AMAIDI Volunteering in India

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AMAIDI Child Care Center

Children in the AMAIDI Child Care Center

Care taker with a number of children from the Cuddalore slums

The slums in Cuddalore O.T. : some 1000 families live under deplorable circumstances with open gutters, giving rise to various intestinal diseases, a high unemployment rate, omnipresent alcohol misuse and a high crime rate and domestic violence that go with it. Children – especially the younger ones – and women are the victims: malnutrition, school drop out-ism and lack of awareness in the field of education, hygiene, legal rights and work opportunities.

AMAIDI Foundation, the offshoot of AMAIDI Volunteering in India, wanted to do something about this. Being near to Cuddalore and knowing the local situation very well, AMAIDI Foundation started in May 2009 using the unused ground floor of a community building in Cuddalore O.T., at the backside of St. Philomena School (for girls) at Pensioner Line’s Street. The first floor is in use as accommodation for volunteers (especially in January when teacher trainees flock Old Town for a traineeship in St. Davids Matriculation School nearby).

Lisanne, the first volunteer to work with the starters’ group of 15 children and a warden, was so touched by the work, that she decided to give the AMAIDI Child Care Center, as it was being called, a colourful face-lift. With merry colours and picto’s on the wall, inside as well as outside, and a lot of games and toys plus some tables and chairs, she transformed the center into a safe haven and heaven for the children and their care taker. With only one toilet for all the children and staff, the need to build an additional sanitary facility was badly felt. A proposal to get subsidy for such a toilet – a drawing has already been made – has been sent off. It will be a so called ‘Ecosan’ toilet: ecofriendly in the sense that the faeces will be kept away from the soil in a sealed container above the ground to ferment into compost after a while. When we manage to create a small ‘kitchengarden’ with veggies and other edible plants, the compost will come in handy. And the natural circle is closed, a perfect example of how you can preserve our nature and resources in a small but effective way.

Lisanne is now – together with her mum, Machteld and Corine, all from the Netherlands – actively fund raising to enhance the quality of the service given to children and parents in the ACCC. ‘Femmes d’Europe’ is one of the donor organizations they’re contacting for a subsidy to supply more play material, better nutrition and a better infrastructure. Wherevertheneed UK through the help of Bless in Cuddalore are also sought to help financially and materially. In the future local shop- and restaurant owners as well as traders will be asked for a contribution to this newest of the private child care centers in Cuddalore.

At present the ACCC is open on weekdays from 8.30-12.30. Around 10 the children – numbering 15 at present – get a healthy snack and at noon a healthy lunch. Something they had to fore go when they were still at home with their (impoverished) mothers.

AMAIDI Child Care Center in Cuddalore O.T. wants to create a replicable model for other slum areas in Tamil Nadu and Puduchderry.

For more information, mail us at

Thanking you,
Camille van Neer
AMAIDI Foundation

Lisanne at ACCC in Cuddalore Old Town

Lisanne, first volunteer and sponsor, at the entrance of ACCC


Filed under: Bless, charity, Uncategorized, volunteering in India, , , ,

Goodbye CC4U

Thanks to the hard work of JoHo in the Netherlands, their excellent preparation program and their guidance, a group of 16 motivated young people from Holland have been in India for three weeks, working, learning and exchanging. We hope that AMAIDI Volunteering in India, at the Indian side of the organization, has reached its aim to make the Dutch participants realize that India is a country where people are sometimes unable to make the best of their lives, but that our personal involvement – as a supplement of the work of development NGOs – can make a (small) difference in the lives of those who have not.

AMAIDI is confident that all the DVA-activities will go well in Holland. We wish all the candidates good luck!

 CC4U & JoHo: thank you very much for making this possible.


Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, international volunteers, music

“We learned a lot”

Saturday-morning, 10 am. The final session. Presentations of the volunteers with reflections on their work, experience and feelings during the past week of voluntary action in Reddichavadi and surrounding villages. A cow-shed has been ‘floored’, cows washed, lunch cooked, children taught (songs and body parts) and knowledge gained about ‘livelihood support’ by an NGO called ‘Bless’. Everyone was impressed, to say the least, of the impact of these (and other) projects on the lives of the beneficiaries in the villages. Some have determined to come back and do more voluntary work. Fact is that the group of 16 Dutch nationals is heading for a two weeks’ exchange program with local youth, in the field of music, art and culture. Culture Clash For You!

Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, international volunteers, music, projects, Village life


In a rented bus, a trip of 1 hour and with boots, in case one has to work in the cow stable, our 16 participants gladly move themselves from IITPD in Marakkanam to Reddichavadi, where AMAIDI’s staff and the project coordinators of Bless are waiting to direct them to their projects: a livelihood advancement centre (giving vocational training to older school drop-outs), open school (for younger drop-outs), cows (milk-supply and model for farmers) and the construction of a new cow stable (flooring and bricks’ transport). From 10 am till 4 pm, with a tea- and lunch break, all of the members of CC4U are working hard ‘to get things done’. ‘This work can be done much more efficient’, is an often heard remark. ‘Come, let’s make a chain to pass on the sand, that goes faster ..’. The lunch is good (I’m personally chopping the fresh veg’s) and we all drink lots and lots of water. There are group-discussions, interactions with women Self Help Groups, with villagers and with Bless’ staff. There are daily eye-openers, through which the personal concepts of ‘development aid’ are changing. And, very important: everyone is enjoying it!

Filed under: Bless, CC4U, exchange program, Village life, volunteering in India

‘What new needs were discovered after Tsunami?’

Sunday afternoon, 4 o’clock: 16 Dutch participants are sitting in one of the ‘conference’ rooms of IITPD, in Chettikuppam, a hamlet close to Marakkanam and the East Coast Road. I’m informing all present about their program for the next three weeks: working at Bless’ post-tsunami development projects in Reddichavadi, Tamil Nadu; and a musical exchange with local youth from around Auroville and fishermen’s villages. Many questions, some regarding the program (‘What new needs were discovered after Tsunami?’), some connected with practical issues (‘where can we find shops?’ and ‘where can we make a phonecall home?’). At 6 pm most questions were answered, the sight-seeing trip on Sunday to Pondicherry was arranged. The kick-off of ‘What I See’ will be on Monday at 10 am, at Reddichavadi, when Bless’ executive director Mr. Anthony Samy will address the group, marking the start for the project-work.


Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, tsunami

Culture Clash 4 You arrived!

This morning, around 6 am, 16 participants of the Dutch youth organization ‘Culture Clash 4 U’ (CC4U) ended up in their accommodation at IITPD near the village of Marakkanam, from where they will engage in various activities until March 4. This project, called ‘What I See’, is organized by AMAIDI & Bless at the Indian side and JoHo at the Dutch side. Its all about cultural exchange & -awareness and grass-roots development work in and around Puducherry & Auroville. This afternoon I will visit IITPD to see how our guests are doing at their stay close to the sea-shore. But first I have to conduct a tour through Puducherry for 6 teacher trainees from Belgium.


Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, JoHo

Volunteers, Projects & Tamil music

From Feb 15 till March 4, in the surroundings of Auroville, Puducherry and Cuddalore, 15 Dutch students in the age-group between 17 and 30, all members of CC4U, will participate in various projects, hosted by the Indian NGO ‘Bless’ and join/give workshops & events centered around ‘music’ in South-India.

Through The JoHo Company in the Netherlands, CC4U – aspiring to integrate the different cultures that exist within Dutch society – wants to have a ‘live’ experience of youth-culture and grass-roots development in India.

CC4U’s members – and all who sympathise with their undertaking – are warmly invited to comment!


Filed under: Bless, CC4U, culture, exchange program, international volunteers, JoHo, music, projects, sending organization, understanding, , , , , ,

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AMAIDI Foundation

The AMAIDI Foundation is AMAIDI's latest offshoot. AF is meant to support (ex)volunteers in their funding and implementing projects they support during or after their stay/work in India. For partners in India it is also an instrument that enables them to find (new) sponsors and donors to invest in their projects. And for donors to find the implementing agencies they need to realize their social targets/harvest their profit/social ROI

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