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Volunteer in India: Women Empowerment
A volunteer with local kids A volunteer with local kids

Volunteer in India: Women Empowerment

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Everyone was amazing

What I like most about the program was developing friendly relationships with the women who participated in the project, other project volunteers, and the project staff.

But I do want to share two thoughts that I had on the project itself: 1. The title of the project, "Women's Empowerment" - I think it is a bit misleading. While I do believe that educating women in a useful language (like English) is indeed empowering, I believe there should be more opportunities available to volunteers than just teaching English if Volunteering Journeys chooses to use the project title, "Women's Empowerment." From my understanding, women's empowerment means more than just language skills - it means building skills and knowledge in the areas of health and well-being, computer operations and word-processing, entrepreneurship, etc. While I understand that it takes resources to build programs that focus on these areas, I believe that volunteers are expecting to have the option to participate in these areas if you offer "Women's Empowerment" projects. Until those programs are established in your operations, I suggest re-naming the project to more accurately describe what volunteers actually do: Teaching Women's English Courses. 2. Student placement and related lesson plans - These are two areas that I feel could be improved in order to increase the value of the women's English courses for both the women and the volunteers. I think that I was lucky that the women in the morning class and in the afternoon class were grouped according to their level in English. This helped me plan and structure the day's lesson. However, I was concerned that women in lower levels would not have benefited from my lesson and that we would have no lower-level class to offer. I think to grow the project, you should offer a range of class levels. No matter the class level, consistent lesson structures and progressive lessons that build on previous lessons are best practices. While having volunteers teach about what they know is good in some ways, I think that this leaves the project vulnerable to redundant or repetitive lessons. Without some sense of how a lesson should be structured for the women to gain as much as possible from each lesson, volunteers (many without any teaching experience, like me) are left to their own devices, which could be unhelpful at best and even harmful at worst. I think it would be in everyone's best interest if you designed level-based curriculum with set and progressive lesson plans and structures. While I know this is a lot of work up front, you could always re-use the lesson plans with each new class.