AMAIDI Volunteering in India

Portal for international volunteers, interns & professionals

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, , , ,

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

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 or can be requested for by writing to or 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.

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:

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

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!

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

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.



Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

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,

“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

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

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AMAIDI Volunteer in an evening school

AMAIDI helps out evening schools in teaching the children English

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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