Brief Description of Organisation
SLV.Global is a mental health organisation that has been sending students and graduates overseas since 2010. Our placements are designed to provide valuable work experience in the mental health sector as well as promoting positive mental health within the communities where we work.
To give you a bit more information about what our Mental Health Placements entail, we’ve compiled this list of frequently asked questions for parents and guardians. We’re always available to speak to you, but would prefer to liaise with the individual taking part in the placement to avoid any confusion and promote the clear communication, which is essential for anyone joining us on the team.
What will they be doing?
We’ve been working in India for the past nine years to promote positive mental health by bolstering the resources at various initiatives for people with additional needs and mental health concerns as well as teaching English to children and adults. Our aim is to promote positive mental health and boost confidence, self-esteem and improve key life skills for the service users we work with.
The first week of the placement is dedicated to increasing volunteers’ knowledge and confidence so they’re ready to plan and run effective activities at their projects. They will be given advice on how to work at various projects, from working with children, to working with people with specific needs and will be learning about Southern India’s culture and language.
From the second week onward, volunteers work at a minimum of six different weekly projects throughout the duration of their placement. These vary from psychiatric facilities to classrooms - our projects are as diverse as the service users themselves, who will be of various ages, abilities and backgrounds.
Where will they be working?
The work is concentrated in Mysore, in the Karnataka district of India. We have local support staff with the volunteers during projects throughout the working week and international staff residing with volunteers in their accommodation, which is provided by a local NGO. It’s important to us that our volunteers feel independent, but are supported throughout their placement.
Where will they be living?
During the working week (Monday - Friday) every volunteer resides at the residence of the NGO Organisation for the Development of People (ODP) with other volunteers. There are a maximum of three volunteers per room and all rooms are en suite. Everyone has their own single bed with space below for storage. It’s basic, but comfy and there is on-site security.
Volunteers find their own accommodation for Friday & Saturday nights, and this is an amazing chance to explore the island with other volunteers.
What's communication like?
Southern India, though still developing, is quite technologically advanced. Although there is no Wi-Fi in the homestay, 3G is widely available and fairly reliable. All volunteers will be required to purchase a local SIM card to keep in touch with the SLV.India team during their placement. Internet cafes are also readily available within the community, and volunteers will likely find Wi-Fi while travelling at weekends.
Is it safe?
Our volunteers’ safety is our top priority and we have excellent exit strategies in place should anything occur. We would never place our volunteers in a position where we felt their safety might be compromised. We also always recommend checking the Foreign Travel Office for the most up-to-date information about travel before the placement is set to begin.
Volunteers are never scheduled to travel alone during the week and should not be doing so at the weekend either. We are on the other end of the phone 24/7, should any incident occur and we will provide the best support we can. Volunteers have the numbers of all local police and are advised to be mindful of their surroundings, especially after dark.
Why does it cost to volunteer?
As much as we would love to provide participants with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience within global mental health and fully immerse themselves in a new, vibrant culture, free of charge - we can’t.
The fees cover the accommodation, food, training, support, and transport available to volunteers while on placement. We also feel it is important to financially support our local staff and professionals who deliver informative, interactive workshops to further initiate volunteers to mental health treatment abroad.
We believe in providing a safe, comfortable and ethical experience for volunteers. We are confident that the experience we provide, is second to none, but in order to provide what we do we need to fairly pay our team.
Can you visit?
Of course you can visit India while your loved one is on placement. However, please be advised that our volunteers are extremely busy during the week and cannot travel alone.
If you want to see your loved one, the best time to do this is at the weekend, and they will need to be home by 9:30pm on Sunday. This curfew is explicit, as are the reasons we don’t approve of volunteers travelling alone, so please respect these rules and help us by upholding them.
What if they get sick?
India’s hospitals and doctors are excellent. We always take ill volunteers to doctors who speak English, so we can easily communicate and get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Volunteers need to take out their own travel insurance for the duration of their placement to cover them should they injure themselves or become ill.
What support is available?
From the time they are picked up at the airport to the end of their placement we have a great support system in place. There are Coordinators and Supervisors who live with volunteers and provide day-to-day support. The permanent SLV.India team are also around to help volunteers to projects and get to grips with the culture. Management is always just a phone call away and the London office are also in contact throughout their placement.
What will they get?
This is very much about the volunteer. If they put everything in to their time with us they’ll get a greater understanding of cross-cultural relations, they’ll have gained valuable hands-on work experience in their chosen field of study, and they’ll have made new friends and lots of lifetime memories. They’ll also be awarded with a certificate of participation and a reference from us upon successful completion of their placement.
We deliver what we promise, but you don’t have to take our word for it - check out over 600 reviews on our Facebook page alone.
We have always welcomed our volunteers’ and participants’ feedback, which has allowed us to grow and improve over the years to help maintain and ensure our participants’ safety and optimise their experience. As such we are proud to have been rated among GoAbroad’s Top Volunteer Abroad Programs in 2017 and 2018.