My time volunteering
Within the governance team, our main role was to create links and contact between the local government and the communities we were volunteering with. The aim of creating these links was to make local village communities, especially youth club leaders, aware of what services, materials and facilities are available to them. For example, one service available to youth club leaders was leadership training.
During my time in Birampur, I volunteered with a range of individuals and within a number of settings. For example we were in contact with numerous government officials such as a social welfare and educational officer. And, conducted volunteering and training sessions in village communities, educational facilities such as primary, secondary and special needs schools, as well as colleges and universities.
The impact of my placement
The governance team achieved a variety of positive impacts within our local communities. The areas which we focused on after listening to and assessing community needs consisted of; special needs, crime prevention, mental health, inclusive education and environmental concerns.
One example of how the governance team implemented a plan regarding special needs, was by visiting each community and making contact with families who had a child with a disability. Following this, we arranged village sessions and invited families of those with a disabled child to speak to specialists, whom were able to attend through us contacting local government officials. These sessions were a huge success, as families gained valuable information and advice regarding services, funding and medical support such as medication.
Unfortunately a number of children with disabilities in the communities were unable to attend school. This was caused by factors such as transport or simply the parents were not aware of special needs schools existing. Therefore, we contacted school teachers and educational officers, and successfully enrolled a number of children with disabilities into schools, with arranged transport.
My unforgettable moments
One unforgettable moment was accompanying a brother and sister with disabilities on a taster day at a local school for children with special needs. Neither of the siblings had previously been in education for a number of years as they felt out of place and uncomfortable. However, on their first day at this school, they actively engaged with the other pupils who also shared disabilities and appeared to be making friends. The girl whom previously spoke very little, was speaking to both teachers and pupils. The grandmother of the siblings who also accompanied us, told us she was so happy to see her grandchildren engaging with other children and having fun. This is a day I will never forget.
The impact my placement has had on me
After being at home now for a number of weeks I can see the positive impact my volunteer journey has had on me. I am even more passionate in the areas I volunteered within, and it confirmed for me a career in this direction is something I am excited to pursue. Already, I am planning where I can next volunteer both locally and internationally.