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, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations in Sri Lanka.

comdu.it is a Canadian network of diaspora changemakers interested in sustainable development of vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, 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.

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

The Church of the American Ceylon Mission focuses on early childhood education and nutrition, after school educational and leadership programs for children and youth, vocational training, women’s livelihoods, children’s homes, and a centre for children with mental disability. It has active projects and initiatives underway in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Amparai, and Nuwara Eliya.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Develop and run creative leadership programs for youth in rural areas.
  • Dedicated and committed to creating innovative programs that goes beyond a one-time interaction but actually provides meaningful and lasting impact for these youth.
  • Develop and implement leadership activities for rural youth that is culturally sensitive and applicable to their context so that they are encouraged to take charge of leading initiatives in their specific communities.
  • Train other teachers in the region on how to follow-up on this leadership program to ensure lasting development.
  • Adapt leadership program to needs and cultural sensitivities of local staff and children.

Qualifications

  • Currently in or recently completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Arts, Social Sciences, or related disciplines.
  • Excellent presentation, interpersonal, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • 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 Arts, Social Sciences, or related disciplines.
  • Formal experience in designing and delivering leadership training programs to children and young adults.
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered by comdu.it (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 and briefing upon arrival in-country.
  • 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 Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada between the ages of 18 – 30.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, police checks, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations) – approximately $1,750.