Overview

There is growing interest amongst members of the Tamil diaspora in contributing their time and professional expertise in a meaningful manner to develop and empower vulnerable communities in war-affected, developing, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local community-based organisations in Sri Lanka. comdu.it is a growing global network of diaspora changemakers committed to the sustainable development of the traditional Tamil homelands in Sri Lanka. Since 2016, we have been committed to helping shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from sending remittance to building a knowledge economy instead.

Program Description

The Associateship program stream provides new and young professionals with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will pre-plan a project prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, do a high-intensity implementation over a specified period of time on the ground in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and continue evaluation upon their return to Canada.

Partner Description

Bridging Lanka bridges ethnic, religious and geographic divides through people-inspired action. It connects diaspora participants and locals in Sri Lanka. It harnesses the expertise and resources of one for the benefit of the other – through livelihood support for vulnerable groups, business sector development, environmental protection, urban planning, education, animal welfare and reconciliation projects. Bridging Lanka commenced its work in the Mannar District in 2010. The district needs help to recover from the devastation of conflict with genuine efforts to rebuild its economy and to uplift people’s living conditions. There is an urgent need to better promote and publicise many of Bridging Lanka’s important community initiatives – promotion of youth managed eco-tourism ventures,  donkey assisted therapy for children with disabilities, a widows’ catering service, rehabilitation of traditional water retention bodies (known as kulams) and a donkey clinic and education centre as an edu-tourism initiative to stimulate economic activity in a materially poor Hindu village. For more information, please visit www.bridginglanka.org.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Support and manage day-to-day operations of the café.
  • Train employees on drinks and food preparation.
  • Develop and curate a menu based on seasonality and customers’ preferences.
  • Train staff in preparing the full menu and the front of house staff in preparing beverages to the consistently high standard required.
  • Coordinate with vendors and order supplies, as needed (like takeaway cups, tea/coffee, milk and other ingredients)
  • Train lead staff on how to maintain an updated record of daily, weekly and monthly revenues and expenses.
  • Advise staff on the best ways to resolve issues with clients and deliver excellent customer service.
  • Train staff members on proper kitchen and food management, safe food handling, customer service, nutrition, and health and safety.
  • Work with staff and organizational team to develop a business plan for the café.

Qualifications

  • Currently in or recently completed a diploma in hospitality manager or related discipline
  • Knowledge of food preparation and menu composition
  • Minimum 3 years professional work experience within the hospitality sector
  • Excellent presentation, interpersonal, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Interpersonal skills, including open and honest communication, negotiation, and collaboration.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • Approaches challenges with curiosity, not judgement.
  • Strong personal initiative, resourcefulness and capacity to be self-motivated and also work as part of a team.  
  • Must be driven to improve the lives of marginalized people, and work with them to do so, in a way that is led by them, for them, and is sustainable and achieves their objectives.
  • Must be committed to equality, and by extension, open to learning about resilience, diversity and solidarity from the vulnerable communities they are working with.  
  • Must be able to lead by example by being open minded, humble, and embrace opportunities to grow personally.
  • Must have commitment to excellent customer service.

Preferred but not mandatory qualifications

  • Written proficiency in Tamil.
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Up to fifty per cent (50%) of all costs subsidized for successful applicants with demonstrated financial need.
  • Guidance with booking flights, obtaining visa, accommodations, etc.
  • Participation in pre-departure training where you will have the opportunity to learn about our work, gain practical skills for living and working in a lower middle-income country, and meet other volunteers.
  • In-country orientation upon arrival.
  • Potential tour and briefing of the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Support and guidance prior to departure and while on assignment in Sri Lanka.
  • Return debriefing after completion of assignment, including counselling support.
  • The opportunity of a lifetime to provide meaningful assistance to war-impacted communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, Germany or host country between the ages of 18 – 30.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, vulnerable sector checks, travel documentation).
  • Those applicants with demonstrated financial need must raise at least fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations). Other applicants must raise funds to cover 100% costs of their placement.
  • Please read our updated FAQs before applying!