About India

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly. The city has a population of almost 5 million, with an extended metropolitan population of over 14 million, making it the third-largest urban agglomeration and the fourth-largest city in India.

There is a one month minimum set for the program. The program starts on the first of the month so you will need to arrive in Kolkata before this date. You will be placed where you are most needed at the time. You will have the opportunity to look at the available options during the training program and make a final decision in consultation with our partner organization. Due to the nature of the situation, projects will start and end at different times so there can be no specific guidelines as to what project you will work in until you arrive. An orientation and training will take place upon arrival and you will be placed according to the current needs and requirements, with consideration of your skills and background.

The types of programs you could be involved with include:

  • Teaching
  • Working with disabled children and adults
  • Taking care of the elderly
  • Women's development projects
  • Caring for the sick
  • Office work

Please visit the GVN site for more information about the program.

Recent India Journals:

Krishna’s Story

 Posted by Ines at 6:49 pm  India  Comments Off on Krishna’s Story
Feb 122011
Krishna's Story

“…with one hand supporting a leg that stuck out sideways she hobbled across the room”

In the Classroom

 Posted by Ines at 9:07 pm  India  Comments Off on In the Classroom
Jan 252011
In the Classroom

It is good to realise that India is peopled with men and women of such outstanding character!

Casi lista para partir

 Posted by Laura Ramirez at 2:44 am  India  Comments Off on Casi lista para partir
Jan 212011

Bueno, hoy estuve empacando mis cosas para mi gran partida a la India. Solo llevare una maleta para chek in y un morral de mano para el camino. Me falta empacar la ropa que voy a donar, unas blusas, camisas y jeans que quisiera dar a gente que realmente lo necesite. Se siente muy chévere pensar que cumpliré uno de mis sueños, el ir a la India. Tengo muchas expectativas y quiero aprovechar lo que más pueda mi tiempo allá. Voy a estar haciendo lo que me gusta, ayudar a la gente. Estaré en un programa que apoya mujeres víctimas de violencia familiar. No sé qué es lo que me toca hacer realmente, pero me dan muchas ganas de poder colaborar con esta causa y luchar porque este problema no se de más en Jaipur, la ciudad a donde voy. Ya cambié un dinero a Rupias y espero que sea suficiente, bueno eso fue lo que me dijo la agente de cambios quien resultó ser de la India. Me dicen que llegaré en época de invierno y que debo llevar ropa abrigada para por las noches que es donde hace más frío. Bueno, saludo para todos y les estaré escribiendo mas adelante.

Camel Safari

 Posted by Ines at 1:33 am  India  Comments Off on Camel Safari
Jan 092011
Camel Safari

Last weekend I went on a camel safari. What an extraordinary thing to do! Along with four other volunteers from my Jaipur house, I was driven to Pushkar in a comfortable four wheel drive and at about three in the afternoon, we found ourselves being fitted with camels for a three hour trek to a camp in the desert. I have ridden a camel before in Alice Springs, Australia and remembered it as an uncomfortable ride where I lurched along on a camel that had very bad breath, so although I was keen to do the ride I anticipated having a sore backside by the time I reached my destination. Once astride a seated beast, it was encouraged to its feet by vigorous tugging on the rope attached to the post through its nose and up onto its front legs as we lurched backwards then further up we went as it managed to stand on all four feet. Suddenly we were high above the crowd. Each camel had its assigned camelteer who led the camel for us for the first hour of our trip. I had not believed that the dust in the street of Jaipur was blowing from the desert and to prove me right the air in the desert was quite a bit cleaner. In Jaipur the roads are not curbed and the dust of the streets is constantly being churned up. I was surprised to find that I was very comfortably perched on my camel, whose name was Mr. John. We rode through fields of roses,marigolds, crops and fruit trees. What sort of desert is this? The fields are irrigated from an underground water supply and the watered earth is fertile. We stopped in some sandhills for the camels to rest and when we resumed our trek [click here to read more]

My Daily Routine

 Posted by Ines at 6:01 pm  India  Comments Off on My Daily Routine
Jan 032011

I have been here three weeks now and my weekday life has settled into a routine. Because my room is dark I seem to sleep in until I hear people moving about at 8am when breakfast is ready for us. A few times I got up early and led a yoga class. I have said I will do it again but we have all been a bit lazy. Our Indian house “mother” is a young Indian girl called Priya. Her English is improving quickly but when she gets stuck she giggles and smiles. We all call on her for help with the tuk tuk drivers, making phone calls etc. Today as usual after breakfast, my tiffin in sitting on the table ready for me to take to work. Tiffin is my lunchbox and it consists of 3 round tins, one on top of the other that fit into a metal clasp with a handle. One will contain rice or chappatis, another dahl and the third some curried vegetables. I don’t have to leave for work until 11.30 so I have time in the morning to go online and answer emails, write this journal and do my washing. I usually write a review of the lessons I did the day before and think about what I will do in my classes today. It was an ordeal to begin with to go into the streets alone and bargain over the fare with the tuk tuk driver but I’m used to it now. I am probably paying too much but only by a little and the denominations from the ATM make it hard to continuously have small notes ready for the many rides I have to do. The fare should be 40 rupees but I usually pay 50 and once when I only [click here to read more]

