Frequently Asked Questions
What do volunteers do during their time at Shanti Bhavan?
The primary need for volunteers at Shanti Bhavan is to serve as classroom teachers, and the large majority of time that volunteers spend on campus will be spent in an academic role. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, volunteers run extracurricular activities (such as debate, public speaking, and leadership club) for the students. Volunteers will also assist in a daily rotation of duties like running physical exercise classes and serving as classroom monitors during homework time. While on campus, volunteers are also asked to assist the On-Site Administrators with tasks crucial to the success of the school on the whole, ranging from social media management to sponsorship packet development.
Can I volunteer for less than four weeks?
We are not able to accept first-time volunteers who cannot commit to a minimum of four weeks on campus. Occasionally exceptions are made for returning volunteers to stay for a shorter time.
We ask that volunteers are on campus for a four week minimum for several reasons. Our primary concern is the children’s education. New volunteers must quickly transition to the school curriculum, learn the names of their students, and develop effective lesson plans. Constant turnover of volunteer teachers can disrupt the children’s education, and we need to minimize the potential for lost class time during this transition period for volunteers.
What are the dates of Shanti Bhavan’s academic year?
The 2017-2018 school year began on June 13th. Our first semester ends December 17th and the second semester begins on January 8th and runs through April 15th.
Each year, the school term begins in the second week of June and concludes in mid-April. There is a winter break from mid-December through the first week of January, and summer break runs from mid-April through the end of May. The school will be closed during these breaks, and volunteers will not be permitted to stay on campus.
What qualifications do I need to volunteer?
There are no mandatory qualifications to volunteer with Shanti Bhavan, and the school accepts volunteers from a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The primary thing we look for in applicants is previous experience working with children, ideally in an educational capacity, and a demonstrated understanding and commitment to the mission of the school. We also seek people who have experience working alongside and engaging with other cultures and/or past experience volunteering.
What language do I need to speak in order to volunteer?
Shanti Bhavan is an English medium school, so all classes take place in English. Volunteers should be fluent in speaking, reading, and writing English. Please make sure to submit all application materials in English, including recommendation letters.
What kinds of subjects do volunteers teach?
This can vary based upon the current teaching staff, but volunteers generally teach a mix of English Literature, Writing, Grammar, History, Civics, Economics, Commerce, Accounting, Basic Computer, Elementary Science, and Elementary Math.
Are there other positions available?
At this time we are only hiring for volunteer teachers. There are two 6-12 month staff positions for on-campus administrators that are hired annually beginning in June. This is an ideal position for those with significant experience working in education, human resources, nonprofit management and administration. Interested candidates should email [email protected] with their resume and cover letter for consideration.
How far in advance should I apply to volunteer?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. We recommend applying 6 months in advance. As summer is our most competitive season for volunteer placement, those interested in volunteering from June-August 2018 should complete an application by February 1st, 2017. If you have circumstances where you are unable to meet this deadline, please contact [email protected].
What is the cost of volunteering?
There is no cost for volunteering. All room and board is provided in exchange for your work as a teacher. This includes three vegetarian meals with snacks and tea daily, accommodations in a private room shared with one other volunteer, and transportation from the airport to campus. Any weekend travel and the cost of driving back to the airport at departure are the only expenses for volunteers.
What is the curriculum that I will be teaching to?
Shanti Bhavan uses the ICSE/ISC curriculum. It is one of the most prestigious curriculums taught in India. Students take national exams in 10th and 12th grade.
When will I know what I’m teaching?
Volunteers usually receive an email with what they are tentatively scheduled to teach one week before arriving on campus. Flexibility is needed as this can be subject to change during your time on campus.
What training will I receive to be the best teacher I can be?
Accepted volunteers go through two online training sessions led by qualified staff members. The trainings include practical information about teaching as well as details about life at the school.
Who should I ask to write my recommendation letter?
Ideally, we would like to hear insight from someone who can speak to your skills and abilities that would make you an effective volunteer. A supervisor would be the best option, but you are welcome to request a letter from anyone who might be able to highlight experiences you’ve had teaching, volunteering, or working with children.
How long do most volunteers stay on campus?
Volunteers typically stay on campus from one to three months. We do accept volunteers for time periods up to six months. If you’d like to volunteer for a full year, we’ll accept for a six month time period with the possibility of extending your time to full year.
At what time of the year does the school have the most need for volunteers?
There’s always a need for volunteers on campus, but we usually receive more applications for the summer months (June – August). We tend to have a higher need for volunteers from January through April and September through December each year.
Can I volunteer with my spouse/partner?
You can certainly volunteer with your partner, but we do ask for you to submit separate applications so that that Volunteer Services team can assess you each individually. Please make sure to note in the application that you are applying to volunteer together.
Can I bring my children with me when I volunteer?
Unfortunately, Shanti Bhavan is not equipped to offer childcare services for volunteers, and the school does not have capacity on campus to host non-volunteering guests for a substantial period of time. That being said, if your child is at least eighteen years old, you are welcome to apply to volunteer together. Please make sure to complete separate applications so that we may assess your experience and skills individually.
Is there an age range/limit for volunteers?
Shanti Bhavan volunteers must be at least eighteen years old.
How do I start the application process?
Visit our Volunteer Application page to complete the online application. Please note that you will need to upload a resume/CV and recommendation letter into the application before submitting. After you submit, our Volunteer Services team will review your application materials and reach out with the possibility of setting up interviews.
I won’t be able to volunteer, but I’d still like to be involved with the school. What can I do?
Shanti Bhavan is deeply appreciative of any support that you can provide the school. Some of the best ways to contribute include:
- Donate to Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project
- Share the Daughters of Destiny documentary with your friends and family
- Sponsor a student at the school
- Help Shanti Bhavan build its second school
- Support Shanti Bhavan by listing the school your charitable organization through Amazon Smile
- Read and recommend the book The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter – written by our former student Shilpa Raj – to your friends and family
- Follow and share the progress of our students by following us on social media: facebook at SBChildren, on instagram @shanti_bhavan and on twitter @shantibhavan