The exchange programme enlists participants/volunteers from ADBU and UCDVO and organises a one month programme in different villages around the campuses of Assam Don Bosco University. The programme envisages promoting understanding of multilateral issues at the global level, enhancing the competencies of the participants, and building skills and ability to work in close collaborative social, economic, political, and environmental and development concerns in the context of rapid globalization. The programme shall include academic engagements as well as field applications. It shall focus in promoting the spirit for appreciation of cultures among volunteers of participating nationalities; and shall above all promote the intellectual, social and psychological wellbeing of participants keeping the interests of the community of interventions. The objectives of the programme are:
- To channel the skills, energy and enthusiasm of university students into projects which enhance the development of marginalised and underprivileged communities.
- To create space and opportunity for university students from ADBU, India and University College Dublin (UCD) Ireland to share learning and experience in the areas of participatory community development and social outreach.
- To enhance intercultural awareness between students and communities for the purpose of increasing global solidarity and interconnectedness.
- To promote an attitude of appreciation for other cultures, practices, and traditions.
The first such exchange programme was conducted in 2014. Following a successful and meaningful experience from the pilot project of 2014, the International Student Volunteer Exchange Programme between ADBU and UCDVO 2014-2019 facilitated mobility of 97 Irish Volunteers (including those going to Ferrando Center), involvement of 80 Indian Students (MSW, ADBU), 13 Team Leaders/Coordinators (ADBU) in a numerous projects including cultural programmes.
ADBU also facilitated a physiotherapy related project with UCDVO and Ferrando Center for Hearing and Speech Impaired in Barapani. The two projects however are independent of each other except for facilitation of the invitation and visa letter.
The following were the interventions implemented during the programme:
- Renovation of 27 anganwadi centers including construction of toilets
- Publication of a book ‘Comics for Social Change’
- Three (3) drinking water projects (2 pumps and 1well)
- Installation of children play park (Jughdol)
- Performance of street plays (Guwahati and Shillong) on themes of social issues
- Performance of Flash Mobs (Guwahati and Shillong) on themes of social issues
- Organising Cultural Programmes in all the villages
- Organising games and sport for youth
- Organising language (English) classes for community women
- Adult literacy class for women in villages.
- Workshops – art can craft, health and hygiene, music,dance, drama, waste management, pickle making etc.
- Workshops for student volunteers – culture, community development, art and crafts, language, dance, music, etc.
The programme have contributed to the following outcome:
- Improved and Strengthened bonding and good will between ADBU and Communities (Azara since 2014 and Sonapur since 2015)
- Strengthening of bonding among community members
- English language enhancement among students and community women
- Strengthening science and maths understanding among the students
- Improved health outcomes due to drinking water project in villages of Ural Basti and Hathimurah
- Improved educative environment in anganwadi centers
- Enhanced positive attitude towards education and children among Anganwadi workers and helpers
- Awareness among various target populations (including general public) on issues of education, school dropout, domestic violence, alcoholism, drug/substance abuse, witch hunt etc…
- Attitudinal change among the volunteers towards meaning of development and community empowerment
- Cultivation and enhancement of spirit of appreciation of cultures (inter and multi) among the student volunteer participants.