This summer, I am going to the state of Orissa in India in order to better the education system and to educate citizens on the benefits of having an education. I am doing this project with three other UT volunteers through the organization Nourish International of which I am a member (http://nourish.org/).
For 6 weeks we will be living and working in 2 rural coastal fishing villages near the city of Gopalpur. During this time, myself and the other volunteers will be working with a partner organization on the ground. Our partner, DJMV (Divya Jyoti Mahila Vikash for those of you who\'d like to take a crack at the pronunciation) has been working on the ground in this location and is very cognizant of the day-to-day life and needs of the villagers. After the six weeks, DJMV will remain in the villages to continue to implement the various education enhancement initiatives that we helped to start.
Nourish International is devoted to fighting poverty on a global as well as a local level. We are a registered nonprofit, and we seek to help people in other communities around the world to gain a higher income using the skills and assets that they already possess. We believe in helping people to help themselves, thus creating a sustainable method for increasing income and well-being without the reliance on foreign aid. Through bettering the education system and educating the community on its benefits we hope to broaden the horizons for the Orissa youth, and present an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.
Specifically, our group of volunteers will do the following on our trip:
-hold technology workshops in which we teach the youth, as well as other community members basic computer skills
-hold teacher training sessions in which we show teachers innovative methods of educating. This should be quite effective, as the teachers at the villages we will be volunteering have no formal training.
-hold basic English classes in which we teach the youth the foundations of the English language. In the area of Orissa which we are traveling, the vast majority of the villagers only speak a language called Telugu. Many do not speak Hindi, and virtually none speak English (Hindi and English are the 2 main languages of India, although there are hundreds of dialects)
-hold community workshops in which we educate the community and the parents on the benefits of an education and the ways in which it can broaden their children\'s horizons. At the current moment, many parents are hesitant to send their kids to school, as they either don\'t see the value of an education, don\'t believe that their education system is of good enough quality, or believe that keeping their children home to assist with the fishing or other tasks is more beneficial.
-holding job training skills workshops in which we educate students about how to apply for a job and how to conduct oneself during an interview
We are hoping that our approach to include the whole village in this bettering of the education system will at least spark a realization that education in this location has a plethora of benefits for the children and the community. Consider, a youth could study marine biology or engineering and find a more effective way of raising or harvesting fish for their village. By teaching the teachers and the parents, we hope to make this project sustainable.
All of this sounds fine and dandy, but the problem comes with the finances. Our chapter of Nourish fundraises all the money for our volunteer projects, but not for the volunteers themselves. Unfortunately that means I am stuck with airfare, food, room and board, travel insurance, vaccinations and other costs. Because I am a poor college student I am begging you all for your help :) Here is the cost breakdown for those of you who\'d like to see it
airfare: about $1400
food room and board on the ground transportation: about $722
travel insurance: about $115
passport services and visa services: about $200
vaccinations: about $200
Thank you all so much for your help! I can\'t express how much I appreciate it.