Join a social initiative that provides computer, English and vocational training for young women in the local community.
India is a fundamentally male dominated society where many women have limited opportunities for success, particularly in education and employment. The pre-determined gender roles that shape the lives of many women often push them towards domesticated and subordinate lifestyles. As a result only 66.8% of women in Haryana are literate.
We send volunteers to two different projects that aim to empower local women.
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT PROJECT
In 2012, Kranti started a project to provide support for women in the local community. We have an outdoor space within the slum where the project takes place. Within this area we also have a slum school for the women’s children and other kids in the area. The main aim of the project is to teach the women vocational skills that will help them gain employment in the future. The majority of these vocational classes are in dressmaking and craft design. However, we also introduce basic numeracy and English classes. We find these classes really help improve the women’s confidence.
The women can be very shy and many speak little or no English. However, we always have staff on-site that are bilingual and can help with the language barrier. Some of the women bring their children along to the sessions and volunteers can help look after their children whilst the women are learning. After the classes have finished, we encourage volunteers to spend time helping the teachers improve their English. The teachers are always very eager to do this and this enables them to increase the quality of their English lessons to the women.
The number of women that attend the project each day varies, from 5 to 10 – although we are constantly reaching out to the local community to encourage more women to attend. The majority of women are teenagers or in their twenties.
ISABELLA SCHOOL EMPOWERMENT PROJECT
In November 2014, the women empowerment project was extended, to a second location, in the same building as the Isabella school for children with special needs. Here, women who wish to learn both English and computer skills have the opportunity to. Due to the popularity of the sewing project, a second class of women is also taken in this location.
The ladies are provided with free transport from the slum to the project. The English ability of the women is limited and varies from person to person. However, a proportion of the ladies have attended school and completed 10th grade standard, hence know simple things such as basic introductions, numbers, days of the week, months, colours etc. A smaller proportion of the women know almost no English – this includes ladies who are mothers of the children attending the special needs school. For this reason, the group is usually split into two (higher and lower English ability) for the first half of the project. The ideal scenario would be that 1-2 volunteers teach the higher ability group with an English teacher present and that the lower ability women are supported by volunteers in a 1:1 or 2:1 relationship.
Please note that during the summer holiday period (Late May to early July), the normal women empowerment programme may not run, as many women return back to their home villages to spend time with their families (people move to towns closer to Delhi as there is more opportunity to earn money, and will return during holiday periods). If this is the case, the PMGY India team will run a summer camp in a local school. Typically, each day will consist of dance sessions, lessons (usually based on specific homework tasks, for example, recapping electric circuits, although volunteers can request to teach specific topics that they believe may be useful for the girls), crafts activities and games.
It is suggested that volunteers talk to the PMGY India team during their orientation period to discuss which ability group they would be more suitable to work with. The higher ability group focus more on grammar, and lessons are led by the English/computer teacher. The English teacher can lead the class, and volunteers can aid them in the class activities, or if an individual is confident enough, they can lead the class, with the teacher to step in if the language barrier is preventing progress from being made within a lesson. They can also aid the volunteers plan their lessons if requested.
The lower ability group of girls focus more on alphabets and numbers OR vocabulary, forming basic sentences, addition and subtraction (dependent on individual ability). This group of ladies rely on the work of volunteers, and are not supported by an employed teacher. For the second half of the project, the group is again split, but this is usually decided by the women themselves.
A sewing teacher takes charge of one group, however volunteers are able to teach or aid if they are strong in this area. The rest of the women are either taught computer or carry out crafts activities, both of which are coordinated by the volunteers.
Volunteers are required to buy their own resources for such crafts activities (please talk to the PMGY India team). Not all of the women will involve themselves in the academic lessons, and will participate in sewing and stitching for the full length of the project.
For volunteers with a specific skill, such as beauty culture, we strongly advise involving the women in such activity. Not only will you be doing something you are really passionate about, the ladies really like to learn new things, particularly skills that could help them get a job or work independently in the future. The majority of the women are aged in their late teens to early twenties.
No matter what form your efforts take, contributing to our women’s empowerment project is guaranteed to be rewarding and eye-opening in equal measure. Though they may be quite shy at first, the women you will meet are ultimately warm, friendly and eager to learn about your way of life in the West. This cultural exchange is one of the highlights of PMGY’s Women Empowerment programme.
