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 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 Organisation of People for Engagement and Enterprise (OPEnE) firmly emphasises a holistic and integrated programmatic approach where it works on social and economic development alongside local communities and measures progress by outcomes rather than outputs. OPEnE’s overall mission is to empower communities through knowledge, skills, values and resource transfer, to work towards an equitable Sri Lanka in which natural, human and other resources are responsibly and sustainably managed so that all peoples may enjoy justice without poverty. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/OpeneHubEducation.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Assist with developing soft skills among children on topics such as leadership, communication, decision-making, self-motivation, teamwork, reactivity and problem solving, and time management skills development.
  • Facilitate the development of human values among children through qualities as respect, compassion, perseverance, courage, responsibility, solidarity, participation, trust, and integrity.
  • Develop case studies and reports for the outcomes of the soft skills development program, reflecting significant qualitative changes.
  • Dedicated and committed to creating learning and training programs and activities that go beyond one-time interaction and actually provide meaningful and lasting impact for these children.
  • Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.
  • Promote a greater educational awareness among students, parents and community, and promote effective outreach in the community and encourage children, youth and parents to actively participate in the program.
  • Assist with liaising with communities, relevant government authorities and other humanitarian/development agencies for effective collaboration.
  • Assist with formulating community service projects with children and other volunteers.
  • Assist with conducting sports, games and team-building activities, as well as promoting music, art and other handicraft skills.
  • Assist with the activities at the Hub centres including scheduling, developing timetables, and accurate record keeping.
  • Assist with motivating and arranging capacity building for volunteers, and supporting the recruitment of volunteers as needed.

Qualifications

  • Currently in or recently completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Education or related disciplines.
  • 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 English or related disciplines.
  • International teaching qualifications (TESOL, TEFL, CELTA).
  • Formal experience teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language.
  • Formal or informal 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 (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).