Conference, Volunteers

The Conference is Always with Us

Missing the conference? Or missed the conference? Never fear, dear friends, keeping up the energy of the conference and spreading it to volunteers across chapters and cells, is at your fingertips! Here is a brief recap of a few of the sessions along with ways to get /stay involved. Continue reading

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Tour, Volunteers

Columbus!

In honor of India’s Independence Day, the Indian Students’ Association gathered outside the student center, hoisted the flag, sang the anthem and shared thoughts fitting the occasion.  Not before some of us raised a spirited “Inqilab!  Zindabad!” and quietly made our way to the room where the Columbus chapter of AID was meeting.  
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Tour, Volunteers

London

It all started with the AID Calendar. AID London asked for 50 calendars, and I wrote to Rashmeeta asking if someone could collect the from Heathrow airport, as we were going to India via London. She wrote back asking if we could give a talk and help AID London reach out to the public. There had been quite a bit of volunteer turnover since we last met them in 2011, she explained, and they wanted to use this event to rebuild the chapter. She and Vamsi were as energetic as ever, or even more so. Best of all, they were now married, adding AID London to the ranks of chapters that boasted an AID Couple.

AID London Meeting4They worked hard to publicize the event, and got replies from 15 people saying that they would attend. When we walked into the Abbey Centre, a community centre attached to Westminster Abbey, we saw 25 people, and a few more walked in as we went along. People were quite interested and asked questions during and after, just as at any AID talk.  In fact, it all felt so familiar I wondered why we had doubted at all that people would be interested. Maybe it was the size and pace of London – would there be time and space for volunteering with AID?  But the people stayed well past the closure of the meeting and we could have easily continued longer, had the room been open. We hope to see this commitment continue as AID London serves as a channel for those who care about sustainable and just development in India to put their energies to good use.

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Exhortation, Tour, Volunteers

AID Connections 2

AID Connections 2

In visits to several AID  chapters we met people engaged in issues deeply connected to AID but not necessarily at the forefront of AID’s currently visible and audible activity.

In almost every chapter there is at least one volunteer who shows interest in working full time on the cause of sustainable development and social justice in with AID India or an AID Partner in India.  Some people choose to work on an agenda complementary to AID or through similar issues through alternate means. Either way, during the years that the volunteer is in the US, AID has the opportunity to help such volunteers better understand the synergy of sangharsh, nirman and seva in such a way that they can meaningfully utilize their talents.  In the case of those planning to move to full time community-based work, particularly in India and to help them plan their transition to grassroots community work
Irrespective of future plans to work in India, while in the US, there are volunteers in every chapter who want to connect deeply with project partners, understand the work and the issues people are dealing with on the ground level, and their connections to national and global policy. It takes time and courage to study and discuss these issues, confront their implications, apply them to our lives and engage with partners who are working from perspectives of sustainable development that take human rights, empowerment, social and environmental justice seriously. Why

AID must be a place that facilitates study and discussion of these issues. This will build our capacity to recognize and support high quality projects.  Such projects are often complex and we need to explain these in greater detail to convince people to support them, morally as well as financially.

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