During the 2011 summer volunteer program, four projects were accomplished with SHELTER Home, an orphanage currently caring for 30 HIV positive children. First, two volunteers spent their weekends organizing and producing a dance and play for the children to perform at the end of the summer for the volunteers. Not only did the volunteers thoroughly enjoy the production, the children also enjoyed performing and gained knowledge about the performing arts as well as confidence. Two other volunteers organized a book drive with friends and family back home and raised enough money to buy over three hundred books and educational games for the children. They were also able to buy a bookcase for the children, since previously they had very few books and nowhere to store the new collection. One of the most creative and fun projects for the children that was done by a volunteer this past year was an art mural on an outside wall. Over several weekends, the volunteer visited SHELTER and, along with the children, designed a tree to paint on an outside wall that encompassed the children’s handprints. The children loved getting messy, as well as being able to leave their handprint somewhere. The final project that volunteers collaborated with SHELTER with this past year was a financial grant that allowed the orphanage to complete a medical room for the children. Two volunteers received experience writing, completing and enacting a grant for SHELTER, which gave them funds to complete a room where they will be able to provide basic medical care for the children in the future.
Zonta House is a community house designed to care for neglected women in the community that ranged from women infected with AIDS, or are have different forms of disabilities. At the safe community of Zonta the women receive care and learn skills such as weaving, sewing, and screen-printing. This summer, two side projects were conducted at the Zonta House. The first project was The Garden Project. On day one, the team, which included other IAPA volunteers and the women of Zonta, broke and tilled the ground so that it would be suitable to plant. The next day the women and volunteers planted various vegetables, which ranged from watermelons, vines, and other crops. Two other volunteers were involved in having a website created for the Women of Zonta. The creation of this website allows the Zonta House to gain funding through donations, and gives the women the opportunity to sell their handcrafted items online.
Two volunteers partnered with a new NGO called SAVE-Trust to provide information about health, hygiene, and HIV/AIDS to women living in the Otteri slum of Chennai. The IAPA team members developed a survey to determine the specific needs and challenges faced by the residents, and later used the responses as a guideline to develop a unique curriculum for the women in the Tamil language. The two volunteers planned a workshop to educate the women about the contents of the developed curriculum with the intent that the information would spread to the rest of the Otteri community. By providing relevant health information to women, this project sought to improve not only their lives, but also the health and well-being of the children and families the women support.