Monthly Archives: August 2012

LTV Get Together – August 2012

LTV Get Together – August 2012

FSL-India organised LTV get-together at two different locations for the long term volunteers on 16th and 17th August 2012. While the LTV Program Team of Bangalore Region organised at Chandrashekar School, Bangalore with the theme Paint the School; Kundapur Region organised the get together at Mundigemane, Madodi, Shivmoga. In Bangalore out of fourteen invited only nine volunteers participated. From Kundapur region ten volunteers participated in the get together. The objectives of the GTG are as follows:


  • to share their experience, project work, progress result among the volunteers
  • to find solution to the problems that they come across
  • to share best practices among the volunteers
  • to have one-to-one talk with the coordinator
  • to get motivation for future work


The get together primarily focussed on assess 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. Volunteers could share with each other their experience, project work, progress made and results achieved. Volunteers also deliberated and collectively searched for options and solutions to the commonly encountered challenges in the project. During one-to one talk with the respective coordinators, volunteers also discussed on the challenges they encountered in the projects.

Updates of Health on Stage (Report of Third Week)

Updates of Health on Stage (Report of Third Week)

We will always remember those three wonderful weeks we spent in India!


After two weeks in Mysore the HOS team left for Bangalore with their luggage. Most of the group members were very curious to travel by Indian Train and enjoyed the journey a lot. 


Rain, traffic jam, humans, cars, rickshaws and animals on the same road in a very chaotic traffic. Noise, pollution, heap of garbage at each street corner. These were our first impressions of Bangalore. But when we visited Lal Bagh Garden and how people from the slum of Lakshman Ram Nagar were nice and smiling, we felt a little bit more at home.


First day of work we started by social mapping in the biggest slum of Bangalore and discovered many similarities but also differences compared to Mysore. There we met Maria, a woman who is very committed to help the people of the slum.  Back at the accommodation we were eager to write a special script for Bangalore slum and therefore we went to Lal Bagh Garden where we enjoyed the calm atmosphere of the nature.


Next day we practiced our new script until we were perfect to perform in the evening. We counted more than 400 people watching health on stage play. Wednesday was all about social mapping and interacting with people. Our first stop was at a school. Girls answered how the teachers expected them to, thus it was difficult for us to define the problems. But they were really cute and sang a song for us. Compared to the school it was easy to get to know the problems of the slum because people were open to all our questions.


We ended our work with an exhausting Thursday that was packed with action. Luckily, an Indian volunteer named Shraddha, who arrived on Wednesday, was there to support us. After practicing for one and half an hour, we were excited to be invited to an Indian Family Lunch. Something Superb! Later we were welcomed by over 600 girls and the teachers. Performing for them was a real joy because we felt comfortable in our actions on the big school yard. Our play was followed by a dance performed by the girls that we appreciated a lot. The kids could not get enough of us so we stayed one hour longer to play with them. Performing in the slum was not that good because of rain and less space but we felt that people had lots of fun and thanks to the play their eyes were opened to the problems they face and the solutions they could find.


Since some volunteers and our dear theater teacher Chakkrapani had to leave on Friday, we decided to celebrate a big party all together. On Friday we looked back on the last three weeks. We were sad to know that the end was near. We will always remember those three wonderful weeks we spent in India.

To view the video footage on HOS at Bangalore click on the following web-link




Caroline and Marie

Health on Stage Volunteers


Health on Stage During Second Week

Health on Stage During Second Week

During the second week we could implement all the theory about forum theatre that we learned. All the training we have undergone with Chakrapani & Team dancing and acting helped us feel more confident with the performance we had to do in slums, a village and in a school. At the beginning of the week it seemed for us very complicated to create our own script after the different social mappings. We were eleven people with different opinions and points of view. Hence it wasn’t easy at the beginning to put our ideas together. Our knowledge about forum theatre wasn’t very high and we also needed some help to represent the habits of people in India. Our director Chakrapani helped us do the things in the Indian style, like cleaning clothes, the open defecation, the way of carrying water or sweeping. We were showing everything only with body language by some sounds and music. Finally, we all were quite satisfied with our first script. We were ready to act!


