Volunteering is one way YOU can make a difference for the world’s most under-privileged people.
Not only does it enhance ones appreciation for the diversity and richness of other cultures, for many volunteers it will also mark the beginning of a lifelong commitment to ending poverty and hunger.
Help village communities in India and have the journey of a lifetime…
In the foothills of the Himalaya in India the locally run organisation RUCHI (Rural Centre for Human Interests) works with local communities to help them to overcome poverty.
You have the once in a life time opportunity to stay as a volunteer of this project and really learn about the difference development aid has in the life of a rural Indian community:
• Discover some of the most remote parts of India
• Visit Indian villages implementing community development projects with the assistance of RUCHI
• Get to see the villagers whose lives your efforts will be changing
• Practice your Hindi and teach some English
You can make a difference by getting involved in community development work while experiencing the local culture and furthering your own professional development.
The cost of participating in the volunteer programme provides important funds for the ongoing community development work of RUCHI.
YOUR CONTRIBUTION AS A VOLUNTEER
As a volunteer at RUCHI typical activities during the course of a day could include interaction with RUCHI staff, using Hindi, teaching English, field trips to villages working on projects in partnership with RUCHI, learning methods of rainwater harvesting, helping with planting in the horticulture projects, teaching slum children in non-formal education centre, educating people on health care and nutrition and studying the various water use facilities such as water collection, cloth washing and cattle watering. You will gain an insight into rural life in a developing country – the obstacles and the complications that are needed to be overcome on a daily basis. Most volunteers say they learnt as much about themselves as they did about the area around them.
CHOOSE FROM THE FOLLOWING PLACEMENTS & PROGRAMMES
You can choose from two types of Placement, a 2-week Personal Development Placement, or a longer- term Educational Placement.
These are aimed at the working professional who wants to expand their horizons and see something of community development. Alternatively, students who have a short time period available will find this a superb opportunity for personal development, and a great addition to your CV. This time period will give you a broad overview about work at RUCHI and life in India besides having satisfaction of being able to contribute to community action.
2. Educational Placement: longer than a month:
These placements can be of a longer duration, and are ideal for summer placements for students or as part of a long-term travel experience. You have the flexibility to decide which area of work you are most interested in and, what project you would like to take on and how long you dedicate to that project.
Programme Areas you could be involved in:
Within both placements you may have the opportunity to be involved with 4 programme focus areas depending on your experience, area of interest and projects happening at RUCHI at the time you are there:
1) Environmental Management Programme:
You could be involved in activities such as design, construction, and cleaning of natural springs, ferro- cement tanks and other water harvesting and low cost constructions, tree planting, helping with education projects for children and women on safe water, ecology, and biodiversity.
2) Social Development Programme:
You could be involved in activities such as organising and strengthening women’s groups and enterprise establishments, socio-economic feasibility studies for micro-enterprises, educating children, and discussing environmental issues in villages.
3) Health and Sanitation Development Programme:
You could be involved in activities such as promoting the importance of personal hygiene, sanitary latrines, and clean water; educating mothers on balanced diet; first aid care and prevention of diseases; health check ups; cleaning of dispensaries/primary health centres; putting up waste bins.
4) Staff capacity building:
Supporting and training the RUCHI staff to make their work easier. This could include sharing knowledge on computer software, English language assistance, promotional material for the volunteer programme, website improvements and office support.
The programme is not supported by any donor. Hence, you have to share the cost of participation which varies depending on type of project, venue and duration.
WHAT IS COVERED BY YOUR CONTRIBUTION:
• Pick up from Kalka railway station by public bus – 2 hours from RUCHI
• Local travel costs by public buses while visiting villages.
• All meals (authentic vegetarian North Indian food with some western food options)
• Accommodation at RUCHI (shared room in accommodation block with mattress)
HOW TO SIGN UP:
- Complete the sign-up form and return it to RUCHI
- Your application will be assessed, and you will receive confirmation of your acceptance into the program and the proposed placement dates
- Arrange the necessary tickets (plane and train), visa, insurance, and vaccinations listed in the next section.
Copies of these documents must be sent to the RUCHI contact before you leave for India
- Submit the placement donation with a final confirmation at least 4 weeks before departure (refundable with a deduction of processing cost of Euro 50)
WHAT YOU NEED TO ORGANISE BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
- Indian Visa – obtainable from the Indian High Commission in your country
- Comprehensive travel insurance. Your certificate must be sent to the RUCHI contact
- Vaccinations – your travel centre will advise which vaccinations are currently needed for India.
- Past volunteers have said getting rabies shots would have made them feel more comfortable – there are a number of dogs wandering on the streets in India.
- Sufficient Indian rupees as spending money. Can be taken as cash, American dollar travellers cheques, or ATM/credit card with a pin (Cirrus/Plus/Maestro/Visa/MasterCard)
- Standard Medical Kit for India. Recommended are malaria pills, isotonic fluid replacement sachets, topical antibiotic cream, oral antibiotic pills, antihistamines
- Train booking from Delhi to Chandigarh or Kalka
- A travel guide book such as Lonely Planet India or Lonely Planet Indian Himalayas
- A good level of physical fitness, as walking to villages in hilly terrain and hands-on fieldwork will be a major part of the program
- Previous international travel experience
- A strong willingness to learn, a desire to witness living conditions in a developing nation and the patience to adapt to a different style of living