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This program is organized by Global Vision International (GVI) and STA Travel in collaboration with DukeEngage.
May 27 - July 22
Assisting with community development, education, workshops and other activities ensuring equal opportunities for women, youth or people with disabilities in Southern India.
During their eight weeks in Kerala in the South of India, students will be working alongside local experts, residents and stakeholders, to provide opportunities for learning, attaining skills, building capacity or providing much needed stimulation. In conjunction with government or umbrella organizations objectives are set focusing on long-term skill-based support.
Working from existing structures and strengths within local centers and groups DukeEngage participants will support capacity building initiatives in the field of women’s empowerment, education or special needs care. Participants might have the opportunity to assist in a number of areas working with and teaching children and adults, assisting with, planning and leading classes, workshops or develop infrastructure as part of integrated community development.
Students will be asked to lead their own initiatives, occasionally work in pairs but operate as a team. Locations will be based on the needs of project partners at that time. Students will learn details about specific projects, long- and short-term objectives, schedules and responsibilities during their orientation in India.
Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes
The program provides human resources, and students’ energy and passion to meet educational and human needs of the local community. Working for and alongside local partners it should deepen the students’ understanding of community development and broaden perspectives of diversity issues.
DukeEngage students will work in a team or small groups to increase education and other development opportunities for disadvantaged populations. This may include working with children and women’s societies, community groups, care homes, centers for the disabled, orphanages and under-funded schools. Past volunteers have worked with:
Underfunded primary schools for students from low-income or otherwise disadvantaged areas and girls’ and boys’ homes
Child advocacy centers
Women’s initiatives network
Care homes and schools for children with disabilities
Language: No specific language proficiencies are required. Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi or other Indian language proficiencies are beneficial.
Coursework: No specific academic experiences required.
Other Skills: GVI staff and local experts in country will provide all relevant training. A criminal background check is required for this program.
Personal Qualities: For this program the ability and willingness to adapt to and balance own expectations with changing partner needs are beneficial. The most successful candidates will have the ability to readily identify opportunities for positive contribution to partners’ goals and show a continued interest and high motivation to gain understanding and learn in and from an unknown environment.
Description of Community: Project work takes place around the city of Kochi (Cochin), a port town offering fascinating snippets of history and culture, including the oldest Church in India, an extensive spice market and the famous 15th Century Chinese fishing nets. Kochi is a culturally rich urban Southern Indian town as well as a small tourist hub. This provides a mix of interesting architecture and blend of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jewish tradition alongside cafes and shops that appeal with Indian and international travelers alike. GVI has been operating in Kochi for almost six years and are well established and respected within the community.
Housing and Meals: Same gendered students will share a room in a local guesthouse with western-style bathrooms and electricity. The guesthouse has a communal area for gathering and a restaurant or kitchen. The accommodation is comfortable and friendly. Laundry can be hand-washed, or students can make arrangements with the guesthouse managers or others in the local community.
All meals will be provided. Breakfast will usually be provided at the accommodation and could be traditional Kerala style with dosa, idli, appam, or eggs, toast or fresh fruit. Lunch and dinners will be arranged on project sites or at local restaurants at walking distance. Meals are traditional style and may include rice, chapatti or appam and fresh vegetables, lentils and occasionally fish and meat. Care is taken to ensure food is not too spicy. Vegetarian or vegan options are always available.
If you do not eat certain types of food for cultural, religious or personal reasons, please contact the DukeEngage office, , to discuss whether or not your dietary needs can be reasonably accommodated at this program site.
Transportation: Students will travel by van to the partner site or project-work location. Most locations are within a radius of about 15 minutes or even within walking distance from the accommodation. Enrichment activities might include travel by traditional Kerala houseboat.
Communication: All students will receive a basic mobile phone with local SIM for calls. A small amount will be provided to cover local calls but if students are using the phone regularly or use it to call family they will need to cover the cost to top up their phones. Limited speed WIFI will be available at the accommodation. Students are welcome to bring laptops, tablets or smartphones and will find them helpful for doing assignments and preparing activities.
Opportunities for Reflection: Although the days will be busy with preparation work, project work, meetings and organized cultural and social events, there will be time for structured and unstructured reflection after activities or at the end of the day. GVI staff or local experts will facilitate daily reflection sessions on progress with regards to objectives, adaptive action as well as cultural and social context and interpretation.
Other Opportunities: Students will have some late afternoons and evenings as well as some weekends free (whenever enrichment activities are not planned) to explore the local area and take in the local markets, cultural sites, yoga and massage, or just relax. Although the days will be busy with preparation work, project work, meetings and organized cultural and social events, there will be some down-time during project activities as well.
Organized enrichment opportunities might include:
Courses on South Asia, Women’s Empowerment, Social Justice, Human Rights, and Education would likely be of interest pre- or post- the Kerala experience.