Our first presentation in public was in a slum, around Mysore, where we conducted social mapping the week before. To our surprise when we arrived there lots of people especially the kids, seemed to be happy to see us again. We spend some time trying to attract the community singing, dancing and walking around. Some journalists were also very interested in the project of FSL-India. In that moment some of us realised that there were high expectations of us and that we were involved in a significant program. The play was good and the public was glad to see us. At the end we could interview and talk with some of the audience. A part of them realized that they should change some behaviours related to waste, water, sanitation and other health issues.


The second acting was in a village during the Independence Day, the 15th of August. The children from local school were dancing and celebrating with their families, teachers and relatives. After some speeches we performed forum theatre. It was very interesting for us to act again because we could see different reactions –and also lots of laughs to see white people dancing and trying to act like Indian people. Beyond the laughs, we were sure that the community thinks about the themes from the performance.


It was very nice to visit and to do some social mapping in a governmental school. The children, director and the teachers were very open-minded and were interested in a Health on Stage project. Having understood their difficulties in the school and at home, we started our second script. It was easier to create because we had more experience and were working all as a group together. The results of our work were very good, because a teacher and a pupil explained the others, at the end of the performance, what they have seen and how to be more aware about waste, sanitation and health.


The last show of the week was in another slum which we could perform after the social mapping. It wasn’t easy to get the attention of the people, maybe because we arrived during the lunch time and it was very sunny. However, we could learn how to motivate the audience and to believe strongly in our work.


In conclusion, we can say that during this week we have worked a lot and we understand more our tasks in the work camp. We can also confirm that forum theatre is a good way to show real problems and make some people talking and thinking about. The first step to change something is to be aware of it. In addition, our group is getting more and more together and we are right now like a little family, respecting and loving our differences.

To view the video footage on HOS at Mysore click on the following web-link



Marion & Clara

Health on Stage Volunteers


Long Term Volunteers (August 2012 Arrival)

Long Term Volunteers (August 2012 Arrival)


Promotion of volunteerism for field services and inter-cultural learning is the important channel for development cooperation. Every month new volunteers across the world join FSL-India. August 2012, is yet another eventful occasion for FSL-India to welcome new volunteers. For as many as 47 volunteers from five countries arrived in India to begin their voluntary service. FSL-India organised a week-long orientation for the new volunteers at Hotel Julie-Yo International, Kundapur between from 6th to 11th August 2012. It was facilitated by seven-member team of LTV Program under the leadership of Assistant Director and the Deputy Director. 


The orientation sessions included theoretical input, group activities, field visits and excursion. On the first day all the volunteers visited the town and later in the evening, volunteers participated in henna session. They appreciated the beautiful design made by the local henna artists. The second day began with welcoming ceremony.  Volunteers are welcomed with application of Kumkum and Turmeric paste on forehead. They received garlanded and Aarathi as a symbolic gesture of enlightenment. The significance of “Athithi Devo Bhava” is explained to volunteers during the Indian welcome ceremony.


During the orientation evening activities are organised to facilitate inter-cultural learning. FSL-India organised Musical Concert in partnership with Sangeetha Bharathi Trust. String Shehanai and Tabla accompanied by Harmonium was played by the professional artists. Volunteers and local audience immensely adored and enjoyed three hours of musical concert.


Friday evening was specified for both learning and sharing. Tea-party was arranged at three Host Families. Volunteers visited in three groups. It was an opportunity for the volunteer to observe a bit the living conditions and discussed with host families about some basic family norms of living. In one of the host families a volunteer who has been already living demonstrated how the Indians wash clothes. 


