My name is Priya. I am the co-founder of this Education and Welfare Society. We run a school for tribal children in Mohgaon block of Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh. Both of us were earlier working with a large non-profit active in 7 states of India. We worked in spheres of youth employability and were focused on mobilizing youth and providing them an orientation training and then placing them in jobs in cities. In the course of this work, we realized that the actual gaps were much more fundamental and basic – the entire skilling and vocational training sector was actually doing band aid work. Many of these youth would invariably return to their villages, since they were unable to learn on the job or had aspirations that were incompatible with their ability. We therefore, turned their attention to education and specifically schooling that crystallized into this school.
Our school started in June 2016 with 90 children from 3.5 years to 9 years of age – we have classes but the system with respect to learning is flexible. Many of the children are first generation learners and almost all of them travel a distance of 8-10 km everyday to come to school. Based on our work in the last 3 years, we identified the cultural capital of the children here. We realized that children from the Gond and Baiga tribes that are the majority here are very good at sports and making things with their hands. In fact, they help their families in constructing their own mud houses!
We have two programs other than the school that work on this cultural capital: a very vibrant sports program that we conduct in the villages and a robotics program to teach tribal children to solve problems using robotics and AI.
Help with Computers / internet
Mandla district of MP is a forest area inhabited by Gond and Baiga tribes. There is much to learn by studying their culture and customs. In addition, India's premier tiger reserve, Kanha is just 70 km away from the school. The program is likely to sensitize volunteers to the lives of tribal communities that we work in, their daily routines and provide them an opportunity to participate in a tribal wedding or help maneuver a particular kind of boat that people in these parts use or bathe in the river. For a student of social development and anthropology, there is much to learn. Verrier Elwin, the famous anthropologist has written several books about Mandla and the neighboring district, Dindori.
We are looking for long-term volunteers (at least 3 months) to work on any of the below areas:
1. Teaching Music in School
2. Teaching English
3. Documentation of Robotics Program Processes
4. Social Media
In addition, we are also beginning the construction process for school on a 3.2 acre land that we acquired last year. The entire construction will be based on earth-based techniques and will be a great opportunity for anybody interested in sustainable architecture.
Single room with attached toilet. In some cases, the toilet may be outside the room but it will be a pucca structure.
In their time off, volunteers can go for short trips and hikes in the nearby villages. They can go stay in village homes and get a taste of rural life and food. Local sights include Kanha Tiger Reserve, several forts and ruins from the Gond empire, several ghats of the Narmada River, the origin of the Narmada river, etc. There are private buses that ply regularly and can be used to travel around. We will also be happy to assist at times with travel. One of us is always in Mohgaon so we will be happy to assist with whatever is required. While you get most things in Mandla, for a few things (such as to watch a Hindi movie) you may need to go to Jabalpur, a city almost 3 hours away by road.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.