On the 16th of May, three long-term volunteers (LTV), along with one FSL-India staff member met in the historic town of Hampi, Karanataka for a monthly get-together (GTG).
FSL-India is launching a new series of activities called Field Learning Sessions for Indian youth. Please take a few minutes to read the information below and refer to the attachments following for registration
Sarakki Lake Field Learning Session
The Sarakki Lake Field Learning Session (FLS) will take place on the 14th of June on the theme of environmental conservation. Sarakki Lake, one of the largest lakes in South Bangalore, is an important lake that is fast deteriorating due to unplanned urbanization, encroachments, littering and carelessness. Originally 86 acres, it has now shrunk to just 60 acres! Because of this, the lake has completely changed for the worse, and its condition is worsening every day.
The Sarakki Lake Area Improvement Trust (SLAIT), a small collection of ordinary, yet dedicated citizens from different walks of life have been working towards reviving and saving the lake, and restoring it back to the way it used to be. From petitioning to government officials, presenting in court cases and working with community members, SLAIT is a perfect example of active citizenship and participation. The work of SLAIT goes to show that we, as citizens, can and should collaborate to work towards a meaningful cause. FSL-India has partnered with SLAIT, and will be intervening in different projects, whilst working towards the larger plan of reviving Sarakki Lake.
For the FLS, we will be meeting active members of SLAIT for a presentation on Sarakki Lake and its importance, and going on site to see the lake. There will also be Q&A sessions for the participants to take part in.
This FLS will introduce participants to ideas of environmental conservation and people working towards it. By witnessing and meeting people working in the development field, participants will enhance their understanding of different social causes and see how organisations are working towards them. Being able to go on site and see first-hand the problems of the lake will also give participants a fuller understanding of its current situation. SLAIT will introduce participants to environmental actions that they are taking towards reviving Sarakki Lake, and hopefully encourage them to also take action towards it. In addition, these field learning sessions will encourage participants to get involved in working towards other issues and causes that are socially relevant.
– Sensitise participants to environmental conservation in general
– Sensitise participants to the environmental problems of Sarakki Lake, and the conservation actions being taken by SLAIT
– Encourage participants to join efforts to revive Sarakki Lake, or work towards other social causes
Anyone above the age of 18 can participate in a Field Learning Session.
What do you commit to?
What do participants commit to?
To participate in a FLS, participants must firstly be 18 years of age, or above, and commit to filling out this registration form and emailing it back to firstname.lastname@example.org by the 11th of June 2014. Not doing so would largely limit the preference of said participant attending the FLS in the event that all slots are full. This would also make planning for us much simpler if we know how many participants there will be.
Participants must also arrive to the location punctually, preferably five minutes prior so that we can begin on time. Since this FLS begins at 14:00, it is advised for participants to arrive at the SLAIT office by 13:50 (address given below). Participants can also choose to arrive at the FSL-India office by 12:50 (address given below) and travel with us to the SLAIT office. Please be on time as we would have to reach the SLAIT office by 14:00. Participants will be asked to cover the costs of travel and transportation related to the FLS. We will not cover travel fares that are incurred by participants during the FLS.
Lastly, participants must commit to being present and attentive throughout the FLS. Participants are discouraged to exit in the middle of an FLS.
What does the YDP commit to?
The YDP commits to organising and arranging all details of the FLS for the participants, and providing important information to participants prior to the FLS. The YDP will arrange transportation (although not cover the costs) to any locations during the FLS.
Date and time: Saturday, 14th June 2014, 14:00 – 19:00
SLAIT: Laburnum, Brigade Millennium, JP Nagar, 7th Phase, 24th Main Road, Bangalore, 560075 (https://goo.gl/maps/7YIci)
FSL-India: #453, 1st Floor, 15th Cross, Lakkasandra, Wilson Garden, Bangalore, 560030 (https://goo.gl/maps/tYqtf)
For questions, please email email@example.com or call +91 9164138777.
Every year, all FSL-India staff members come together for an annual staff meet. From the 20th of May to the 22nd of May, staff members from all offices; Bangalore, Kundapura, Mysore, Chennai and Pondicherry met at Fireflies Ashram, just outside Bangalore city.
Facilitating all the excitement was a team of three from Educators Collective. The staff annual meet is a chance for the FSL-India family to get-together, meet new staff members, reflect on our work, engage in team-building and communication exercises, and so much more. This was done by experiential learning methods such as games, nature walks, painting and live discussions.
The last day of the annual meet was held at the Bangalore office where everyone went through FSL-India‘s journey from its birth till now, and took part in strategic planning exercises for the future of our projects. With the annual meet now over, FSL-India is now re-energized and motivated for the year ahead of us!
On the 15th of May, three long-term volunteers (LTV) and four FSL-India staff members came together in Bangalore for their monthly get-together (GTG).
This GTG, all participants took children from Sparsha Trust (an NGO that provides shelter and education for under-privileged children) to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. There, they all played games and attended the “Sky Theater” programme about Mars.
Besides the activities with the children, volunteers and staff had a chance to reflect on their volunteering experiences, share concerns with their coordinators and get motivated for the future.