Volunteers participated in country presentation which was organised in a hostel for destitute children run by Holy Rosary Convent. The program started with welcoming speech followed by dance and song performed by the children. Volunteer from Germany presented wedding ritual, a song from Bavarian region, watching and celebrating soccer paly and community dance etc. Volunteers from France and Sweden shared about the cultural features of their country. Volunteers from Italy and Spain presented song and dance.

Volunteers Begin their work with Independence Day Celebration

Volunteers Begin their work with Independence Day Celebration

August 15th, when India celebrated its 66th Independence Day, Miss Silvia Franke from Germany and Miss Marion Robert from France arrived to work for teaching project at Irunkattukottai village where FSL-India is currently implementing Model Village Project. This is the first day for volunteers to begin their volunteering work at Model Village Project. They are immensely pleased to join the community to celebrate 66th Independence Day of India. They attended the celebration at the local school and later participated in a function organised by the community people.


In the morning both of them participated in the events organised at the school. On behalf of the staff and children, the Headmaster extended hearty welcome to the volunteers. School teachers and children greeted them and later introduced them to village community. Volunteers also highlighted the dual objectives of their volunteering work. Teaching the children, collaborating in the MVP activities and inter-cultural learning are the major objectives of their volunteering mission.


Volunteers also attended a function organised by women of Panchayat Level Federation. The women honoured the volunteers, hoisted the National Flag and distributed sweets to the children. Volunteer took part in the Grama Sabha Meeting.


Volunteers visited MVP activities and interacted with people, children and learnt about family pattern and food habit as part of cultural exposure.


Scholl children shared with the volunteers about scholastic and co-scholastic activities. One family served traditional India food to volunteers. Children expressed their independent wishes to the volunteers and appreciated them for their visit. Few children also taught them Tami and played “Silambu” which is one of the traditional games of the locality.

Parent’s Meeting Organised at Brahmavara Tent School

Parent’s Meeting Organised at Brahmavara Tent School

Under Home Based Project (HBP) initiative, FSL-India started Tent Schools at Kundapur. Kundapur has been experiencing constant influx of migrants from north Karnataka. The migrant community lives in and around Kundapur Taluk. They come here on temporary basis in search of jobs and livelihoods opportunities. These families set up tents as their temporary homes. Children who move with their parents end up missing education. Therefore, FSL-India started Tent Schools in these localities to provide basic education to the children. The project aims to educate these children and motivate them to join regular school. FSL-India has been running tent schools with the local teachers and international volunteers.


FSL-India tent school team conducted a parent’s meeting at Brahmavara on 31st July 2012. Totally five families participated in the parents’ meeting to know about the status of children’s education. They were motivated to send their children to school. The HBP team discussed with them on children’s health and hygiene issues as well. Earlier children were not taking bath regularly due to shortage of water. But after attending tent school they take bath regularly.


HBP team of FSL-India such as Mr. Manjunath, Mrs. Preethi and Miss Manjula facilitated the meeting and educated the parents on children’s health and hygiene. As an impact it can be stated that children are found to be disciplined and their health status, communication and learning level has been improving gradually. Parents are happy to see the progress of their children and determined to send their children regularly to school.

Health on Stage – the Curtain Raiser!

Health on Stage – the Curtain Raiser!

A first week report by volunteers of “Health on Stage” Camp held at Mysore / Bangalore scheduled for 6th to 26th August, 2012.

“Health on Stage” is an initiative that intends to promote public health dialogue among community people on water and health issues using Forum Theater.  On the 6th of august, 11 volunteers from Taiwan, Germany, Spain and France arrived in Mysore to share three weeks with each other. They are helped by 3 Indian team leaders (Dinesh, Bharathi and Arun), 2 specialists in Forum Theater and FSL-India team.


