There is growing interest amongst Canadians, and especially members of the Canadian 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 organizations in Sri Lanka.

comdu.it is a growing global network of diaspora change-makers interested in sustainable development of vulnerable communities in war-affected, developing, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Its mission is to help shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from remittance to knowledge-based economy. It currently operates in Canada and Germany.

The Right of Return program stream provides post-secondary students and recent graduates with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will be placed in children’s homes, vocational schools, and other appropriate institutions to volunteer their skills and time to help build capacity of local communities in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

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

  • Assist with the promotion of three ethical tourism projects: Donkey Clinic & Education Centre (DCEC), Donkey Assisted Therapy Centre (DATC), Kunchukulam Eco Tours, Kulam Rehabilitation and Manna Women’s Catering (MWC).
  • Design promotional material for tourists, visitors and supporters highlighting the services and facilities of these projects, as well as developing web graphics, illustrations, and other creative collateral.
  • Present creative product ideas, options and solutions that result in increased sales.
  • Lead various large design-related projects, from strategic planning and design to implementation and post-project analysis.
  • Evaluation of creative works to ensure that projects meet the requirements of the design brief and are completed on time.
  • Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/ considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.

Qualifications

  • Currently in or recently completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Graphic Design, Advertising, Marketing, or related disciplines.
  • Proficiency with industry standards production software, including Adobe Creative Suite   (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator) and Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Creative and strong typography and layout skills.
  • Excellent presentation, 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.

Preferred but not mandatory qualifications:

  • Currently in or recently completed graduate degree or postgraduate diploma in Graphic Design, Advertising, Marketing, or related disciplines.
  • Photography skills and experience is an asset.
  • Formal or informal experience teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language for Specific Purposes (tourism in this instance).
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodation).
  • Guidance with booking flights, obtaining visa, accommodations, etc.
  • Participation in pre-departure training where you will have the opportunity to learn about comdu.it’s 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 in Canada after completion of assignment.
  • 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 or Germany 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).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations).