Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Volunteering: A selfless way to promote global understanding

"We share our creative thoughts and ideas through discussions. We feel happy as we are doing something to the society. Indians are very kind and nice people, we are treated as their own here," say FSL India volunteers.
Mysore is a tourist spot and we see a good number of foreigners visiting the city daily. But here is a group of foreigners who have come all the way for a noble cause with lots of enthusiasm.
Nicky from Canada, Lisa and Ewelina from Holland, Yalseo, Sunmin and Jungme from South Korea are our foreign guests, who are doing the odd jobs of painting the wall, cleaning the house, washing vessels, tidying the hair and manicuring nails of the children at Makkala Mane in Kuvempunagar. The volunteers are in city on a ten-day camp under FSL (Field Services and Intercultural Learning – India) and are staying at the Youth Hostel. They will leave Mysore on Dec. 18.They are NGOs who are spending their personal money for all the expenditures and are working under FSL India.

What is FSL-India?
FSL is a non-profit, charitable, social and independent Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which was established in 2001 with the objective of promoting global understanding and inter-cultural learning. It was encouraged by World Peace through Youth Mobility and Volunteerism to work for togetherness. It co-operates with a large number of NGOs across India in coordinating the inter-national exchange of volunteers and by supporting the volunteer movement in India.
FSL India, with its head office in Bangalore, undertakes projects across India. It places international volunteers in local community projects to support sustainable development and to bring an inter-cultural dimension to community projects. Volunteers are assisted by local communities.
"Volunteers are the heart of our work and activities. We place the volunteers in various societies throughout the world. We fix the meeting point one month before and intimate the volunteers accordingly and also make people aware of the world in which they live in. Behaviour and dress code are culture-sensitive, especially in villages or schools," says Joy J. Carvaloh, Workshop Co-ordinator.
"The volunteer service we are promoting is a kind of non-formal education. This requires skill and fundamental education built on practical experience. We believe that we get experience by living and working with people of different cultural backgrounds. We promote understanding, respect and make them feel that we should all work responsibly for the betterment of this world," says FSL Team Leader Dinesh Kundapur.
"There is also a 24-hour hotline service for volunteers. Weekends are free and they can plan their travel or leisure time activities accordingly. Holidays during voluntary service are not allowed," adds Dinesh, who can be contacted over Mob: 99869-14581.
"Our mission is to expand horizons by organising volunteer camps throughout India with the help of national and international voluntary organisations, institutes and colleges by bringing people of different cultures, languages and regions together," adds Joy Carvaloh.
FSL India believes in the work camp principles that people in any community should be given freedom to express their solidarity with others in a practical and basic level so that the young people can discover or develop talents and skills within themselves.
FSL-India aims to increase social, cultural, educational and environmental actions in the rural and urban areas of India through national and international volunteering by means of work camps. Being an active NGO the group does not support any political or religious cause and aims to offer people in India direct contact with youth from abroad.
The living conditions in India are very different from their home town. But still these volunteers make an effort to communicate in the local language.
Besides gaining new skills of communication, practical knowledge and work experience, the volunteers become aware of the importance of being socially active. This way, they raise the level of consciousness of the society as a whole.

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