Our team leader Dinesh knows hundreds of motivational games to make us know each other. And what a better way than having fun together! Those games helped us break the ice and made us grow as a team, ready to experience incredible India! As it is first time for everybody in India, it was necessary for us to get Cultural Orientation. Mrs. Vandana, the work camp communicator of FSL-India taught us the Life Skills


What Forum Theater is all about? In few words, Forum Theater is an interactive way of making a group of people aware of their problems that affect their life. After Forum Theater is performed, the audience gets the opportunity to participate actively by acting on the stage and try to find viable solution to their problems. Most importantly we are not here to give the solution but to show people that they have the solution


Now, let’s do it! At first, we were all shy and hesitant to act in front of each other. We managed get out of the shyness and started acting cows and mosquitoes. What an improvement and only in three days!


Here in India, it’s all about dancing – to get the people to come to our performances, Mr. Chakrapani, our Forum Theater specialist teaches us some dances and rhythms. In the beginning we felt shy. However, dance made us to be together. We are all amazed to see how much we can share and understand from the body language of the teacher who doesn’t speak English.  


It’s time to see the world – with the team of FSL-India and Forum Theater specialist, we go to a slum and village to meet people and collect information about their water and sanitation conditions. We were worried and a bit scared of going to villages. “What are we going to see, discover, face and hear? We were constantly hounded by this question. Even if it was not easy for everyone to go to the slums, we all agree that the people were kind, smiling, welcoming and enthusiastic to meet us. They spoke quite easily about their problems. After two visits, we felt that we have seen India. This phase of the work is the Social Mapping which is an important phase of Health on Stage.


Last step before performing – having conducted social mapping, we all meet to write the script we intend to perform. We realized how hard it is to write a script. First of all we don’t have to give the solutions we think are the ones and secondly we are an international group with different way of working and thinking. Anyway, we made it and we found that all the games and sessions we learnt really helped us do it great and be creative. Now we are on a week-end break and we are looking forward to perform next week.


Every week, we will give you information on how the project is going on and the most striking moments we are sharing together and with the local community. We hope you’ll enjoy following us in our journey and this project would give you the will to act in the same way.




Volunteers of Health on Stage 


Loire Mathilde, Pauline de Bortoli,  Marion König, Antoine Retours, Jing Huei Huang, Lluís Martinez, Marie Acard, Katia Gianfermi, Clara Muñoz Serdà, Caroline Seifert and Dominik Holdau

LTV Get Together (July 2012)

LTV Get Together (July 2012)

The LTV Program team of FSL-India separately organised July get-together for Kundapur and Bangalore regions. While Bangalore region organised the GTG at Mysore Sindhi Dharamshala in Mysore on 19th and 20th July 2012; Kundapur region organised the get together volunteers at Turtle Bay Beach Resort, Kundapur on 26th and 27th July 2012. Thirteen volunteers from Bangalore region and eleven volunteers from Kundapur Region participated in the get together. The objectives of the GTG are as follows:


  • To share their experience, project work, progress result among the volunteers
  • To find solution to the problems that they come across
  • To share best practices among the volunteers
  • To have one-to-one talk with the coordinator
  • To get motivation for future work


Get-together primarily focussed on assessing the progress of 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. Volunteers got umpteen number of opportunity to share their experience, project work, progress made and results achieved. It was also time to collectively find solutions to the problems that they have been encountering in the projects. They shared the best practices in voluntary services among themselves and got motivated for their future work.


In Mysore Mr. Ramesh Kumar, a professional Yoga Teacher and the founder of Mysore Academy of Yoga conducted one hour of Yoga session for volunteers. The volunteers were thrilled to learn fifteen different Yoga Postures in one day which they are determined to practice regularly.


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

Coming Alive From Kerala

Coming Alive From Kerala

India was my home for 22 days. The most influential days of my life!


Brittny Machel Lowe shares her experience



It has been 2 months and 5 days since I first step foot in India! Even though time has passed I am still absorbing every second I lived for the 22 days. I say lived because that’s what I/we did. India was my home for 22 days. The most influential days of my life! As I am beginning to write down this so called ‘outline’ of my trip I am getting emotional. It seems that I have locked this journey into my heart and soul and threw away the key! But for the very people that allowed this wonderful experience… I will open the door to my heart. 


