FSL-India volunteers by the staff of the school. Volunteers who participated in the camp are as follows: 


  1. Sanna-Ria Björkqvist from Finland
  2. Lucie Fournier from France
  3. Axelle DE Laforcade from France
  4. MALIER Baptiste from France
  5. Yolanda Parra Gonzalez from Spain
  6. Chung Bonghee from South Korea
  7. Lee Eun Hae from South Korea
  8. Anna Serafin from Belgium
  9. Okhyeon Kim from South Korea

Work Camp at Rishikesh

Work Camp at Rishikesh

Rishikesh – Uttarakhand (Meditation/Culture/Kids/) SPL–169


Hallow Everybody!


In continuation to the previous blog post on 3rd July, once again I am here to update you with recent developments at Rishikesh Work Camp. In spite of little challenges, it goes without saying that the camp is running very successfully. Undoubtedly the volunteers enjoy every bit of moment which I am sure leaves an indelible mark in the heart and mind.


Well, let me begin with a point to elucidate a bit more. As part of the inter-cultural learning the volunteers visited many temples and could catch a glimpse of the rituals and religious activities. As it was a momentary exposure, they found hard to understand the complexities of the local religious practice. However, during the daily meeting many of their doubts were clarified. The volunteers are exceedingly happy to interact with India women. Recitation of few Hindi words such as “Aap ka naam kiya hae”, “Aap kaise haen” etc. drew them close to the Indian women who also took interest to know about the wellbeing of the volunteers.


As the Yoga and Meditation session begun, everybody was thrilled and had a reincarnating experience. Everybody is participating and pursuing all the session with great diligence and regularity.  Hope this experience will bear lasting impression on them for self-development as many of them are still in their formative stage.


Activity with the school children and educational paintings is another spectacular event that has been concurrently taking place at MRS School. While engaging the children in fun activities and games, the volunteers teach them English and rhymes as well. Teachers at the school who reluctantly responded in the beginning are now very cooperative and take a chance to interact with the volunteers.


The breath-taking scenic beauty of The River Ganga alongside the skyrocketing hills and continuous influx of devotees, keep the volunteers occupied with questions on the local religious practice. As regards to the typical North-Indian food, volunteers are enjoying themselves. However, for some still it is a matter time to get oneself adjusted with the local food.


As of now we wish to share with you this much. To know more about Rishikesh Camp, please read our next blog post.   



Ranjit Kumar Singh

Chief Documentation and Liaison Coordinator