AMAIDI Volunteering in India

Portal for international volunteers, interns & professionals

Social Networking

Social Networking

There's no way around it (for non-profits): social networking is here to stay

In 2020 the number of NGO’s in India applying for foreign donations will be half the number we have now. Why? Because the other half is still not – or never going to be – social networking. Using the ‘social web’ or ‘web 2.0’ as it is being called, is increasingly going to be critical in acquiring attention (and who doesn’t get it, doesn’t get it) from ‘important others’. And, lets be honest, this is all that matters for local NGOs who want to implement their social projects for the beneficiaries they serve in the villages and urban areas in India since many years. We have to rephrase the term ‘digital divide’ in ‘social divide’. Not necessary to insert the term ‘digital’ anymore, as the ‘real’ world and its ‘digital’ representation on the Internet are increasingly interwoven. Take public health services, tax payments, agricultural news, marketing and interpersonal communication. More and more people will either ‘also’ or ‘only’ use social networking as a communication tool.

In other words: whether we like it or not, we have to jump on the bandwagon called ‘Social Networking’, get down to the specs as how to use it in our particular (hyperlocal) community.

Here’s a few leads to get yourself started: Social by Social – a Guide to Social Network, How to manage a Facebook group?How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media

Go ahead!

Camille

AMAIDI Volunteering in India

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Volunteer Aid

AMAIDI  is working together with Volunteer Aid Denmark, the brainchild of Kristine and her husband, both social workers in Denmark. The contact has come about through a coincidental meeting of Camille (AMAIDI) with Alexandra Sorensen, who was looking for some voluntary work while in India. Kristine was her friend. As a result the first 4 Danish volunteers have come and are presently working in 3 different projects: REAL (NGO in Puducherry), Baby Sarah’s Home (orphanage in Puducherry) and BLESS (NGO in Reddichavadi, Tamil Nadu).

For all you Facebookers out there: here’s Stephanie and Alexandra.

Happy FBing!

Camille

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Voluntourism

 

Voluntourism is a concept that integrates traveling, voluntary service and charity.The idea of combining voluntary service with travel is not a new concept. In fact, it can be traced back for many thousands of years in various cultures and religious orders throughout the world.Missionaries, healers and/or medical practitioners, sailors, explorers, and countless others have rendered service in conjunction with their travels.But what about modern day VolunTourism?
Well, VolunTourism in its current iteration received a very big boost from the founding of Volunteer Service Overseas in 1958 by Alec and Mora Dickson and that of the U.S. Peace Corps, established in 1961 during the John F. Kennedy administration.he first organization to use the word Voluntourism was the Nevada Board of Tourism (NBT) in 1998. The NBT was making an effort to attract local residents to volunteer to support the development of rural tourism in remote locations of Nevada. Although this is quite different than what the term is currently being used to describe, it is an interesting bit of trivia nonetheless.In 2000, Catalyst Marketing, Inc. (CMI) became the first company in the world to dedicate resources to officially bridge the business & leisure travel segments of the tourism industry with the nonprofit industry. (This approach was called VolunTours™ and has since been developed by the “Parent” of VolunTourism.org – Los Niños, Inc.). In 2008 and beyond: VolunTourism.org (VT) is leading the world in the provision of educational content as well as promoting and developing formal practices of VolunTourism at the global level. What practices work? Which ones do not? How are the four primary stakeholder groups involved? How can all stakeholders benefit from VolunTourism? What “permanent” and sustainable changes can occur through VolunTourism?
After this brief overview of VolunTourism’s history, the question to be answered, is of course: is VolunTourism good for the people that are supposed to benefit from it: the travelers and the communities they visit/work in? 

 

WebVoluntourism is a concept that integrates traveling, voluntary service and charity.

“The idea of combining voluntary service with travel is not a new concept. In fact, it can be traced back for many thousands of years in various cultures and religious orders throughout the world.Missionaries, healers and/or medical practitioners, sailors, explorers, and countless others have rendered service in conjunction with their travels.But what about modern day VolunTourism?

