Are you creative? Do you believe in volunteering? Start where you are! Use what you have! Do what you can! Join us along with international volunteers for ‘Hand in Land’ Work Camp from 10th to 23rd July, Kundapur.
Hi all, greetings from FSL India’s Centre for Experiential Living (CEL), Kundapur!
During the month of March, two of our long-term volunteering (LTV) department’s staff members; Shobha Vaz and Aravind Thunga, attended the 5th Weltwaerts Staff Workshop in Hamburg, Germany. The workshop lasted for five days and was sponsored by the BMZ Ministry and organized by AFS-Germany.
Attending the workshop were 19 partners from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe to celebrate the 5th year of the Weltwaerts programme, discuss the South-North programme, insurance, safety and more. In addition, participants also had a chance to visit the city.
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.
India is incredible with all its traditions, festivals and especially its people!!!
I am Nils, FSL India volunteers for the last nine months. I am placed at Hunsur, near Mysore passed way too fast. I lived in an Indian family, went to traditional Indian weddings, learned to read the local language Kannada. I became friends to auto-rickshaw drivers and the most contended. I worked during the day time with tribal children. The first four months I worked for the Nisarga Foundation School, 15 kilo metres away from Hunsur. Totally 30 children were rescued by Nisarga from child labour and were also abandoned and abused children. The target is to give the children a warm meal every day and if possible introduce them one day to a governmental school. It was very special for me to go with my Headmaster Mahadeva to villages and observe the discussions about the importance of education.
Further, I had very interesting experiences while going to a national community rights meeting for Tribals. After I worked in another school, which is located 9 kilo metres outwards Hunsur in a village called Nellur Pala. Every morning I enter the school, warmly welcomed by 150 children, saying “Namaste sir”. It is incredible how much cheerfulness these children have in their minds. More than half of them live without their parents in the school, because their villages are too far away. Four times in a day all the children gather. In the morning they gather once for breakfast, divided in boys and girls they sit cross-legged in the dinning-hall. Before they receive their breakfast they will sing two songs, followed by a prayer. Later they gather again on the playground to stand in formation. Two children read out the news of the day and after will pitch the state and sing national anthem. It is fascinating with how much proud and concentration they sing and later march into their classrooms.
I really enjoyed seeing the progress in each and every child. In the beginning I could not remember their names, because they almost sounded all the same to me. Now I know them all and know exactly all their behaviors. Especially the girls seemed to be really shy in the class. Now they have become more self-confident and creative. It was shocking for me to see in the beginning, that all children in drawing-class just knew how to copy the sample. Finally they worked out a beautiful calendar by themselves. One of my biggest challenges was to enter the 1st and 2nd grade. There were 25 children waiting to be handled by my Indian colleagues with the stick. When my French mate Erwin and me tried to work with them the first time, we were totally exhausted within 10 minutes. We were desperate, we did not know how to communicate with them and some of them didn’t even know the local language Kannada rather only speak their tribal dialect and then how we could communicate with them in English or in our broken Kannada?
After a few weeks our classes were only based on action and making pictures. I felt that it was necessary for me to enter earlier to this amazing grade. There is nothing in my project that makes me happier than listening to all the children, begging me to enter to their classroom, while seeing their smiling faces. A day I will not forget the day of the Hindu-Festival “Holi” in March. After being welcomed by a bucket full of colors from strangers in Hunsur, I had to “fight” again through a dozen hands in each and every color in project. The children “doused” me and it was one of the most joyful moments I had in India.
India is incredible with all its traditions, festivals and especially its people. By mistake I took a few times the wrong bus to project and found myself in the middle of nowhere. It just took minutes, until people came and talked to me and invited me to drink Chai in their house with their families. India is such a huge country and each state has its own language and own sub-culture. But you can be sure you will never get lost because of their fascinating hospitality. There is so much more volunteering work gives you and nothing more interesting than to see and learn every day something new in the other culture. In the beginning it may be shocking, but as time passed by, I began to love it. It really does not matter, if it is about wearing a Lungi, playing Kabbadi, drinking very sweet tea, listening to the national-anthem or get asked about the important fact if you had your food.
FSL India Volunteer from Germany
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 three-day Mid-Term Evaluation of Weltwarts/IJFD volunteers. The participatory evaluation was held between 21st and 23rd March 2012. A total of 34 Weltwarts/IJFD volunteers representing AFS, IJGD and YAP-CFD participated in the Mid-Term Evaluation. It was conducted at Simha Farm, Nittur in Udupi District of Karnataka state. A thirteen-member team led by Mr. Alred Rohan D’Souza the Director of FSL India facilitated the Mid-Term evaluation. During the evaluation the following subjects were dealt with:
- Learning about the local culture and the way volunteers could influence the Host Families.
- The challenges faced and how the volunteer could manage to overcome them.
- Results achieved and challenges encountered in the projects.
- Personal Development (skills and knowledge gained by volunteers) and the future outlook.
- Extent to which volunteers were able to fulfil the needs and expectations of their project.
- Understanding of the cultural differences between India and Germany.
- Improvement in the local language that helped to integrate in the project and local community.
- Support from FSL India and the project that helped in implementation of project plan.
- Level of inter-cultural learning, reflection on cultural difference and inter-cultural sensitivity.
Volunteers who participated in the Mid-Term Evaluation are: Anja, Moritiz, Andreas, Clara, Susanne, Cornelia, Carlotte, Aaron, Johanna, Nikolas, Johannes, Maria, Larissa, Louisa, Kerstin Angela, Anselm, Daniela, Mortan, Gesa, Leonie, Clara Sophie, Lukas, Marco, Antonia, Yuonne, Maria, Dennis, Lillian, Nils, Simon, Caroline Alexandra, Liza, Meret, Julia, and Sarah.
With lots of fun and frolic the Mid-Term Evaluation was conducted. All the volunteers actively participated in the evaluation. Indeed it was an enriching and edifying experience for the volunteers as well as FSL India. While reflecting on the inter-cultural learning and impact created in the project, the experience gained has helped each volunteer to develop a future perspective and interest for development work which each one is expected to fulfil after returning to Germany. It was an opportunity for volunteers to articulate about a great deal of changes that they have experienced in themselves.
A year is finished with our first batch of BMZ volunteers Ivo, Martin, Lucas, Cornelius, Susanne, Juliane, Mareike and Mario. The seminar was held in the beautiful Small House on 2nd and 3rd of July. This seminar was the opportunity to greet them for their efforts and to collect their final impression. Everybody was happy to make a review of their one year stay and could enjoy a nice farewell party. They could express their feelings and feedback concerning their projects, their personal development and the reverse culture shock they will have to front when back in Germany. We wish them all the best in their future studies in Germany. As much as we are sad to let them go we are happy for their family in Germany.