Community Programme in India

Lucy Nolan (2018, Human, Social & Political Sciences), 2019 volunteer

This summer, I was offered the opportunity to live at Sangam, one of 5 Guiding centres, located in India. Sangam means to come together and is a place where guides from all over the world go to learn from each other and work together. Whilst I was there, I met women from Burundi, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Canada and more, and thus engaged in many cultural exchanges and enriching conversations. International Guiding works towards the goals of ending violence against women, promoting women’s leadership skills, and campaigning for education for all girls globally, and is primarily a movement run by and for girls and women. I was privileged enough to be part of this movement, by working locally in the city of Pune, with several of Sangam’s community partners.

My main placement was with an organisation called Tara Mobile Creche, working with migrant children up to 18 years of age whom, due to administrative failings, where unable to attend mainstream schools. I also worked with Spurel Foundation, an organisation set up by an inspiring woman to educate girls about menstrual hygiene, and Swatch, who try to find environmentally friendly solutions to problems in the community, from plastic bags to sewerage. From my time at Sangam, I not only learnt a great deal about Indian culture, but also about how to organise with those around you to achieve common goals. As I have learnt from my studies in politics, often the pathway to achieving goals are necessarily interrelated, from grappling for gender equality to working towards climate justice and seeing the intersections between these within a small community was illuminating. This trip taught me a great deal, and the lessons learnt will be carried with me into the future.