1) What are the exact dates of the placement?
Placements are during the summer vacation. Dates of the placement will be confirmed shortly, but all applicants should be available to travel from 27th June 20th September 2020.
2) What exactly will we do for the month?
You will work each Monday - Friday, teaching multiple groups of individuals each day. You will predominantly work with the teaching coordinator and the local teachers during the morning, in the afternoons you will move to the teaching centres in the surrounding villages.
You will develop the skills of the teachers looking at areas such as lesson planning, lesson preparation and marking. You will look to identify areas where the teachers lack confidence or knowledge, you will also introduce and teach new background topics to allow the introduction of more advanced topics in the teaching centres themselves.
You will be developing the teaching of English language in the schools, linking it to the basic TEFL or TESOL principles, and providing ideas to develop the English teaching curriculum. You will also be developing the teaching of Mathematics in the schools. You may also be developing the teaching of other topics in the schools including Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities.
You will work with the teachers to develop more interactive methods of teaching at the school. Develop course materials as and where appropriate and use them to deliver chosen topics.
You will seek to identify opportunities for and initiate extra-curricular activities (e.g. Sports, Language, Maths, Arts activities), giving a framework, motivation and possibly resources for continuation after your departure.
You may be required to coach small groups of children on specific topics.
3) What have previous volunteers on the project achieved?
Over the past 10 years, Warwick and the Laksh Foundation have worked together and developed the project from a small pilot scheme which saw Warwick students helping out at a single school on the Laksh farm itself to an established partnership seeing multiple groups of volunteers working for a month at a time across a wide school network.
In early 2013, the decision was made to move the teaching away of the farm itself to allow easier access for its users. Teaching centres were opened in the villages of Mangar and Silakari. These were then developed and firmly established by the 2013 volunteer cohort who worked closely with the teaching coordinator, improving the confidence and skills of the local teachers, they introduced new approaches to teaching and learning and put in place a solid curriculum. By the time that the second group of volunteers left in August 2013, a third centre was opening in the village of Dhauj providing more free, extra curricular tution for local children and further employment opportunities for young local teachers.
In 2014, two more centres opened: a additional centre in Mangar village to meet demand and another in Alampur.
The 2014 cohort of volunteers went with clear goals to focus more on the continued developement the teachers themselves, including presence and expression in the classroom, interactive teaching methods and developing the leadership qualities and skills of the teachers. Other areas of focus included teamworking, behavioural management and a developing a sense of shared responsibility.
In 2017 a brand new centre was opened in Sihori village.
4) What is the exact amount I have to pay?
This volunteering project is fully-funded, however you are required to fundraise a minimum of £750 towards the further development of volunteering projects in India. You also need arrange your transport to and from the UK based airport (London Heathrow) and take some spending money with you.
The following will be provided for you: Travel insurance; Flights; Transfers in India; Accommodation in India (full board); One weekend excursion to Jaipur or Agra (other opportunities for excursions will be available but should be funded by the volunteers); Refund of essential vaccinations; Refund of required Visa.
5) I don't know Hindi, is that ok?
Yes! If you are selected as a volunteer, but do not speak Hindi, we will include some basic instruction\resources as part of your preparation.
6) I have no teaching experience, is that ok?
Unfortunately not. Volunteers are required to have some previous experience of teaching to participate in the project. This need not be formal teaching experience, but we are looking for volunteers who are able to quickly adapt to teaching in the Laksh Foundation schools, and who can bring ideas for new teaching methods to the schools.
7) Where will we stay?
On arrival at Indira Ghandi airport, you will be transferred to a hotel in Delhi for your first night in India. Staff from the Warwick India Office will help you to acclimatise, direct you to some of the sights of Delhi, and provide a programme of induction.
You will travel to the Farm itself the next day where accommodation is provided on site. You will be expected to share a room with at least one other volunteer (male and female volunteers will be in separate rooms, of course). The rooms are air-conditioned, with a toilet, a shower room, and their own veranda.
Hotel accommodation in Delhi will again be provided before your flight home at the end of the project.
8) Can I travel during my time on the project?
There will be some opportunity for some travel and sight-seeing during your time in India, on pre-arranged excursions which will be part of your programme. We cannot allow volunteers to travel outside of organised trips or groups.
Possible excursions include Agra, and Jaipur. Final details will be confirmed later.
9) Can I carry my laptop, is there internet?
The Farm has internet access, and groups should have at least one reliable laptop with them. Please note, however, that the electricity supply at the Farm can be intermittant.
There is mobile phone access, and local mobile SIM cards will be provided for you to use.
10) What food will there be?
Volunteers will share the same food as everyone else on the Farm. It is primarily vegetarian, and although your host Ila refers to it as 'simple Indian style', previous volunteers have described the food as 'fantastic' with 'big breakfasts of cereals, toast and fruit; lunches include traditional vegetable dishes, daals, rice and roti for lunch; and a huge variety of different things for dinner.
11) Do I have to get my visa/insurance/vaccinations myself?
You will need to get your visa and vaccinations yourself, but the University will assist you and re-imburse you. You must ensure you are eligible to enter India.
The University will provide comprehensive travel insurance cover.
12) What happens after the placement? Can I stay on in India?
At the end of the placement, all volunteers will return on their pre-booked flights. It is not possible to allow you to stay on in India once the placement has ended. We will ensure that you have some opportunity for travel and exploration whilst on placement.