IN & AROUND FARIDABAD
PMGY volunteers are based in Faridabad, a satellite city of Delhi located In the National Capital Region (NCR) of New Delhi. Just 25km from Delhi, volunteers are far enough away to enjoy a quieter setting (by Indian standards!) but close enough to absorb all the magic, mystery and mayhem that Delhi has to offer.
Faridabad is a comfortable, well-connected location to live and work in. There are a few tourist spots worth a visit such as: Baba Farid’s tomb (its believed Faridabad was named after him); Badhkal Lake and Raja Nahar Singh Palace. There are also some interesting temples and local parks for you to visit as well as markets and shopping malls, including a cinema if you fancy going to see some Bollywood flicks!
Our participants are situated in a great location to explore the local sites and also travel further afield.
Delhi is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and home to 25 million people. Despite this it is a relatively easy city to find your way around in and made infinitely easier by its gleaming, cheap and efficient metro. The city is split into two parts: Old Delhi, a 17th Century walled city with narrow alleys, constant traffic and main tourist sites and the spacious, planned areas of New Delhi.
Old Delhi is littered with the relics of lost empires such as the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort, a symbol of India, and the sprawling Jama Masjid mosque, the largest in India, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people! Nearby is Chandni Chowk, the main street of Old Delhi and a vibrant bazaar filled with food carts, sweets shops and spice stalls.
The magical allure of the Taj Mahal draws tourists to Agra like moths to a wondrous flame. Widely considered to be the most beautiful building in the world, despite the hype, it is every bit as good as you’ve heard.
The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. The death of Mumtaz left the emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned grey virtually overnight. Construction of the Taj began the following year but the whole complex was not completed until 1653, 22 years later. Not long after it was finished Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb and imprisoned in Agra Fort where, for the rest of his days, he could only gaze out at his creation through a window. Following his death in 1666, Shah Jahan was buried here alongside Mumtaz.
’JAIPUR - 'PINK CITY'
Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan is popularly known as the ‘Pink City’ for its trademark building colour in the wonderful old city. This buzzing metropolis is certainly a place of wild contrasts and is a feast for the eyes. Vegetable-laden camel carts thread their way through streets jam-packed with cars, cows, rickshaws, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians frantically dodging the incessant traffic!
On-arrival into Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (DEL) you will be met at arrivals by one of PMGY’s appointed and trusted drivers who will speak a decent level of English. They will be holding a PMGY sign. It is advised that volunteers purchase a PMGY volunteer t-shirt and wear it on their flight, as this makes it easier for us to identify you at the airport.
Once you’ve located the driver, they will introduce themselves to you and drive you straight to the Volunteer House where you will be staying. The journey takes around 1 to 1.5 hours. On-arrival at the Volunteer House, you will be met by one of our local coordinators and your fellow volunteers.
All volunteers live in a Volunteer House accommodation in Faridabad during their time on the programme. Volunteers are housed with a wonderful host family who coordinate our projects in India. The Volunteer House is large, clean, and has all essential facilities you need. Volunteers have their own separate living quarters, but still have regular interaction with our local coordinator and his family. This accommodation setup offers volunteers the unique experience of living with lots of other volunteers as well as getting the cultural immersion of staying with a host family. It really is the best of both worlds!
You will share a room with fellow volunteers (sometimes rooms are mixed gender). All bathrooms have western toilets and showers. Wi-Fi is available free of charge, although it is intermittent. There are facilities for volunteers to hand-wash and dry their clothes. A laundry service is also available for a nominal fee. You will find all the amenities you require such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks etc all within walking distance of the Volunteer House.
During the summer months, we run multiple Volunteer Houses as we receive a high number of volunteers during this period. All Volunteer Houses are of similar quality and are located within a short drive of each other. A member of the PMGY team will live at the house to support volunteers, prepare meals, and manage the upkeep of the house.
You will be provided with three meals a day. All meals are freshly prepared and made up of vegetarian ingredients. Furthermore, most meals are typical Indian dishes, although pasta and other such western dishes are prepared every now and then. If you are not a huge lover of spicy food don’t worry, there will always be a more mild option available!
Volunteers are advised to notify our local team if the food is not to their taste who will aim to adjust the food appropriately.
* Please inform us in your application if you have any specific dietary requirements.