This volunteer program, launched by Conscious Journeys, in collaboration with a cooperative partner of Altromercato and with the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, aims to promote a deep and immersive experience in the city of Kolkata, giving the opportunity to experience, with many other volunteers from all over the world, the deepest and most difficult aspects of this city. With this program you will live an experience “outside the common itineraries” having the opportunity not only to touch the culture and essence of the city, but to actively contribute by taking part in the work that has been carried out in these places for many years.
With this experience, you will be able to make your time, skills and knowledge available by choosing to work in two main areas:
Category: Volunteer program
Programs: – Assistance to the terminally ill – Crafts with deaf dumb craftsmen
Duration: 7 days
When to go: the best time to follow this program is from October to June
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN KOLKATA
Arrival at Kolkata International Airport and transfer to Ramkrishna Mission Institute guest House for check in. After a short rest, visit our office in Golpark for a small welcome followed by a quick briefing on volunteer service. . In the afternoon, after lunch, you will be guided on a tour of the city. Kolkata is the capital of the state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the main commercial, cultural and educational center of East India, and its port is the oldest in the country and the only river port. Kolkata was the capital during British colonialism, for this reason preserves in many buildings the architectural style of that period, which contrasts sharply with the degradation of some urban areas and with the more recent and dynamic suburbs and with the inevitable air-conditioned shopping centers… You will visit the Indian Museum, Victoria Memorial Hall, St. John’s Church, and Kali Temple and will be show the best way to use local transport to reach your volunteer center for the following days. Overnight at the Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture. (L, D)
DAY 2 – 8: VOLUNTEER SERVICE
In these days you will start your work at one of the two selected centers. The shifts and schedules will be shown to you at the time of registration. If you choose to work at Silence workshop you will work on 2 shifts: morning and afternoon and lunch with the artisans. If you choose to volunteer in Nirmal Hrday house, there will only be morning shift (four or six hours). Overnight at the Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture. (B, L, D)
DAY 9: LAST DAY IN KOLKATA
Last day in Kolkata. Free day for shopping and to visit the city independently. Overnight at the Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture. (B, L, D)
DAY 10: DEPARTURE FROM KOLKATA
Transfer to The Airport and departure by international flight.
For this experience we have chosen a cooperative which has as its objective the economic and social rehabilitation of disadvantaged people. You will have the possibility to work with deaf dumb artisans in the workshop, helping them in their daily activities (creation of small pieces of craftmanship) and work in the cooperative’s retail outlet and showroom. You can also contribute sharing your creative skills to help artisans improve the quality and design of their products, or share your ideas for new creations.
The institute aims to train the deaf dumb and disabled through professional courses recognized by the Government. It helps them lead an independent life. He guides these people in making decorative pieces and teaches them how to run small businesses. The main aim of the organization is the social and economic rehabilitation of physically disabled people. It is a self-help project for those who can neither speak nor hear, but aspire to self-sufficiency.
Location: Silence cooperative, Kolkata
Responsibilities: By choosing to volunteer at the Silence cooperative, you will give your contribution in many activities, including:
Required skills: You need to have creative skills on handicrafts production and/or designing skills as to improve the design quality of the products. If you passionate about design, craft or painting it is the right place for you. Most of the items are sold into the Western market of fair-trade network so you are expected to contribute to improve the design of the production as to be more suitable for western taste and clients. Basic Knowledge of spoken English is essential and knowledge of sign language skills will be appreciated.
This activity will take place at the Nirmal Hriday (Home for the dying) of the Missionaries of Charity. This is the first house founded in 1952 by Mother Teresa to welcome and take care of the dying abandoned on the streets of the Bengali metropolis. Currently it is home to 110 dying, suffering from various terminal illnesses like AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis. The house also is also home to many sick people who were abandoned on the streets.
Here you will have the opportunity to give your contribution by assisting these people, making available your practical, professional and personal knowledge. You will live living a unique and touching experience with the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa and other volunteers from all over the world. By choosing this volunteer program, you will have the rare opportunity to join in an immersive journey in the city of Kolkata and at the same time a deep spiritual and introspective journey, exploring the delicate theme of Death.
Location: Nirmal Hriday, Kalighat Kolkata
Responsibilities: Volunteers serve in this home doing whatever is needed, including:
Required skills: No special skills are needed to take part of this volunteering program. However, you need to have a knowledge of spoken English as to communicate with others. An ability to embrace the mission, commitment to working as part of a group and openness to learning and to growing in selfless service are necessary.
We suggest to have a bag or backpack large enough to be able to take everything you need, including water, with you. You will be asked not to use your mobile phone and not to take photographs – permission to take some of them may in some cases be granted during the last day of service – but only as a personal memory and not for publication on social media or any other website.
It is essential to have comfortable and respectful clothing. For women: skirts/dresses up to the knee or trousers, no low-cut dresses and shirts must have sleeves (even short). Clothing that is too tight is not recommended, as it may limit movement during physical work. India’s time zone is GMT/UTC +5.30, so chances of jet lag cannot be ignored. It is advised that you get onto India’s time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep on Indian time. Also, if you reach India early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset. A conscious approach to travel requires a considerable capacity and willingness to adapt and adjust to the local environment and culture. If you wish to travel with us we request you to be open enough to experience local culture, religious and traditions without bias and pre-conceived ideas you might have before the departure and which belong to our Western cultural way of thinking. Exploring with fresh eyes, with patience and openness, you will be able to access the real essence of Indian cultural heritage through the places and people you are going to meet; if you are ready to do this effort you will really enjoy the beauty of a completely different cultural tradition, habits and environment.