Volunteering India

So how is life treating you?
The half-year has gone and now it’s the time to think whether we were able to do 50% of our resolutions that we made out at the start of the New Year.

This second edition of July newsletter comes with a lot of information on events. The World against Child Labour (12 June), International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26 June) and World Population Day are the topics we have included … (11 July- Phew this one we made it in time!)

No need to memorize these days. The idea is that the issue gets highlighted in the day. What do you feel about these days? Find them Good/Okay/not so important or you really don’t give them much thought. I like the fact that the issues like Child labour gets highlighted in the eyes of the public for at least one day. Also the fact that the person sitting anywhere in the world is today thinking of the problems and magnitude of Drug abuse. I like that for one day we sit back the huge numbers the human race has come to. So these days may be a past now but do think about the issues that touch your fellow human beings lives.

Then, we have a story from Jenna Drabble as intern from Canada.

Hope you enjoy all UN days and your own days in July.

For all you people who are Americans- Happy Independence Day on 4th of July.

More later. Stay cool and be good.

Vinod Meena

Jenna Drabble at Volunteering India

I came to India in February 2008 to complete a volunteer practicum requirement for my degree in International Development Studies. Prior to my arrival I contacted Vinod Meena through Volunteering India and he helped my friend and I set up a practicum with the Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (Cecoedecon), an impressive Indian NGO working in the areas of health, natural resource management, gender and child development. Vinod went out of his way to set everything up for us, and was wonderful about keeping us informed and up to date during the process.

We arrived in Jaipur and went straight to the guesthouse that Vinod booked for us; a relief to us both as we were tired from the journey and a little bit overwhelmed by everything around us. After allowing us some time to rest, Vinod came to meet us at the guesthouse and we talked for some time about Jaipur and our volunteer placement. Over the following days we were introduced to the city, had Hindi lessons with Vinod and went sightseeing with our very entertaining tour guide Ravi. During this time we also had an orientation, which introduced us to the culture of India and some of the issues in the country.

On our third day in Jaipur we were taken to the head office of Cecoedecon, which was to be our home for the next three months. We met with our site supervisor and received some information to read about the activities of the organization. We were assigned to work within the Child Development Program and over the course of our internship we conducted two studies related to child work and child rights. The experience of planning and conducting research studies was entirely new for me and I learned so much through the process. The best part of the work, however, was simply being in the communities and interacting with the children and their parents. I was exposed to a way of life completely different from my own and became much more informed about the issues and realities that people in rural India are facing. Speaking with the people there and hearing their stories was something that has had a profound effect on my worldview, continuing to influence how I perceive everything around me. I have been humbled as well as inspired by the people that I met through this experience and the incredible work that they do every day.

With the support and guidance of our supervisors at Cecoedecon, we used the information that was gathered in the communities to write two reports for the organization. While the office work was a bit less exciting than the field work, it was no less valuable as it gave me experience analyzing and compiling data. It was great to have a finished product at the end which reflected all of the work that we had done over the past 3 months.

On the weekends I spent time in Jaipur with the other interns, exploring the city, shopping and sightseeing. We were lucky enough to be there during Holi, a very exciting and colourful celebration in India! During the entire course of the internship, Vinod was great about keeping in touch with us and making sure that everything was going well. It really helped to know that he was there and that we could rely on him if we needed anything.

Overall, my practicum experience and involvement with Volunteering India was extremely positive. I know that I will be thinking about everything that I saw, learned and experienced in India for years to come and look forward to the day when I can return to
this amazing country.

Jenna Drabble, Canada

VII Snippets
Ms. Elizabeth Kauffman, Director, U.S.Consulate General, Mumbai joined us and stayed for a short period. She came to see her daughter who is volunteering with us with her two friends and going to volunteer for 6 weeks.

Days galore this June and July this year and every year

The World against Child Labour (12 June)

Child Labor, generally speaking is work for children that harms them or exploits them in some way (physically, mentally, morally, or by blocking access to education). Normally, child laborers are those poor children whose parents cannot afford a reasonable living for them and either ask them or force them to work. These children work in the most dangerous circumstances at an age where most of the children start going to school and receive education. There are millions of children Laborers all around the world.

Child Labor is common in almost all the countries around the world. Children are told to work in the fields of agriculture, construction sites, factories, auto repairs, textiles and many more. It is in fact noted that many girls than boys work outside home. Girls work as a domestic maid to ear their living. Being a maid is also not less than risky. Many of them are often exploited by the family or friends of that house physically or sexually abused too.

Its’ not so difficult for people to hire children for their work as they are easily available, cheap source of employment and they can work faster and better then aged individuals, also can be controlled well as children will obey and wont fight against. But, this is not done. At an age when children don't even know how the world is and what's going on outside, they are forced into cheap employment. Many children in hazardous and dangerous jobs are in danger of injury or even death.

What causes Child Labor? Well poverty is the widely reason, abuse of the child, illiteracy, lack of good schools and day care, limited choices of women and more..." The parents of child laborers are often unemployed or underemployed desperate for secure employment and income. Their children are the powerless and paid less-who are offered the jobs. In other words, children are employed because they are easier to exploit.

Beyond compassion, consider who today’s children will become in the future. Between today and the year 2020, the vast majority of new workers, citizens and new consumers — whose skills and needs will build the world’s economy and society — will come from developing countries. As an individual, we can learn about this issue and support organizations that are raising awareness or we can directly provide help to individual children.

(Written by Ms. Aarti Yamsanwar for Volunteering India)

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26 June)

"Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs." The slogan will be used for three years and will focus on different aspects of drug control: drug abuse in 2007, drug cultivation and production in 2008, and illicit drug trafficking in 2009.

With this campaign, UNODC aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to the society. No individual, family or community is safe where illicit drugs take control. Drugs may control the body and mind of individual consumers, the drug crop and drug cartels may control farmers, illicit trafficking and crime may control communities. The campaign's goal is to inspire people and mobilize support for drug control. The proposed overarching campaign and the generic slogan are flexible.
World Population Day (11 July- Phew (AGAIN) this one we made it in time!)

This year’s World Population day doesn’t think of numbers but reaffirms the right of people to plan their families. It is encouraging activities; events that will make this right, a reality. The marginalized and young people have been targeted for the same.
When people plan their family, they can beat poverty and plan their lives. They have healthier mothers and children. Equality doesn’t remain a far ahead dream when all this happens.

Well, what a thought! Seems elementary but yet oblivious to many of us on Earth. Plan and support World Population Day this year on July 11.

See you next time.

Think and Do what you think is right!

Vinod Meena



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 Volunteer Stories

When I first arrived in India, it felt like every little thing was so different from back home- the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, the animals; every moment was a new adventure, and I was always excited to see what would happen next! I volunteered teaching English to rescued child laborers in a rural village near Jaipur.

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