100% Yes! This is probably the question I get asked most frequently when I meet people who are interested in volunteering. Sure, skills like teaching and nursing are absolutely fantastic to have while in India and every year we have lots of incredibly talented teachers and nurses whose skills are very much needed by HOPE. However, every year we have absolutely AMAZING volunteers who have absolutely no background in education or healthcare yet they have brought so many other skills to the table. To show you we’re compiled a list below!
Ask any volunteer who has travelled to Kolkata with HOPE about the children and they will tell you how much they love to perform and boy are they talented! Acting, singing, dancing, playing music – they are interested in it all! Over the years we have had so many volunteers roll up their sleeves and organise plays, workshops, dance recitals, singing lessons and violin lessons – one volunteer even taught the children how to Irish dance! So whether you have a background in the performing arts or simply like to do it for fun in your spare time there are countless opportunities for you to really make your mark as a volunteer in Kolkata.
India as a country loves cricket! It’s probably not one of the most popular sports in Ireland but in India it is HUGE! The children, especially the boys in HOPE’s protection homes love anything and everything to do with sport. Volunteers with a coaching background or an interest in sport are therefore very popular in our projects and have been known to organise sports days and coaching lessons with the children and teenagers. Some of the children have even tried their hand at rugby and GAA!
Take it from me when I say that traditional Indian food is absolutely delicious. One of my favourite places to eat while I was volunteering in Kolkata was in HOPE’s very own Lifeskills café. This café doubles up as a hospitality training centre for young men and women. Everyday these men and women learn skills and gain experience which will eventually allow them to work in the hospitality industry. Many of our volunteers have put their skills in the kitchen and love of cooking to the test by giving cookery demonstrations to the trainees in our cafes and the results have been outstanding. The café now serves a mix of traditional Indian and Irish cuisine which has gone down well with visitors and locals alike! Indian Shephard’s pie anyone??
Basic technology skills are vital in today’s fast paced ever changing world, however these basic computer skills are out of reach for many of the people we support due to a lack of education and low literacy levels. With the help of our volunteers HOPE has set up a computer training programme where volunteers can share their experience and knowledge on a one to one basis so whether you’re a real whizz behind the computer or have simply mastered the basics , your experience will be put to great use in our centre!
There are also SO many other skills that are incredible useful in Kolkata and as part of HOPE’s volunteer programme we offer a one to one meeting with each volunteer to discuss their skills, interests and talents to find out what projects might suit them best – all prior to signing up on the programme . With over 72 projects in a variety of areas we promise that we will find one that is right for you!
To find out more about the type of work our volunteers undertake and a list of useful skills please visit http://www.hopefoundation.ie/get-involved/volunteer-with-hope/
Until next time,