All of Tevel’s service learning programs begin with an orientation designed to prepare the participants for the volunteer experience and to put that experience in context. In the Exchange for Change program, the orientation is 3-5 days in Kathmandu and in the Tevel Fellowship, it is 3-4 weeks in Kathmandu before moving to the village.
Orientation content includes:
Nepal- its people, language and culture
In order to work with communities, it is critical that you understand their culture. Therefore our amazing Nepali staff teaches all volunteers a series of courses designed to give a basic understanding of their world.
Globalization and Jewish Values
We want the volunteer experience to affect you for the rest of your life. Therefore in the orientation, we put your experience in the context of the larger issues that are affecting both the marginalized Nepali communities as well as the entire world.
The educational experience continues throughout the program and will, of course, relate to the daily volunteer work of the participants. During the volunteering section of the program there are monthly weekend seminars.
Professional skills by Thematic group
All volunteers are assigned to a thematic group in one of five fields: agriculture, women’s empowerment, education, youth and media (only open in the Tevel Fellowship). In the orientation, the Tevel staff and outside lecturers will enhance your professional knowledge of the thematic field in which you will be working.
Guest lecturers give various additional courses in social and environmental justice, Judaism, philosophy, public policy, and more. These include well-know activists and scholars such Eran ben Yeminy, Dr. Sarale Shadmy Wortman, musician and psychotherapist Yehoshua Englemenan, author and human rights activist Yuval Elbashan and others.
Classes in Nepali language, society and politics are given by Tevel’s Nepali faculty. Similarly, a number of Nepali figures are guest lecturers during the orientation phase of the program; these include heads of important Nepali NGO’s, as well as journalists and politicians of the first rank.
Weekend seminars and continuing education during the volunteer period are led by Tevel staff members who are themselves graduates of the program. These staff members provide group and individual guidance during both the educational and volunteering phases of the program.
Lastly, we believe strongly that every participant has something to contribute to the group’s development. Therefore, we encourage participants themselves to prepare and teach classes and workshops during the orientation period, at weekend seminars, and in weekly study sessions.