A Big Leap

I have always been one to play it safe. Maybe too safe, I’ve come to realize. After some thrilling smaller ventures away from my familiar life, I’m ready to take a big leap. Follow along on my volunteer journey to India.

Placement information March 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:05 am

I realized that I never really described what I’m actually doing here in Dharamsala.  Here, from my placement handout:

Anganwadi- Khaniyara road
Daycare placement

General Information
ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) are a Government Agency that is responsible for ensuring that young children in India receive proper education, nutrition, health and social development.  Launched on 2nd October 1975 in 33 Blocks, the ICDS today covers more than 75% of India’s community development blocks. The aims are as follows:
1. Lay the foundation for the proper psychological, physical and social development of the children
2. Improve the nutrition and health of children below the age of six years old
3. Reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity and malnutrition.
4. Achieve effective coordination of policy and implementation among departments to promote child development.
5. Enhance the capability of the mother to look after normal health, nutritional and development needs of the child, through community education.

Other Information
The classrooms are generally small single room rented accommodation or just a shed. The children sit on the floor on mats. The day cares are very low on resource material and may or may not have a decent playground. The teachers have a tendency of leaving the kids entirely on your shoulders and not participate in any of your activities. Thus, you have to make sure that she partakes in all activities so that it is a learning process at both ends. The resource material used should be culturally acceptable and easy to access from the existing surrounding market. It is advisable that the material not be left in the daycares

Volunteer Activities / Duties

  • Read the placement folders in the CCS office so you can build on the work of the previous volunteer.
  • Develop songs and games for the children.  Local staff would especially like ideas for activities to encourage good behavior and good habits.  For example cleanliness, brushing teeth, tolerance, cooperation, sharing etc.
  • Develop educational activities, such as alphabet games, number games, way to learn colors, shapes et cetera.
  • Provide support during mealtimes – ensure that the children wash their hands, sit well while eating and clear away afterwards.
  • Teach basic English to the children
  • Spend time getting to know the local staff and supporting their work.

Goals of the Partner Program
Volunteers at the anganwadis support the work of the local staff by planning games and activities for the children.  Through being at the placement, volunteers also emphasize the importance of the values and skills that are being taught, to the children, their parents and the wider community.

For your first few days you should spend time getting to know the children and the staff at the anganwadi.  When you understand the needs of the placement and start to get comfortable with it you can suggest activities, games and songs that fit with the objectives of the center.

Other Notes

  • Typically volunteers will be at the placement from about 9-12AM
  • As with other placements, you should expect to spend a portion of your free time planning and creating activities for the placement.  Often you can share this with other CCS volunteers and it is a fun part of the afternoon.

So, officially, there’s my placement description.  It’s going really well so far! Thanks again for all of your thoughtful suggestions for activities.


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