Well, VolunTourism in its current iteration received a very big boost from the founding of Volunteer Service Overseas in 1958 by Alec and Mora Dickson and that of the U.S. Peace Corps, established in 1961 during the John F. Kennedy administration.he first organization to use the word Voluntourism was the Nevada Board of Tourism (NBT) in 1998. The NBT was making an effort to attract local residents to volunteer to support the development of rural tourism in remote locations of Nevada. Although this is quite different than what the term is currently being used to describe, it is an interesting bit of trivia nonetheless.In 2000, Catalyst Marketing, Inc. (CMI) became the first company in the world to dedicate resources to officially bridge the business & leisure travel segments of the tourism industry with the nonprofit industry. (This approach was called VolunTours™ and has since been developed by the “Parent” of VolunTourism.org – Los Niños, Inc.). In 2008 and beyond: VolunTourism.org (VT) is leading the world in the provision of educational content as well as promoting and developing formal practices of VolunTourism at the global level. What practices work? Which ones do not? How are the four primary stakeholder groups involved? How can all stakeholders benefit from VolunTourism? What “permanent” and sustainable changes can occur through VolunTourism”. 

<Source: http://www.voluntourism.org/inside-history.html>

After this brief overview of VolunTourism’s history, the question to be answered, is of course: is VolunTourism good for the people that are supposed to benefit from it: the travelers and the communities they visit/work in? I mean, what is the head target anyway? Is it to lure more travelers to far-away destinations (by making them feel good as givers to charity)? Or is it a genuine attempt by the travel industry to help vulnerable communities with their development? 

Cement 2343

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Free volunteering abroad. Is it possible?

The dream of every volunteer: to be a volunteer! That is: working for a good cause without being paid for it. But most definitely without HAVING to pay for it. Not so in foreign volunteering. A sometimes hefty sum has to be paid – not even mentioning a flight ticket – before the first voluntary action can come about. In orphanages, hospitals, schools and in grass-roots charitable NGO’s. On top of that, intermediairy organizations – like AMAIDI – are asking money (‘way too much’ according to some) AND the host organizations sometimes demand money too, for guidance, admin, transport and/or meals. Is this really necessary? Is it not possible – with exception to the flight ticket – to do is against paying NO extra money? Or even receiving a stipend, a salary of some sorts for the effort you bring in?

Yes, says an organization such as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Doctors Without Borders, Health Volunteers Overseas, United Nations Volunteers, Flying Docters, International Red Cross and a number of other larger but lesser known INGO’s or sending agencies.

Free volunteering How is this possible? Often through a conglomerate of professionals, organizations, funding agencies/donors and sometimes the government as well. Through provided funds in the home country of the organization, in general. And through extensive requests to generously donate towards the organization.

Is it possible for a small organization like AMAIDI to offer its services for free? To ask for a donation instead?

I don’t think so. first of all: people – volunteers and interns that is – wouldn’t simply know how much to donate. They’d probably donate a fraction of what is needed (assuming that we at AMAIDI know best what is needed) and they’d be asking us for ‘advise’: ‘what should we donate?’, will come close to the question: ‘Okay, so what does it cost?’.

Letting the host-organization pay is a move that we discarded from the start. Most – smaller – organizations don’t have any funds available for anything close to a subscription to an org that provides volunteers. They would not even start to think about having them in the first place when money becomes an issue. Instead, volunteers are paying THEM for made expenses such as mentioned above (admin, guidance etc.)

So what to do?

Perhaps asking an even bigger amount, but from that let money flow to the projects, so that the volunteer does not have to pay there anymore for his/her expenses. This would make the work have a more ‘voluntary feel’ compared to having to raise ones wallet after having worked as a volunteer.

