Jharkhand onboards as Caritas Samaritans

Volunteering being the third strategic pillar for Caritas India it has been persistently developing the culture of volunteerism within the development programs. Volunteering is important not only for the impacts it makes in the lives of those less fortunate but the role it can play in making everybody more tolerant individuals and giving towards the global community. It is said that one should be willing to offer own time and expect nothing in return, but the truth is that volunteering will bring a world of rewards which one might never have expected. Engaging stakeholders from different communities to volunteer for the development of the society and creating changemakers have been the strategic focus of Caritas India. It understands volunteering as a powerful and practical way to reach out to the most marginalized sections and reduce poverty and inequality. It believes that it is only when people step forward – either as local or national citizens – the sustainable change happens.

Jharkhand is known for its waterfalls, the elegant Jain temples of Parasnath Hill and the elephants and tigers of Betla National Park. The state capital of Ranchi is a gateway to the park. It features the 17th-century Jagannath Temple, a Hindu shrine and the Jharkhand War Memorial. Tagore Hill is a monument honouring Nobel Prize-winning author Rabindranath Tagore. The state also suffers from what is sometimes termed a resource curse it accounts for more than 40% of the mineral resources of India, but 39.1% of its population is below the poverty line and 19.6% of children under five years of age are malnourished. The state is primarily rural, with only 24% of the population living in cities. Jharkhand is among the leading states in economic growth. In 2017-18, the GSDP growth rate of the state was at 10.22%.

Living in such paradoxical realities the young adults of the state took on board the volunteering journey of Caritas India as Caritas Samaritans. The two-day volunteer orientation program was conducted by Ms Jenny Joy, Officer – Volunteer Management. It focussed on orienting and motivating the participants towards the spirit of volunteering, while briefing them the benefits and rewards of volunteering for a social cause. She emphasised on developing one’s personality through this act of service, as a volunteer steps out of his/her comfort zone to accomplish the task undertaken. They were also oriented on the volunteering policy of Caritas India which comprised on the code of conduct and other norms relating to children, photography, communication a Caritas India volunteer is expected to adhere.

The second day was emphasising on practical training of volunteering. The volunteers were engaged with students of St Francis School, Samlong, Ranchi for tree plantation activity. Students of class 9 were engaged with 20 volunteers to conduct awareness on climate change and environment degradation. The volunteers facilitated the students to create a collage on varied topics related to environment degradation. The second batch of students from class 10 was engaged by volunteers for plantation of trees and fruit plants; 10 fruit plants and trees were planted jointly by the volunteers and school students. The training concluded with the volunteers preparing the action plan with respect to their dioceses.