The Volunteer's role begins in February, and is divided into three phases, summarised below.
Depak and Brian working together in the Sundarbans
1. Preparation (January - June)
Effective preparation is vital for overcoming the challenges presented by the Programme and making sure that you can be the best volunteer you can be and make a positive contribution to the Partner schools.
The Preparation Phase is the six month period between January and June. Each Volunteer works with their team to ensure that they are fully equipped and prepared to offer a quality service to the Partner organisations. This preparation takes the form of three preparation weekends, facilitated by Suas staff and outside consultants, focused on:
A) Knowledge and Skills Development: three action-packed weekends support the Volunteers' preparations. These cover an introduction to: the Partner organisations, development issues, skills development and teamwork.
B) Health, Safety and Security: the safe completion of the Programme by all is the number one objective of the Volunteer Programme. There is a focus on HSS during the preparation phase, to ensure everyone is adequately prepared to complete the Programme safely.
C) Fundraising for the participation fee. Between the months of January and May, Volunteers fundraise their participation fee, with the support of Suas.
We understand that Volunteers need to balance their personal commitments with those of the Programme; nevertheless, former Volunteers have successfully passed exams, submitted their theses and completed various work projects whilst also preparing sufficiently for the Programme. The process is, however, fairly demanding and requires considerable commitment from the time that offers are accepted.
During this time, Volunteers also fundraise their participation fee, with the support of Suas. Click here to read more about fundraising.
2. Overseas Placement (June – August)
Volunteers spend 10 weeks in India; 9 weeks working in our Partner Schools, and one week of workshops on development issues (Global Perspectives Week).
A) A 9 week Placement in one of our Indian Partner schools. In teams of 8-12, Volunteers will work together to serve the teachers and children.
The teams will work with children between the age of 4 and 18, on a broad range of projects; both curricular and extra-curricular.
B) Global Perspectives. Understanding the wider challenges of development is an integral part of the Programme. Global Perspectives gives an opportunity to learn about development issues, and includes a week long programme (GP Week) midway through the placement during which Volunteers explore development issues and consider the overseas challenges that they have encountered. This week is facilitated by specially recruited coordinators and will include talks from external speakers working in the field of global justice and development.
3. Return and Closeout (August – October)
Return and Closeout: A debriefing weekend allows Volunteers to reflect upon their experiences and share what they have learnt with fellow volunteers. It is a chance to thank everyone involved with the programme and to support you in asking what's next for you?