Volunteer Training Programme in Ahmedabad – Joint Venture with Karuna Kare Foundation

One of the first ” workshops ” that found its way
into the agenda of support group meetings we organised for FOM was the
Volunteer Training  Workshop . This was as early as 2005

It stemmed from the fast forming core groups in mega cites
like Bangalore , Bombay, Delhi , Calcutta and Chennai and our not wanting to
let that enthusiasm die but harness all those positive energies and channelize
them towards productive action .

The first such programme was conducted in Bangalore, in 2005 /6
, where the group was already motivated by 
leaders who were eager to provide service in their community ; to give
back what they were receiving in terms of support and sustenance .

It was not long before each City Chapter , as they came to
be called, showed an interest in receiving training and we found ourselves
capable of providing the same in the form of day long workshops that consisted
of interactive workshop sessions .

Either they were incorporated into the support group
meetings or conducted separately , intense and focused with not more than 20
participants.

Soon , all the leaders in the major cities had attended at
least one such workshop and its benefits showed in the manner in which they
positioned themselves as volunteers ready to offer a variety of services to
other patients , newly diagnosed or otherwise and to caregivers, physicians and
their institutions and to other groups .

This encouraged us to offer this programme to newly formed
core groups in cites like Patna, Bhubaneswar , Poona and Indore where
fledgling groups began to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and the
other bigger groups . Their increased confidence levels were evident in the
manner in which they began working together and taking responsibility for
themselves and their flock so to say. 

In the beginning of this year, I found myself thinking of
two directions in which i hoped to take the Volunteer Training programme
ahead.  There was no doubting the important
role volunteers played in carrying outreach activities to the intended target
group . Identifying , training and retaining them was of utmost importance . It
was heartening to see trained city chapter leaders from all the previous
workshops having blossomed into volunteers par excellence and becoming active
role models to others. So it was obvious that the programme was a success.

My first plan was to begin to organise workshops for members
who had since joined the group and would be able lieutenants to the Senior
Group . The second was to see if I could offer the programme to other non
profits .

The workshop conducted last week in Ahmedabad was a
combination of both , a trail run to see how new and maybe primarily unlikely
candidates would respond to an intervention like this and equally important,
how members from another group would welcome a training programme conducted by
an outside agent .

The city chosen was Ahmedabad . Well, it chose itself
because the “other group ” The Karuna Kare Foundation was from
Ahmedabad and its founder, Usha Kant , FOM leader and incumbent Trustee agreed
to have his volunteers undergo the training . Besides that, after years of
trying to encourage the really reticent and private Ahmedabaadis, it seemed we
were finally seeing a handful of people from the region , willing to try and
form a core group .
So the date was set and the participant list a mesclada of
our survivors and care givers and volunteers from Karuna Kare , themselves
survivors , care givers and medical professionals . Yes the group was really
eclectic and that it self was a challenge .
But once the ice breaker was done with and the session went
underway it was almost like these two dozen individuals had known each other
for ever . They came together as a group of focused individuals , bonded by
their interest and experience and the need to channelise those very experiences
and energies in giving .
The group included breast cancer survivors from urban
Ahmedabad, Residents from a Dental College, staff of KKF , FOM volunteers from
the interiors of Gujarat – a computer technician , diamond cutter , home maker,
school teacher, artisan . The last group having made hours long journey to the
city to attend .
The day long workshop took the following course and at the
end the participants were encouraged to take part in one last session , that of
Role Play.

Frame Work – Outline

•            
Self Introduction

           
PROCESS

Simple informal introduction of coordinator with personal
background

•            
Introduction of participants 

 OBJECTIVE

 Ice breaker

 PROCESS

(Break participants into pairs and allow short interviews.
Then each person introduces the participant he / she has interviewed)

•            
Training Content

 PROCESS: Introduce content of training programme

 Share on PPT

o            
Understanding the goals of the Group

o            
Understanding the role of the Volunteer

o            
Why do we Volunteer

o            
Confidentiality Principles

o            
Coping with Cancer – Development of effective coping and communication skills

o            
Balancing volunteer life and personal life

o            
Identifying support available to the volunteer – care for the care giver

o            
Post training assignments

Breakaway Sessions

Group subdivided into three and given 30 mts to discuss a topic ( Reaction to Diagnosis, Communication Skills ,Why do you want to Volunteer)  and then share discussions with the whole group

 
The 15 minute skit had a recently diagnosed patient , a
close care giver and a volunteer enact the situations the patient and care
giver have to face immediately upon diagnosis .

It was obvious the group was taking home with them enough
information and thought provoking messages that would keep their enthusiasm
alive and encourage their participation in community and peer related
activities.

And as a little surprise gift , I took these beautiful people through the Power Point presentation on Maximo and the Big C – The story of the ultimate volunteer – they loved it and came up to say how inspired they were !! Since I did not have a copy of the book, it was a last minute addition to the agenda and seemed to be the best way to close the session .

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