Welcome your feedback on this …

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Mother Theresa Hospice Puducherry

 

Mother Theresa's hospice cares for the destitute in Puducherry, India

Mother Theresa's hospice cares for the destitute in Puducherry, India

In Reddiyarpalayam, just outside the main town of Puducherry on the way to Villupuram, lies Mother Theresa Hospice, run by the Missionaries of Charity. Inge Renckens, AMAIDI volunteer already done with her project at partner NGO ‘REAL’ in the same town, has decided to help the dying and destitute in Mother Theresa’s Hospice in Puducherry for the remainder of her stay in this part of India, another 3 weeks. 

A not less than courageous undertaking, because the atmosphere at MTH is not particularly uplifting: old women shuffle around, sounds are produced but not much is spoken, feeding is a challenge as is bathing and being bathed. And amidst them all are the ones that are dying, waiting for the end to come, lying on their beds all day, not able to move or speak. 

I have great admiration for Inge who has taken up this task as a non-professional in this area (being a Bacholeor in Finance and Accounting originally). All of us at AMAIDI are wishing her all best of luck in her work and the needed inspiration. 

Camille – CEO

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Working for a year with CHIRAG in Uttarakhand

the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand

the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand

Central Himalayan Rural Action Group (CHIRAG) is a non-profit grass roots development organisation registered under Societies Act (1860). CHIRAG is dedicated to empowerment of rural communities through their integrated development and has been working in the Indian Central Himalayas since 1986.
CHIRAG & the Ford Foundation offers an opportunity to work with a rural development agency in India for a year in the following areas:
1. Primary education
2. Primary healthcare
3. Rural livelihoods
4. Environmental regeneration

Eligibility:
Anyone between the ages of 21 and 28, with a graduate degree or a diploma (after 12th standard) and 2 years of work experience. Individuals who are likely to have examinations between July 2009 and June 2010 are not eligible. Leave will not be granted to take examinations during the year.

Process of Applying:
An application form needs to be filled. The form is available at http://www.chirag.org or can be requested for by writing to youth@chirag.org or info@chirag.org or Click Here to download the form. The filled in application form including a one-page statement of purpose have to be received by CHIRAG by the 15th of May 2009.

Stipend
The participants will be provided with a modest stipend to cover their costs of food and to meet other basic necessities. A monthly stipend of Rs 4000 per month will be paid to the participants. The travel costs will be taken care by CHIRAG and the host organisations during the course.

Process of Selection:
CHIRAG will select a maximum of 30 youth from the applications. By the 10th of June, all candidates – those accepted as well those who cannot be accepted this year – will receive intimation by email or post.
The information pertaining to selected candidates – based on their thematic preference, academic background, work experience and statement of purpose – will be matched with the interests and requirements of host organisations. Information about the organisation that will host each youth will be intimated to them by the 20th of June.
CHIRAG is organizing a 2 week foundation course which will be held at CHIRAG, in Nainital District of Uttarakhand, in early July for the selected youth. The foundation course seeks to provide an orientation about life in rural India. The course will commence with an exploration of issues and tools to understand and analyse life in villages. The course will include sessions on primary education, community health care, the relationship between natural resources, humans and livestock, agriculture, community forestry, animal husbandry, off-farm rural livelihoods, water, the not-for-profit sector, governance and Panchayati Raj. The course will be interspersed with visits to villages – including night-stays in homes. Participants selected will then join their host organisations and will be located there for the next 11 months.

The programme starts on July 1, 2009. Send in your applications by May 15, 2009.

For more information: http://chirag.org/swades_more.html

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School for the Blind

AMAIDI has managed to contact a government school for blind children and for the deaf and dumb as its newest partner in Puducherry. Its located close by AMAIDI Guest house, fantastic for who wants to stay in contact with other volunteers.

