When people think of volunteering, they usually look for something in their vicinity, but we are very far away, in Bihar. So a special thank you for considering volunteering with us. If you haven’t already browsed our website please do, it will give you a better idea of what we do.
The Mosamat Budhiya Shiksha Nirman Sangathan (MBSNS), is a registered Trust, focusing on education, in a very broad sense and not just limited to formal institutional education.
Here are two ways you can pitch in:
One being wherever you are you can invite us to visit and talk to a group of people who would be interested in hearing about our story and work. We would appreciate if the group has atleast 20 or more people. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other ways you can contribute is by hosting crowdfunding campaigns for specific projects, collection drives (for say books or winter clothing or other needs), finding meaningful learning materials, sharing career or learning opportunities for our youth, designing curriculums etc.
Come spend time with us! Another way you can pitch in is by actually visiting us and volunteering your time, skills (art, music, research, crafts, dance, cooking etc) and resources (films, books, technology etc). If you choose this please keep the following things in mind:
Though every visit is meaningful and every exposure makes things better for us, it is equally true that we hope you will come for a minimum period of 1 week, which will give you the chance to understand our work. However, if you are coming to just visit us, please get in touch with us and we can figure out a mutually convenient time for your visit. To make any meaningful contribution to the ongoing work we feel you need more that one week and that the first week will get spent understanding the work and context. Once here the kinds of work you can involve yourself in:
- Do village stays with local saathis, and help engage with the local government school. On of our many areas of focus is to see better functioning government schools.
- Be part of youth camp, workshop or children’s club being organised in villages.
- Do children’s activities, or organise balmelas etc with children of our members such that children get exposure to new ideas, see learning as fun. We feel involving and exposing children to ideas of equality and justice from an early age, helps them understand the world around them better and also engages them in the sangathan.
- Support the work being done by a trust worker.
- Help document stories of our work.
We have found that volunteers who come in may find it odd that there is no 9 to 5 schedule in our work. We must understand that working in a rural setting we have to try and respect the rhythm of the local work and communities, therefore during peak agricultural seasons work slows down. The humid summer heat specially in the months of August and September, may make working in the afternoons a no-no 🙂 and things like these. And therefore there will be days when all we do is being at the centre, spending time cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, talking and discussing issues and doing general shramdaan at the centre, and all this is valuable work. In addition helping students study and maintain their schedules.
Most of us associated with the MBSNS, lead simple lives. In your village stays however, the homes you will stay in donot even have basic civic amenities like toilets, running water, electricity etc, please be prepared for this.
We also expect you to accept equality in lifestyle, and chores.
The following are a few standard instructions we would request you to keep in mind and follow:
- Kindly bring along your own bed sheets and other essentials like medicines, torch, odomos, water bottle etc. In case you are using sheets/pillows of the organisation you will need to wash and keep them back once you leave. Please also carry a single person mosquito net.
- Carry a small bag for your village stays, travelling light to the villages is a very good idea and much needed, because you will have to walk and take public transport and lugging a huge bag, VIP et al with wheels etc are a very bad idea.
- Wherever you stay please join in the cooking and cleaning. You can contribute by buying vegetables, cooking oil, rice or dal (other rations) and do try to take part in the cooking exercise. Washing your own utensils is a rule in the Trust. Cleaning common vessels and involving yourself with sweeping/cleaning of living and common spaces is much appreciated. In fact the household you live with may not encourage it but we highly recommend this as it helps you establish that all work is equally valuable, it takes the burden off women of the household because usually they do all these tasks, and it encourages our members to rethink their own behaviour where a male member may make no contribution to household chores and seeing you at it may help them rethink their own lifestyles and attitudes.
- At the centre, we try to do work collectively and do shramdaan, and we hope you will also help out in all the activities.
- Discipline in terms of time and participation in work will be required to be maintained.
- Do try to bear your own local travel costs but if you cannot afford it please let us know in advance, so we can take that into account.
- No alcohol is to be consumed during any part of your stay with us.
- No smoking at the centre, in office or during work, which includes your village stays. At least do not become a bad role model and smoke in public.
- We follow a dress code to make sure we do not offend local sensibilities. No shorts or revealing garments allowed either for men or women, because we live in the village amongst conservative communities.
Kindly confirm your dates with us, and remind us of your travel plans closer to your date of travel. Also, send us a contact number. Do call us at least a couple of days before you leave. Our numbers 9771950248 / 7283096612.
Please send us a confirmation on line through email about your arrival and other details, as well as text us on the numbers given above. We need to know the exact dates that you will be with us so that we can make arrangements accordingly. If you need a certificate please do draft the same, and get it signed before you leave the JJSS, this saves the hassle of posting later.
For any further information please write to us. Be sure to contact us before booking your tickets.
Some travel suggestions:
- If you coming from the North East, come to Katihar Junction (irctc code KIR).
- From Delhi, you can catch the Seemanchal express from anand vihar terminal to Araria Court station (irctc code ARQ) or get to katihar on some of the faster trains like Rajdhani.
- From Calcutta, there is a daily train to Katihar (Hate Bazare Exp), and tri-weekly to Araria Court (Kolkata JBN Exp)
- From Patna, there are several trains to Katihar, and overnight buses to Araria.
- The nearest airport for us is Bagdogra, Bengal. This airport is a 3 hour taxi ride and 6 hours by public transport.