Launch of the Volunteer Space in India, 3rd December 2013
launch The Volunteer Space in India
on the 3rd of December 2013 at the Alliance Française de Delhi
Skillshare International (India) Trust and France Volontaires launch The Volunteer Space in India on the 3rd of December 2013 at the Alliance Française de Delhi, in presence of Mr Jean-Marc Séré-Charlet, Minister Counsellor. The ceremony will be followed by the presentation of the Photo Exhibition "Volonteers in Solidarity" in the gardens of the Allicance Française.
The Volunteer Space in India
Over the period of years, volunteer action has been recognized and is at par with other interventions to bring forth positive social development. The Volunteer Space / Espace Volontariats is a natural progression and a product of this process. In India, under the collaboration of Skillshare International (India) Trust and France Volontaires, it envisages being both a physical and virtual space, which nurtures volunteerism and creates an interactive space for exchange and dialogue among practicing or potential volunteers.
Based in the centrally located and easily accessible area of Lajpat Nagar in the capital city of New Delhi, it aims to receive volunteers, provide them tools for navigating through the country and assist them, in various degrees, during their mission. At another level, it shall organize events on various themes, ranging from inter-cultural consensus-building to project management which shall equip volunteers with appropriate and functional skills, tools and techniques, besides facilitating formation of support groups and networks among volunteers from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
However, considering the vast size of the country, the physical space has certain limitations. Taking this into account, the virtual space shall complement the physical space by bringing together all the volunteers who are outside the physical ambit. It is envisaged to be singularly dedicated to volunteers’ needs - allowing interactions, learning and sharing valuable insights into India’s development concerns, information dissemination and continual questioning and debates on themes relevant to social development. Through blogs and social media, the work undertaken by volunteers is envisaged to be profiled and webcast to a significantly large global audience across several continents, making this “Space” a truly borderless one.
Significantly, this volunteer space has been formed under the joint aegis of two organizations which bring with them over sixty years of experience in harnessing volunteer missions for development and solidarity at a global level. On the one hand, France Volontaires has previous experience in creating volunteer spaces in other countries of West Africa such as Senegal, and Cameroon, Peru in South America and more recently in Asian countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Philippines. On the other hand, Skillshare brings expertise in working with grassroots organizations across India, partnering with more than 30 NGOs since 1984. Volunteering has been one of Skillshare’s core business since its origin during the First World War and volunteers have been major contributors in its development initiatives across Africa & Asia. In recent times Skillshare has also successfully implemented the International Citizenship Service Program under United Kingdom’s DFID (Department for International Development) where 38 British volunteers were placed with five partner NGOs across the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and New Delhi.
The objective of the volunteer space is to promote dialogue among all national and international actors - volunteers, Governments, non-government organizations, associations, etc. - which work in cooperation and development. Hence, this space requires the assistance and constant support of other volunteer-sending and/or receiving organizations to engage freely and participate in this knowledge-sharing process. It needs to be nurtured as a model of solidarity building for the overall well-being and growth of volunteers who continually prove to be the catalysts of social change. Additionally, it would also allow the organizations to network and advocate on common issues including policies that could have an impact on volunteering options. Good practices on volunteerism could be shared and information could be disseminated about NGOs which follow fair and transparent means. Hence, the Volunteer Space or Espace Volontariats shall utilize the untapped energies of volunteer action and supporting organizations to create a solidarity-based network that would benefit the citizens and the society at large.