OUR NEEDS

Uma Nivas

Come on an adventure to the tribal villages of West Bengal and help teach English, math, computer studies, and science. All skills are welcome and appreciated!

The skills that you can offer will help the desperately poor Santhal tribal children at Uma Nivas, a primary and girls’ high school with attached orphanage. You will be welcome to join our children’s daily yoga and meditation sessions and develop your full potential while helping our children to develop theirs.

Uma Nivas Project is located in Katanga Village, Purulia District, in West Bengal. The primary school has 60 boys and girls, 20 of whom are residential, while the high school has 150 children attending. The orphanage is home to 23 girls aged between 10 and 18.

The surrounding area is populated by tribal Santhals who, for the most part, live well below the poverty line. The high school provides subsidized, and in some cases, free education to the local children. A school hostel accommodates around 50 girls who cannot come on a daily basis due to lack of easy transportation. Most families in the surrounding villages live in rented wooden huts with one family per room. For most families, it is a daily struggle to survive.

We have only a small school. In the future we want to develop our education programs and increase the size of our orphanage and hostel to give more destitute and rural children from outlying areas the chance to study.

Right now we are only providing education to the village children. In the future we want to help develop infrastructure for the village; a mobile medical unit with an ambulance, a maternity clinic to provide hygienic conditions for childbirth, wells, and much more. The people living in the village are grateful to share skills with others to build sustainable communities.

Accommodation

The school can offer one medium sized room where one or two volunteers can stay. The electric supply is generally good, except in the rainy season. At the school bathing water is carried up to the bathroom from the well downstairs and washing of clothes is done at the well. Volunteers will receive training in Indian style bathing! You will be provided with wholesome vegetarian food but can eat other food outside the compound.

Cost

  • First month: Rs. 20000 (approx. Euro 310)
  • Subsequent months: Rs. 6000 (approx. Euro 90)

Your job as a volunteer

There are several opportunities to volunteer in this region, in Uma Nivas as well as a contiguous village called Shillong. Your responsibilities as a volunteer will depend on the program’s need as well as your skills and interests, and may include the following:

  • Teach English, math, computer studies, science, history, geography or any other academic or non-academic skills you have;
  • Train the teachers to plan and teach creative lessons;
  • Help with after school homework;
  • Play games with or organize activities for the children during recreation time, teach them about your life and learn about theirs;
  • If you have a taste for physical activity, your help with our garden will be appreciated; laying paths, planting vegetables or clearing out the underbrush which constantly threatens to take over;
  • Help us in fundraising for a better school building;
  • We will be happy if volunteers can also teach songs and dance and drama to the children;
  • Become a member of our small family for the time you are here and have fun with us together.

To contact the program coordinator for additional information, email Malati at: info at poor.org.in

Or browse our website, at:  http://www.poor.org.in/umanivas.html

Jaipur

The Jaipur orphanage in Rajasthan is home to 13 children, run by a yogic nun named Didi Ananda Gautami. The orphanage is situated in a newly constructed housing colony in a green area of Jaipur. Jaipur—also known as the pink city due to the pink rock from which its walls are built—is a popular tourist centre in Rajasthan. It is famous for its cloth and silver markets, as well as for its beautiful temples and castles which are still inhabited by Rajas. Although the town is prosperous, there are plenty of slum areas and pockets of need. Just recently our project opened an embroidery class for local poor women and already has a regular attendance of 25 women.

Right now we only need a volunteer to help take care of the children, but in the future we will also start a village school and will ask our volunteer to help with that as well.

Project Director

Didi Ananda Gautami: What is most remarkable about Didi is that she is severely handicapped.
She has a very painful form of rheumatoid arthritis and cannot even stand up without assistance. Yet in spite of her handicap, she is cheerful and loves the children as their own mother, taking pride in all their small achievements. However, it is very difficult for her to manage alone. She desperately needs a volunteer to help her with the children.

Accommodation

The orphanage has a medium sized room where a volunteer can stay. The electric supply is good. There is running water in the bathroom. Volunteers will receive training in Indian style bathing! You will be provided with wholesome vegetarian food but can eat other food outside the compound.

Cost

  • First month: Rs. 20000 (approx. Euro 310)
  • Subsequent months: Rs. 6000 (approx. Euro 90)

Who we need

We prefer female volunteers. You must have a good moral character and respect the local culture.

How you can help

When you come to stay with us, you join our family for the time you are here. You are invited to share our joys and sorrows, learn from our culture and teach us about yours. And most of all, you will gain a place in our hearts; when you leave, our children will never forget you and the impact you had on their lives and education.

To contact the program coordinator for additional information, email Malati at: info at poor.org.in

Or browse our website, at:  http://www.poor.org.in/umanivas.html

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