Part of living is experiencing that very thing. Journeying to India made me feel ALIVE. I can still see the faces of my team members and their curious smiles. We were a group of 18 with 3 being our team leaders. We weren’t a group but a family. We lived in a house on the banks of a river and saw some of the same local faces every day. The daily routine began at 8:25 a.m. not too early! We drove the bus to the Kerala Food House every morning for breakfast. My favourite part of breakfast was the Chai (tea). Mr. Madhu, the cook would always give me an extra cup! The Marian School for Mentally Disabled was where we spent most of our time in volunteering. This was the most humble and memorable part of the entire experience. We spent time with the children playing local games, dancing, singing and smiling! We left our marks by painting a scene on the walls of their play area which displayed the 5 elements of Earth and Yoga. We studied Ayurveda every afternoon after lunch with an amazing teacher and would practice Yoga every day at the St. Mary’s English Medium School with a Yoga Master. We also helped out there and did administrative work. We took pictures of children at the school which. I loved seeing all their smiling faces! 


The day-to-day life was challenging. There were times that I couldn’t wait to be at home. But it was in India where I was able to really look at my reflection in the mirror. When you are outside of your element and constantly living on your edge you begin to know your true self. This camp was based more on the study of Ayurveda (natural healing and lifestyle) and Yoga. I chose this camp because I teach Yoga. I can honestly say that I had never experienced Yoga until I was in India. Yoga is a lifestyle. It is incorporated in everything we do and every breath we take. Living in constant awareness and believing in oneself will change the world. It begins with you. 


On another note, I was reading suggestions from other volunteers on what to pack and one suggested something nice just in case you are invited to a wedding. Well, I was invited! How exciting! During my last weekend I travelled to Bangalore to attend a wedding. It was so beautiful and will never be forgotten. This is my volunteer experience in short. I can’t wait to volunteer again! Thank you volunteers for and FSL-India!




Brittny Machel Lowe

FSL-India Work Camp Volunteer

FSL-SPL-166 in June

FSL-India finds a Niche in Accidents Prevention and Mitigation Committee

FSL-India finds a Niche in Accidents Prevention and Mitigation Committee

Formation of Local Crisis Group at Sriperumbudur Block and Kancheepuram District is gaining momentum. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has formed Chemical Accidents Prevention and Mitigation Committee (emergency planning, preparedness and response) at Kancheepuram district. Local Administration and SIPCOT Project Office also have formed a Local Crisis Group in Sriperumbudur block where FSL-India is the only organisation of the forum and a member of the committee to facilitate the program. Representative from Government Department such as health, fire, police, revenue and corporate sectors are the members in the Chemical Accidents Prevention and Mitigation Committee. The functions of the District Crisis Group are as follows:

  • The District Crisis Group is the apex body in the district to deal with major chemical accident and provide expert guidance for handling chemical accident. It will assist in the preparation of the district emergency plan and review all the onsite emergency plans prepared by the occupier of Major accident hazards for the preparation of the district off-site emergency plan.
  • Continuously monitor every chemical accident, ensure continuous information flow from the district to the centre and state crisis group regarding accident situation and mitigation efforts.
  • Forward a report of the chemical accident with in fifteen day to the state crisis group.
  • Conduct at least one full scale mock-drill of a chemical accident at a site each year and forward a report of the strength and the weakness of the plan to the state crisis group.


In this regard the first program started on 27th July 2012 at Saint Gobain Company, Sriperumbudur where Government officials, core committee members and corporate representatives participated.  After the self-introduction, practical sessions are conducted (mock-drill exercise). All the facilities are arranged by Saint Gobain Company. The program was inaugurated by Revenue Divisional officer from Kancheepuram. The same exercise will follow for all the companies and gradually to the nearby villages in near future.