Learning about India

 Posted by Ines at 5:38 pm  India  Comments Off on Learning about India
Dec 262010
Learning about India

an unhappily married woman set fire to herself

The First Week

 Posted by Ines at 3:25 am  India  Comments Off on The First Week
Dec 192010

This first week has flown by. I gave myself two nights and a day in New Delhi to get acclimatised before I flew on to Jaipur. I had heard of all the construction and the new airport at Delhi that was finished just in time for the Commonwealth Games but was still surprised to find a city of such wide streets with such a modern feel to it. It is fourteen years since was last in India. In Delhi at least the the old Ambassador cars are almost gone, replaced by Japanese brands. There wasn’t a cow, monkey, goat or donkey to be seen until you got well away towards Old Delhi. I had booked a tour and expected to go on a bus and be anonymous but I was the only one on the tour, in a modern four wheel drive Mahinda with a chauffeur who jumped out to open the door for me every time I got in and out, and my own female guide who took me to the most famous tourist sights in Delhi. Early on Tuesday morning I left for Jaipur. At the airport pickup I met Ricki, a young American vounteer who has just done two months volunteering in China. We waited for the next plane to come in so that Melissa from New Zealand could join us. We were taken to our accomodation in a house in a good part of town and met Gayatri, our house coordinator. After a couple of hours we had chosen our bunks and tried on saris and worked out a plan to explore the nearby shops. In the evening we were visited by our Idex (Indian Development Exchange) representative and told about our orientation which would take place on Wednesday at the Idex office. After our orientation [click here to read more]

India-Day 2

 Posted by Ricki Linkoff at 12:48 am  India  Comments Off on India-Day 2
Dec 152010

Today was the first real day in India. We had orientation where we learned about the program and a little about Jaipur. We also learned a little bit of Hindi. Later on me Ines and Melissa went to a market to shop. Bought a few bangals and a cool wall hanging with an elephant. Tomorrow we will be seeing where we will be working. Should be an adventure. Cheers

Prior to Departure

 Posted by Ines at 2:26 pm  India  Comments Off on Prior to Departure
Dec 082010

8-12-2101. This is my first journal entry. I leave for India on Sunday, the twelfth of the twelfth 2010. I have enrolled for a two month program working with Indian women in Jaipur. The lead up to my departure has been very hectic. I sold my house in Sydney recently and had to move out and put all my stuff in storage. I drove for a day to Glen Innes in the country to drop off my dog, a Jackoodle called Kalki, with a carer who I trust to love him while I’m away. I finished all the assignments for the art course I’ve been doing for the past two years and had everything ready for assessment week and exhibition week. Now I’m staying with my older son Tim, and his wife Zara, in Turramurra in Sydney. In my suitcase is everything on the check list and I start taking malaria tablets on Saturday. I have listened to some Hindi tapes but not much has sunk in. Until now I’ve been too busy to be excited or fearful but on Sunday I will be on that plane. Let the adventure begin!

I actually taught today

 Posted by Deborah Ash at 1:11 am  India  Comments Off on I actually taught today
Apr 072010
I actually taught today

These books and the way in which these children learn have been hindering my creativity. I haven’t felt like class was fun or that I was teaching anything other than having the children repeat what I said. They even repeated me saying “mmmm” when I was stuck; thinking what do I do. I have to watch my vocabulary to the maximum because these children are taught to repeat every word I say. They even repeat me when they get something correct I say “very good class” then they say ‘very good class.’ I’m laughing because I can’t even explain this to the teachers because they don’t speak English. Ufffff Today I looked in the book with some anxiety; attempting to be positive about this the next lesson was about markers, pens, pencils, crayons, etc. I know they have these materials in the class but asking for them would take the entire 30 minutes. Thank GOD I am an artist. I pulled out a paint brush, a palate of prime colors, a marker, pen, crayon, pencil, eraser and glue stick. I set out for class not knowing how I was going to proceed but knew one thing….I know how to have fun with colors, paints, markers and crayons so I asked God to direct me so that I could teach these children something. I go to class. This is the first time I’ve taught this particular set of ? year old students. I had them sit in a circle. I pulled out a bowl and water. They repeated, ‘bowl’ and ‘water’, then I pulled out the paint brush and paint. They repeated each item. I pulled out the crayon, pen and marker…they repeated each item. I repeatedly picked up an item and asked what this is and they responded. I had [click here to read more]

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