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 community-based organizations in Sri Lanka.

comdu.it is a growing global 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. It currently operates in Canada and Germany.

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

The Organisation for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped (ORHAN) provides a range of services to persons of disabilities in the Vavuniya district of Sri Lanka. Its vision is “Equal rights and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities “through barrier free society. ORHAN’s work covers three thematics areas: daily living skills development for persons with disabilities, vocational training and inclusive sports for youth with disabilities, and health and self-advocacy programs. For more information, please visit www.orhansrilanka.org.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Provides individual and group counselling to survivors (especially young people) of war, conflict, torture as well as domestic and sexual abuse and assault.
  • Provides evidence-based counselling services to survivors and their families using a variety of treatment modalities.
  • Acts as an educational and supportive resource to staff and clients in areas of trauma and mental health.
  • Mentor and train counselling and social worker staff on providing appropriate mental health care for survivors of psychosocial trauma.
  • Prepare and implement staff development plans, and conduct theoretical and field training sessions.  
  • Research and produce relevant reports on providing mental health support to victims with psychosocial trauma in Sri Lanka.
  • Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.

Qualifications

  • Completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Psychology, Social Work, Social Services, or related disciplines, and certified counsellor.
  • Experience in providing counselling.
  • Experience in conducting training sessions for counsellors.
  • 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:

  • Completed graduate degree or post-graduate diploma in Psychology, Social Work, Social Services, or related disciplines. Certification in Trauma or Traumatology.
  • Direct trauma work with first responders, veterans or community work delivering trauma response.
  • Experience in providing counselling for disabled individuals and/or victims with psychosocial trauma.
  • Ability to clinically manage high-risk cases, including clients who are a threat to self or others.
  • 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 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 25 – 40.
  • 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).