Senior Officials from Hyundai, South Korea Visited 9th Happy Move Camp

Senior Officials from Hyundai, South Korea Visited 9th Happy Move Camp

During the 9th Happy Move Camp, Mr. Young Teak Heo (Executive Director) and Mr. Dong Seok Yang (General Manager) from Hyundai, South Korea visited EDRN activities and Medical camps. They also participated in few renovation activities in the project site along with the South Korean volunteers.


Having experienced the breath-taking culture of hospitality and ceremonial reception organised by the local community, the officials from Hyundai Motors Company greatly appreciated inter-cultural program in the village. They also participated in valedictory function organised in honour of the South Korean volunteers.  The two officials felt dearth of words to appreciate and gave positive feedback on the Happy Move Camp. On their visit to the villages to assess the progress, the community people also honoured them as special guest.

It is time for Get Together- German Students at Coorg

It is time for Get Together- German Students at Coorg

FSL-India organised two-day get together for German Students at Coorg on 31 July and 1 August 2012. Hosted for the first time in collaboration with AFS Germany, six months duration High School Student Exchange Program is one of its kind through which FSL-India attempts to engage the students of two countries for academic as well as inter-cultural learning and perspective building for a better world tomorrow. Having spent almost two weeks with their respective Indian Host Families and their peers at Indian Schools, the German students took their time off to share and learn from their experience.  


While four out five – Niklas Bauer, Hecker Miriam Alexandra, Johannes Kolb and Larisa Susan Franzke participated in the two-day exercise, Robert Benedikt Jurges had to decline due to health reasons.


It was also time for FSL-India to evaluate and get first-hand information from the German students regarding the accompaniment process and find out if any additional support is required for their study and inter-cultural exposure. Mr. Rohan D’Souza and Mr. Daya jointly evaluated the progress. Highlights of cultural challenges and how they managed to overcome them, different system of school education vis-à-vis Germany versus India were the major subjects for deliberation. What is worth mention here is that the positive approach the students have towards the issues and challenges that each one came across.


Indeed German students had lots of fun. They visited Abbi Water Falls, walked around Coorg and spent time in shopping. They also enjoyed the Barbeque.  Still there is one month to go. It is expected that these German students will have a lot to share with us and in reciprocity will learn from India during their stay in India.  

Training for Coordinators of LTV Program & Home Based Projects

Training for Coordinators of LTV Program & Home Based Projects

FSL-India organised training for the Coordinators of LTV program and Home Based Projects. The training was organised at FSL-India Head Office, Bangalore between 31st July and 2nd August 2012. A total of 14 coordinators (5 coordinators from Bangalore, 7 coordinators from Kundapur and 2 coordinators from Chennai) participated in this capacity development exercise.


A seven-member team of FSL-India led by Mr. Rohan collectively facilitated the training. The other co-facilitators of the training are – 1) Mr. C. Doreswamy, Joint Director, 2) Mr. Deepak Chander, Assistant Director, 3) Mr. W. S. Immanuel, Deputy Director, 4) Mr. Muneer Ahmed, Chief Accounts Officer, 5) Miss Mubida, LTV Communicator, and 6) Mr. Arvind Tunga, Chief Coordinator of LTV Program. Keeping in mind the dual dimension of FSL-India such as field services and inter-cultural learning, the training was facilitated to conceptually and technically equip the coordinators so as to perform better ensuring quality in all their undertakings.


The objectives of the training are: 1) to improve the quality and work efficiency of coordinators, and 2) to motivate the staff to take pride in their work, to understand the meaning behind the work.


While welcoming the participants, Mr. Rohan D’Souza, the Director of FSL-India emphasized in his introductory note that although training is one of the primary objectives, sharing and learning from one another and creating group cohesiveness among LTV Coordinators is supremely important. Therefore, this training module is designed specially to address the needs and requirements of the coordinators primarily to deal with the long-term volunteers, host families and host organisations.