During the summer placement, Suas Volunteers work with children, aged between 4 and 18, and staff in our partner schools and organisations in India. The Volunteers perform a variety of roles including: teaching assistant, sports coach, mentor and friend.
The Suas team works with each Partner organisation throughout the year to better understand their specific needs, and create a broad outline of what each placement will look like. Volunteer teams then collaborate with the teachers to create their individual projects and schedule upon their arrival.
Volunteers will need to be flexible and to work closely with the teachers throughout the summer. The placement can be very demanding, and there will be times of frustration and uncertainty. The key support throughout these challenges comes from the coordinators and other team members; therefore, it is important that each team has established an effective method of working together prior to departure.
Each Volunteer and their team must use their initiative and work with the partner staff to determine how and where they might best contribute. The placements are not overly structured in advance; a feature that makes this opportunity both challenging and exciting. Suas provides a general introduction to the overall Volunteer role; however, each team is expected to respond to the specific needs of their partner organisations, and use their creativity, adaptability and enthusiasm to make the placement their own.
Suas works in partnership with 6 organisations in Kolkata and Delhi, India. These are: the Development Action Society (DAS), Sabuj Sangha, and Vikramshila in Kolkata and the Sundarbans), and Pratham, Sakshi and Shine in Delhi. We offer year-round support to our Partners, in addition to our annual Volunteer Programme.
So far, the Volunteers have been focused on the role of teaching assistant, to children aged between 4 and 18 (although mostly between the ages of 4 and 12), in non-formal teaching centres. These centres support disadvantaged children as they attempt to mainstream into a government-run primary school. Volunteers generally work in pairs across a number of these centres, teaching English and Mathematics, as well as introducing new games, rhymes, songs and teaching techniques. The centres are generally small and typically cater for around 60 children across 1 or 2 classrooms.
Following a security review and risk assessment we will not be sending volunteers to Kenya in 2015. We will continue to work with our partner organisations and to monitor the situation.
Please visit Our Partners page for more information about these organisations.