Of voluntary work & cultural encounters

Volunteerism, living and working with people from different cultural backgrounds enabling mutual understanding and respect...the NGO Field Services and Inter-Cultural Learning (FSL) India was established to further these objectives.

The organisation acts as a support structure for other youth organisations by organising camps, meetings, workshops and coordinating long-term voluntary service. It has office branches at Bangalore, Chennai and Kundapur.

FSL-India coordinates with a large number of NGOs across India and also helps in coordinating the international exchange of volunteers and in supporting the volunteer movement in India.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, FSL Kundapur Centre Deputy Director Vanaja says, “We believe in giving an opportunity to every young person to make a difference in his or her life and in the lives of others.”

The objectives include promoting international understanding and cultural exchange, encouraging voluntary service as a means to promote peace, equality and democracy, supporting community development and bringing an intercultural dimension to the community projects, to help and conserve our nature and wild life, to bring global issues to local community and self awareness and personal development for the volunteers.

The unique project designed under various other programmes includes FSL India work camps that offer valuable opportunities for the volunteers to appreciate the values of life from different parts of world through cooperative operations and services. The programmes taken up by FSL-India includes environment education, sanitation related programmes, health programmes and so on.

Lisa from Germany, who is a volunteer for the community service programme of FSL-India, says she has gained a lot of experience by working for barely one-and-a-half months. Well-defined structural programmes helped us to understand the purpose of volunteerism. “I am associated with the eco club programmes in schools,” she adds.

Soki from Japan, who is involved in conservation of sea turtles as part of the environment project, says the traditions of Japan and India may vary, but there is a certain degree of similarities in the cultures of both the countries. India has unique culture, he added.
Another volunteer, Morten, narrates his experience during his visit to Kannada Kudrus (islets) to establish contact with the  communities that live in the Kudrus.

The trip was organised to study the living conditions of people living there. It makes us think about the living conditions of people with basic infrastructure, he adds. Niko who works for differently-abled children in the region stresses the need for greater focus on funds for the schools established for disabled children.