Shanti Bhavan is a major education program in rural Tamil Nadu, India, exclusively for children born into the country's lowest social and economic class - the Dalit caste, formerly known as the "untouchables."
The project provides children with free, high-quality education at its residential school and then sends them to top-tier colleges, continuing to provide them with financial support, personal counseling and general care throughout. This is 17 years of intense intervention - from age 4 to 21.
By giving top-level, long-term education and guidance these children will go on to pursue professionals jobs and leadership opportunities in India and work to uplift their families and communities, permanently breaking the cycle of poverty.
Our mission is to end the extreme social discrimination and poverty that this segment of the population has been trapped in for generations.
Our success is unprecedented. All 12th grade graduates have received high-ranking scores on the India School Certificate exams (similar to the SATs) and all have been accepted into top-tier universities across India. Shanti Bhavan's college graduates have been hired by Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Ernst & Young, Mercedes Benz, Deloitte, and Yahoo. These are children who lived in huts with coconut-leaf roofs and who had no access to running water and basic sanitation.
Shanti Bhavan is the only school of its type and represents a radical change from the conventional short-term basic literacy model. We have been featured in the New York Times, BBC, ABC World News, and the documentary "The Backward Class". One of our girls was a winner of Glamour's 2014 "Woman of the Year" award.
You can watch Glamour's "Get Schooled" series on one of our girls here: http://video.glamour.com/watch/get-schooled-the-story-of-keerthi-from-india
You can watch the TEDx talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGk12Y3MRJo
You can find out more about us at www.shantibhavanonline.org
Volunteers are involved in teaching classes, helping with tutoring and extracurricular activities and mentoring students of all ages. Volunteers are needed to teach various academic subjects including: English/English Literature, Civics, History, Geography, Math, Sciences or Business (Accounting, Economics and Commerce). Responsibilities include teaching academic and/or non-academic subjects to children ages 4 -18 and taking part in other school activities. Volunteers have typically taught or assisted teachers in all of the usual academic subjects, as well as the arts, music, theater, dance, public speaking, and sports.
Each grade level has a set curriculum to follow, but volunteers are encouraged to use creative approaches and student engagement in their teaching. Ideas and approaches must, however, meet the approval of the principal. Global standards of education should be upheld and Shanti Bhavan mixes both Western and Indian cultural norms.
Volunteers will gain management, teaching, interpersonal and life-skills through their interaction with children and staff, while learning about Indian culture. They will also join a prestigious global network of over 500 former volunteers from all walks of life.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and must have a college degree or be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university or must have equivalent professional/life experience. We are not looking for volunteers to formulate policy or procedure but rather help in executing our mission as teachers, mentors and role-models to our children. Minimum duration for volunteer service is four weeks and maximum is one year.
All applicants go through two of interviews. Those accepted must take part in two trainings sessions, either in person or by Skype / phone, prior to volunteering at Shanti Bhavan and will be provided with supplemental training materials. Upon arrival, volunteers are provided orientation, further training, and guidance with subjects, lessons, and activity plans.
- Literacy / Reading
- Math / Science Instruction
- Teaching / Instruction
- Physical Education
- General Education
- Theater Arts
Good Match For
Requirements & Commitment
- Background Check
- Must be at least 18
- Orientation or Training
- 4 weeks - 1 year
- Applicants must have a college degree, be currently enrolled, have equivalent professional/life exp.