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Information for Volunteers

Responsibilities and Expectaions:

Sharana volunteers are expected to be

  1. Reasonably proficient in English;
  2. Prepared to spend some concentrated time with Sharana (we recommend 3 months);
  3. Adaptable, open, and prepared to learn about India;
  4. Self-sufficient in living in Puducherry town (though we will provide basic guidance and support);
  5. Financially responsible for their own housing, food, transport, living expenses etc.

In addition, Sharana asks volunteers to read, understand, and be aware of the following:

  1. Dress code: The dress code in the office and at all Sharana establishments in the villages is salwar kameez (loose pants and long top) or its equivalent for women, pants/casual shorts and shirts for men.
  2. Flexibility: Volunteers are assigned responsibilities by Sharana’s administrative team, based on the current needs of the organization. Although we try to take advantage of the skills and knowledge that volunteers bring, the organization’s priorities at any given time may not always allow us to do so. Flexibility is therefore something we ask of all volunteers: willingness to work with Sharana as Sharana needs is critical to a successful volunteer experience.
  3. Time Commitment: Volunteers should expect to put in full working days at Sharana’s office or village centers, as necessary. Sharana works with volunteers to schedule time off or time for tourism, based on the demands of the work at hand etc.
  4. Openness: Sharana asks volunteers to be open to the new experiences and interactions that working with an Indian social and development organization will bring. We ask that volunteers take time to understand the organization, Indian work culture, the means and methods by which problems are addressed and handled, and participate accordingly. The experience of being in India can be challenging; cultural differences will be many and not always easy to accept. While we will help mediate the volunteer experience, we ask that volunteers keep open minds, reserve judgment, and be prepared to adapt to the new experiences as needed.
  5. Respecting Organizational Policy and Procedure: Once volunteers are assigned responsibilities, Sharana asks that no major decisions are taken without consulting the administrative staff. Sharana operates according to child safety and other regulations set by public welfare agencies. In addition, we are responsible for and liable to the children and families who are our beneficiaries, and must safeguard their interests at all times. We therefore require that all those working with Sharana in all capacities understand that all decisions relating to children and communities must be constantly scrutinized and vetted to avoid risks. For as long as volunteers are with Sharana, they are de facto its representatives. Volunteers are therefore to take no major program-related decisions (such as taking children for unscheduled outings or changing scheduled activities) without permission. Similarly, we ask volunteers to seek administrative advice before coming to the aid of individuals, whether morally or financially. The organization has policies and procedures for disbursing benefits that should be respected at all times.
  6. Sharing the Volunteer experience: After volunteering with Sharana, should you happen to write articles or compile photo albums or prepare materials that are being shared in the public domain, we ask that you please pass these by Sharana before making them public.
  7. Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking Policy: There is no smoking or alcohol consumption permitted on the Sharana office premises or at any of its village centers. Volunteers wishing consume these should do so on their own time, and not on any Sharana premises or where Sharana activities are being conducted. Volunteers found in possession of drugs will be immediately terminated.

Depending on the skills of individual volunteers, Sharana’s current needs, and the time of year that the volunteers are with Sharana, the tasks assigned to volunteers could include:
• Distribution of school supplies to children;
• Assistance in drafting and translating letters to sponsors;
• Preparation of activities for summer camps;
• Assisting social workers and teachers in supervising children during summer camps;
• Assisting with outings, picnics, visits, games, skits, reading, and songs (mostly during summer camps);
• Educational activities for sponsored children or their families;
• Administrative work for tracking case referrals;
• Communication: preparation of posters, flyers, exhibition, writing / translating articles, etc.;
• Assistance with marketing items produced in Sharana’s income-generating schemes;
• English classes or tutoring for children;
• Participation in crèche activities at Sharana’s community centers;
• Assistance in providing first aid training;
• Assistance with medical outreach programs (medical, dental, and eye camps);
• Basic computer literacy for appropriate age-groups.

3. Procedure

Individuals interested in volunteering with Sharana must first study our website, and fill out the online form below. If selected, volunteers may be requested to submit a CV and additional materials to the office (via email). The Sharana administration makes all final selection decisions and communicates with candidates directly.

Please note that all communications with Sharana, including the responses to questions in the form below, must be in English.

Note also that Sharana reserves the right to terminate volunteer services if necessary. Similarly, if volunteers wish to withdraw from their commitment, they may do so after informing the Sharana administration of their decision.

Volunteer Application

Sharana receives several volunteers every year, particularly from Europe and the United States. Volunteers bring new energy and skill-sets to the organization, along with stories and experiences from other parts of the world. They also contribute to the daily work that the organization has to undertake, whether administrative, educational, or organizational. Given the right dynamics, the children who are Sharana’s beneficiaries can enjoy and learn much from their interaction with volunteers.

 

In the process, volunteers also can gain an experience of and insight into life and work in India that would not be accessible to tourists. Sharana welcomes volunteers in the hope that the experience can be mutually beneficial and enriching.

 

We encourage potential volunteers to read through our Information for Volunteers page and the various pages of Sharana’s website thoroughly, to gain an understanding of the approach of the organization and the ethics and principles by which it operates, before making the decision to apply. Those interested in applying may please complete the online application below.

 

If you consider and would like to contribute immediately, check out our donation information page.