From the 5th of May to the 9th of May, FSL-India hosted yet another orientation for newly arrived long-term volunteers (LTV). This month saw three international LTVs from France who will go on to work as a teacher, in water and sanitation, and at a rehabilitation project.
Facilitating the orientation session was a team of ten FSL-India staff who carried out activities and sessions on expectations and fears, Indian pedagogy, language classes, roles and responsibilities, Hindu philosophy, safety and health, and much more.Volunteers also had a chance to visit Sparsha Trust, a local partner, to have a better understanding of local projects.
As for intercultural learning, volunteers not only got to interact, talk and get to know staff members, but also went to watch a Bharatnatyam dance performance.
As stated by one volunteer, “This week is definitely helpful and necessary to prepare an inexperienced public. It offers to the others an occasion to settle down in India before going on projects and ask questions and be in the ‘mood’.”
FSL-India and HILAP University, France organise a Group workcamp every year in Mysore with the help of our partner in France – JR (Jeunesse Et Reconstruction). As part of the Group camp, we receive students from HILAP University in France to undertake construction activities in schools and tribal communities in Hunsur for a duration of 5 weeks. The students have a background in Architecture, and through this camp they hope to gain a better understanding of local construction techniques as well as gain insight into the local culture.
The Group work camp in March focused on Social/ Education/ Construction for 5 weeks. In total 9 French volunteers participated in this camp along with 1 local volunteer from Hunsur.
Project background: Mysore is located in the southern part of India. It is mostly dominated by tribal and socio economically backward communities. The literacy level in these communities is very poor because of various reasons like poverty, migration, inadequate infrastructure and poor accessibility. Most of the government schools in this area lack proper toilets and urinals. This is also true in most households among the tribal communities. Hence we decided that it would be meaningful if we could construct toilets and urinals for the schools and tribal families.
On the first day of the camp, the team leaders Mr. Deepak Poojary and Manjunath and the local people welcomed the volunteers in the Indian traditional way. On the second day, the volunteers with our team leader visited the site where the construction work was to be taken up and to understand about the culture of Indian Tribes, to see their living conditions and they also visited Government schools to understand the sanitary conditions. They planned to build bathrooms for 3 tribal families and 2 toilets and urinals for government school children – one for boys and one for girls.
In the first and second week of the camp, the volunteers started working on constructing the foundation. The volunteers continued working at the construction site in the mornings and in the afternoon they conducted Educational activities in the Government primary and high school with the children by teaching basic maths, English. Majority of the children in this school belong to tribal families. A total of 80 children and 4 teachers benefited through the education activities conducted by our volunteers. The volunteers taught the children about environmental topics like nature protection, awareness about health and hygiene. They also painted the school class rooms, and conducted sports activities like cricket and football. The volunteers distributed gifts to the children like plates, glasses, toys, notebooks and pens.
As part of their inter-cultural learning the volunteers spent their time in interacting with tribal communities. On the weekend, the volunteers had a site seeing excursion to Coorg, Madikere, Mysore palace, the Buddhist temple in Kunshalnagar. They also involved in celebrations at a local temple festival in Mysore by dancing with the local community.
Our volunteers participated in celebrating the national festival called “Holi” – a spring festival also known as festival of colors. Another highlight of the camp was attending an Indian wedding. The Team leader had taken all the volunteers to attend an Indian wedding to show the traditional way of celebration. It was the wedding of our ex work camp team leader where our male volunteers wore dhoti and female volunteers wore sarees.
In the third and fourth week, our motivated volunteers worked hard with the help of masons and did the roofing and plastering. On 8th April, the bathrooms for the tribal families and 2 urinals for the government school was inaugurated by the Education Cluster Resourcer – Mr. Grish Kumar.KS, the school teacher trainer – Mr. Kumarsamy and the Government school society Director – Mr. Kariappa. The work carried out by our volunteers were appreciated by the local community and the school teachers. The volunteers also felt that their volunteer experience was nothing less than amazing.
From the 3rd of March to the 23rd of March, we had two volunteers from the United States participate in a Construction/Environment/Tibetan Culture themed workcamp in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Even though it was a small group, our two team leaders aided the two international volunteers to achieve satisfaction and fulfilment that they sought through volunteerism.They actively took part in various activities including painting a school wall and black board, and educational drawing at Dharamkot Government Primary School.
The two motivated volunteers conducted sessions on health and hygiene awareness to the school children, and almost 40 children benefited from this activity. The volunteers also cleaned an open field located in McLeodganj along with the staff from a local NGO called Waste Warriors, with an aim to promote awareness among the local community in keeping their surroundings clean.
As part of their inter-cultural learning, the volunteers had the opportunity to interact with Tibetan monks. They also took part in a Tibetan cooking session. Although the volunteers were busy doing all of these activities, they had just enough spare time at the end of their stay to take part in a site seeing excursion to a Hindu temple, Baghsu waterfalls, Dalai Lama Temple, the Tibet Museum, and the Tibetan Children’s Village community. The volunteers also did a presentation about their country traditions and cultural aspects for the school children.