India - Dewas, Madhya Pradesh
India is the world's second-most populated country, largest democracy, and a hotspot of economic growth. As an ethnic, linguistic and religious melting pot and one of the world's oldest civilisations, India is a true patchwork of cultures. Madhya Pradesh, nicknamed the 'Heart of India', reflects this diversity in its age-old temples and extensive oral traditions.
However, its social situation still leaves room for improvement. In Switzerland, we enjoy the privilege of a free education system which gives everyone the same opportunities. It is a matter of course. In the region of Dewas, where we are sending our volunteers, a significant proportion of the population belongs to Scheduled Castes and Tribes (or Dalit), who are discriminated by the caste system. Moreover, about a quarter of the population cannot read. On top of that, it has been found that less than 10% of English teachers in the state of Madhya Pradesh have the preferred B2 level.
PIECES contributes to solving the third problem on this list - and we might indirectly be working towards alleviating the first two! We send a team of volunteers to teach English at various levels to children aged 5 to 15, and touch upon different topics, such as society, geography or sustainability. If you would like to help with this project, please volunteer with us or help us monetarily!
A practical approach to making a difference
By participating you are actually filling a need in the local community. You are not taking away opportunities from local teachers but enriching the local education environment by offering your time and your resources!
Volunteering for students
We adapted our volunteering offering to fit the busy schedule of students at the University of St. Gallen. Volunteering will take place during the semester break and will not extend further than one week into the next term. All projects have a duration of 3-4 weeks.
Additonally, Pieces covers the volunteers lodging and food costs for the duration of their stay.
As opposed to other volunteering platforms we are completely run by students on a voluntary basis. All funds we collect goes directly to our partner schools and to finance our organization. We DON'T give money to third parties but are directly in contact with our partnerschools.
Experience a new culture
Experience new food, new customs and meet new people. This is an incredible opportunity to leave your comfort zone and to truly commit to something you have never experienced before.
You will also be dealing with different important problems you might not have been confronted with before.
Before leaving for your project you will receive pedagogical training during our mandatory two day long bootcamp during which you will receive the tools required to communicate and teach in an effective manner.
24.10.2022-11/18.11.2022: Application Period for Volunteers
Upload your CV and a motivation letter (both in English) in ONE PDF-document, naming it “firstname.surname” (e.g. “frida.kahlo.pdf”). Introduce yourself in the motivation letter (1 page A4), and mention one or two preferences regarding the project destination, as well as why you are interested in going to these countries.
First application period: Ends on 11th November
Second application period: Ends on the 18th November
The two application periods help us to organize the interviews so we can ensure that you will have the best possible experience with PIECES and receive all necessary information on time.
24.10.2022-25.11.2022: Interviews of Volunteer Candidates
Your English level will be tested while we get get to know you. We will also assess if you are fit for teaching at one of our projects. The interviews will take place on a weekly basis. If you meet our internal application standards we will send you a selection of possible interview time slots from which you will be able to freely choose. The later you apply the less choices you will have so keep this in mind when applying at the end of our applicaiton period. The interviews will take place online (Zoom) or at the University of St. Gallen.
26.11.2022: Selection of the Volunteers
Volunteers will receive a confirmation e-mail with the final Board decision and respective details (including volunteering contract and further travel details).
The Volunteer Bootcamp will take place in person at the University of St. Gallen. During the duration of the bootcamp you will receive the tools required to effectively teach and communicate in a foreign environment. Former volunteers will also give you insights and personal advice for your specific project destination. You will also get the opportunity to meet your new volunteering team members. Attending the Bootcamp is mandatory for all prospective volunteers!
Dates of volunteering: between 4.02.2023 and 25.02.2023
Warning: Exact dates will be subject to change but will fall within the lecture-free period after the exams. We highly recommend that applicants keep the whole month of February open.
Questions and Answers
Q: Will I still be considered if I apply in the second application period? Should I apply before the first or second deadline?
This highly depends on the applicants of the first period. If we already were able to recruit our volunteers for our summer projects, we will not consider applicants in the second period. However, if we still need motivated volunteers, applications in the second period period will be considered. In any case, your chances to become a PIECES volunteer are higher if you apply during the first application period.
Q: Which expenses are covered by PIECES?
The organisation covers all expenses on-site, e.g. accommodation and food. Volunteers are expected to pay for their travel costs, i.e. airplane tickets, visa, etc.
What Our former Volunteers say
Jessica Raimann (Volunteer Summer 2019)
"This has been one of the most unique experiences that I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of! The Pieces team did an amazing job organizing the whole trip!"
We are organising the India - Dewas project for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and we are not yet confident that we will receive all the necessary information in time to go through with it this winter.
PIECES is not a travel agency. We do not engage in “voluntourism” but real volunteering, which requires volunteers to adapt to extremely precarious living conditions, discomfort, and enter foreign and sometimes hostile social environments dealing with serious issues. This is a risk of volunteering abroad and PIECES cannot issue any explicit safety guarantee or accept any kinds of liability. We are also not liable for organizing your trip and travel documentation – we are, of course, here to help, but you remain responsible.
While applying to one of our projects, you should keep in mind that you will be giving up many conveniences we are used to in Switzerland. While on the project site, you are likely to have limited access to hygiene appliances, medical help, electricity, and transportation. You will also work long teaching hours. Make sure you are able and willing to deal with these kind of problems if you apply for volunteering. It is an incredible, life-changing experience but it is not meant to be a holiday.