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 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 for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped (ORHAN) provides a range of services to persons with 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

  • Prepare ORHAN’s staff to create frameworks of leadership development for rural youth in a culturally sensitive way that is applicable to their context, so youth may be encouraged to lead within their specific communities.
  • Provide training for ORHAN’s staff on implementing specific youth leadership initiatives.
  • Dedicated and committed to creating learning and training programs and activities that go beyond one-time interaction and actually provide meaningful content on theory and practical training in leadership.
  • Ensure that lessons are geared towards achieving appropriate outcomes that are beneficial to both ORHAN and local youth.
  • Train staff on how to follow-up on leadership programs to ensure lasting development.
  • Contribute to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.
  • Must be able to work collaboratively with local partner, students and translators for effective delivery of lessons.
  • Ensure a safe and effective learning environment.

Qualifications

  • Currently in or recently completed undergraduate degree or diploma in Education, English or related disciplines.
  • Formal or informal experience in designing and delivering leadership training programs to children and young adults.
  • 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.

Preferred but not mandatory qualifications

  • Currently in or recently completed graduate degree or postgraduate diploma in Education, English or related disciplines.
  • International teaching qualifications.
  • Formal experience teaching 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 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. Older applicants are also welcome.
  • 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).