Jovi Gomes carried out voluntary work in India this summer. He writes:
Namaskara! After 6 weeks of working in India with the charity Raleigh, I am back with loads of memories, achievements, stories and photos to share.
Taking you back a few months, I approached the community and church to help with fundraising, and your support at the event was much appreciated as it allowed me to embark on this journey. I and 8 other UK volunteers were accompanied by 6 In-country volunteers to make a change to the village of Kulya, located in south Karnataka (India).
During Phase One, which lasted about 5 weeks, the team settled into the village and created bonds and relationships with the members of the village. We worked on Sanitation and Hygiene Projects in collaboration with WASH and MYCAPS (another local NGO). Our primary focus as a team was educating the children, youth and elderly of the village in hygienic practices, usage of toilets along with their benefits, and water conservation.
Our team was split into 6 committees each with co-chairs. I was co-chair for the Advocacy and Infrastructure Committee. My duties included advising the villagers on their rights and how to handle legal matters, and informing them about various government schemes, and the documentation requirement for toilet and Job Card Applications, for providing labour with respect to toilet building. Along with the my fellow co-chairperson I attended meetings with Village Elders, Panchayat Development Officer, School Headmaster, Village Vice-President, etc.
15 Meeting local government officials
In terms of getting work done before the end of phase 1, we as a team managed to dig 11 pits, construct 32 tippy taps, and teach endless lessons on sanitation and English to the 70 students at the local school. We had two petitions with 500+ signatures submitted and approved by the Grampanchayat (local government) and sent for further consideration to higher authorities. We also painted 2 murals. By the end of the phase we as team felt so accomplished and we were thrilled to see how all the money, raised at our respective fundraising events, was being put to use.
Unfortunately at the end of phase 1 I had to leave due to medical and personal issues, and hence I could not return to the village. Nevertheless it has been an amazing, life changing journey and I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer. Now I can proudly say that I have challenged myself to “Change my World”, and I would earnestly ask each and every one of you to take up such a challenge yourselves. Finally I should mention that this was the last expedition in India, as Raleigh India will be closing. However Raleigh continues to make a difference in Tanzania and Nicaragua.