It’s managing director sounded enthusiastic. A visit on Friday May 15 revealed that Mrs. Rajeshwari, assistant director of this government institution near the Puducherry University, is really very happy with the fact that I have approached her. She will, however, first have to consult her superior, the director, but does not expect resistance there. As a matter of fact, she has invited me to come to her annual day of yet another institution that she manages, the ‘government home for mentally retarded children’ in Puducherry. There, she told me, I will meet ‘all kinds of VIPs to tell my story’. I will start to prepare myself for the best … 

Government School for the blind, deaf and dumb

Government School for the blind, deaf and dumb

Miss Janneke Luesken from the Netherlands, working for VISIO – a foundation for the visually impaired – is going to assist the staff of the blind school in Jan-March 2010. I firmly believe that is really going to happen.

Cheers to that!

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New Partner in Bihar!

We’re so happy to have a new partner in Bihar, India’s poorest state (in nearly all the stats you can think of), but vibrant in its NGO culture, which gives hope for the future of men, women and children in the need of assistance.Check out this Wiki on Bihar

 

Bihar in N-India

Bihar in N-India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a text from the Indian Waterportal about the chairman of SSVK:

Deepak Bharti, Samajik Shaikshnik Vikas Kendra, Bihar Mr Deepak Bharti,
Founder, Samajik Shaikshnik Vikas Kendra (SSVK)
 
“Samajik Shaikshnik Vikas Kendra (SSVK) is working to empower the most downtrodden and marginalised people, especially women, in one of the India’s poorest states, Bihar. Its founder Mr Deepak Bharti is a product of the great 1974 student movement, which engulfed major parts of the country, besides becoming one of the reasons for Ms Indira Gandhi to declare emergency. No surprisingly, the follower of JP Narayan, Bharti is candid in his responses. He dissects Bihar floods with rare insight & practical wisdom. He notes embankment construction is the biggest cause of floods. Yet, they continue, reflecting the politician contractor nexus. He has a fearless view on every issue- bureaucratic inertia, political stunts, and delays in deploying the helicopters…”  

If you want to read the rest of the article in WaterAid Portal, click here

 

Their website is offline at the moment, server problem most likely. Just come back and visit again.

Cheers! 

Camille 

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Laura @ Madurai with NGO EXIST

Laura having a South-Indian dinner at Madurai

Laura having a South-Indian dinner at Madurai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since a few weeks Laura Quist, AMAIDI Volunteer from the Netherlands, is working at EXIST, a grassroots NGO in Madurai, who is working for the betterment of women in and around Madurai city. EXIST mainly focuses durable development of women through Self Help Group formation, education and livelihood training.

Livelihood training - tailoring section

Livelihood training - tailoring section

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura’s task is to identify training needs related to entrepreneurship, leadership, awareness, marketing etc of women in and outside women’s SHG’s; to design a training plan and –strategy along with EXIST’ staff; to undertake a viability study of several forms of micro enterprise; and to identify and promote suitable micro enterprises amongst women.

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Miss Getty and Women Rights in Tamil Nadu, India

Since today, Friday April 17, Miss Getty, a lawyer from the Netherlands, works as a legal volunteer at REAL organization, an NGO based in Puducherry, promoting women’s rights. ‘How successful are we? That is what you must find out for us’, told Mr. Lawrence this morning, when I was attending Getty’s first day at work in the office.

This is what is written about women’s rights one of the many websites covering this issue, http://www.indianchild.com/womens_issues_in_india.htm:

“INDIA has elaborate laws to protect the rights of women, including the Prevention of Immoral Traffic, the Sati (widow burning) Act, and the Dowry Prevention Act. Women and children have figured prominently in the government’s agenda of social reforms and initiatives. However the Government is often unable to enforce these laws, especially in rural areas where traditions are deeply rooted. Dowry, Female bondage and forced prostitution are widespread in some parts of India”

Miss Getty has to find out where REAL can still improve ‘the gap between the effective awareness of women’s rights and the lack of it’, as Mr. Lawrence put it.

Many obstacles to the realization of women’s human rights in India, are social and cultural in nature, deeply rooted in the traditions of its communities.

Women discussing women's rights

Women discussing women's rights

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