Thank you for volunteering with us! We are so happy to have you onboard.
Most of our centers work with children who have special needs. Respect, sensitivity and confidentiality are the key points to remember when you volunteer in any of our projects.
- None of our children have labels. There are no “Downs kids” or “CP cases.” They all have wonderful names and they love to be called by them. (Many will correct you if you mispronounce them!)
- Do not point at individual children or ask about their condition or behavior in in public. You can ask about the child’s specific disability outside the classroom, in private with the class teacher.
- In case you meet a parent, please don’t ask for personal details about the child. If they offer information on their own, that’s fine.
- Violence of any kind is strictly forbidden at the Foundation. This includes raising your voice, making a threatening gesture, laughing at a child or hurting them in any way. Our staff is trained in a loving, non-threatening approach to behavior difficulties which we would be happy to share with you.
- Though you are free to take photographs and videos of children, staff and parents, you must have written permission before you use the same online or in print. Some parents have asked that their children not be photographed at all. Check with the class teacher first.
- Before you lift, carry or assist a child, consult the class teacher or the physiotherapist.
- Don’t make false promises to the children. Kids need to know the truth – it helps them build trust. If you won’t be coming back after a certain day, don’t tell the children you will, even though they might be sad about your going. Most of our children – even those who communicate non-verbally, understand when you explain clearly.
- Every child has an Individual Education Program (IEP). Watch and see how the same material is taught in very different ways depending on the child’s ability to understand.
Most of our teachers understand basic English and several are fluent. Don’t worry about not knowing Hindi! Volunteers almost always pick up a few basic words while with us and many achieve quite impressive mastery. They say Karuna Vihar is a great place to learn because the teachers speak slowly and concretely, they use sign language to reinforce their words and they repeat things over and over!