The month of September saw another enthusiastic group of volunteers coming to India for mid- to long- term projects of 1 month to 1 year. The mix of 20, hailing from Germany, Spain and France will be working in various projects ranging from environment-related initiatives such as sea turtle conservation to educating children of migrant families in ‘tent schools’.
As with all of our long-term volunteers, their first week began with an orientation on India and Indian culture. This ‘orientation week’ is designed to address various aspects of volunteering in India and to provide contextual relevance to the work they will be doing in the months to come. This is particularly important as each volunteer will live with a local family that has agreed to host him or her and will encounter many cultural differences in their day-to-day lives. Topics such as ‘managing expectations and fears’, Indian lifestyle, Indian pedagogy etc. help prepare them for the months to come. At FSL India, we place special importance on safety, and volunteers are provided with guidelines to ensure their wellbeing.
September’s orientation took place in Kundapur, a growing township in Udupi District of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, where FSL India has one of its offices. Writes one volunteer about orientation week: ‘it was a great help! You gave us much information (for example about our project) and taught us much about Indian culture. Now we [know] when we should be careful (about clothes, rules, Indian manners)’