Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS). We hope you would have already gone through our website, which would have given you an idea of the kind of work we are involved with. The JJSS is a registered trade union, a non-party political effort to build a just and equitable society, it values collective mobilisation and uses laws and legislations, as tools to make the government respond to people’s needs.
If this work and profile of the organisation appeals to you and you decide to come, please keep the following things in mind:
There is a requirement that your period of stay is a minimum of 1 week. But if you intend to just visit us, we can discuss the best time based on mutual convenience. Having a period of one week allows you to settle down, understand rural Bihar and understand the context we work in and also gain a basic understanding of the organization and the work. The time you spend over and above this one week will help us use your skills and interests in helping better our work.
The kind of work you can involve yourself in
1. Do village stays with local saathis, understand rural life and help local communities in their struggles
2. Design for yourself a survey which would suit your interest and the need of the local community. We will help you with this.
3. Do children’s activities, or organise bal melas etc with children of our members such that children get exposure to new ideas, see learning as fun. We feel involving and exposing children to ideas of equality and justice from an early age helps them understand the world around them better and also engages them in the sangathan.
4. Support the work being done by a whole timer.
5. Help organise our files and documentation
To some extent, activities in the villages try to fit the rhythm of the people we work with, and therefore you may find that our work is slow during peak harvesting seasons, like dhankatni (harvesting period). But other than that, there is no set work on set days. A campaign or mobilisation usually generates a lot of work. There are days we are all running around and other days that are spent cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, talking and discussing issues and doing general shramdaan at the centre, and all this is valuable work.
Most saathis of the JJSS lead simple lives. We have a centre which is managed by saathis Rupa, Mithun and Abhimanyu, along with other residents. Within a few kilometres of the centre four saathis have their homes. On days when you are in town you will be accommodated at the centre or in the saathis residences. On other days you will just stay in the village, we will identify saathis who are active in the sangathan for you to stay with. In the time you spend with us please be prepared to stay without basic modern conveniences like toilets, electricity, tapped water etc. when you are in your village stays.We also expect you to accept equality in life style, and chores.
The JJSS is a workers organisation which is not project run or funded by any institution. It runs primarily on individual donations and membership fees, so your not putting a financial burden on the JJSS will be highly appreciated.
The following are a few standard instructions we would request you to keep in mind and follow
1. Kindly bring along your own bedsheets and other essentials like medicines, torch, odomos, water bottle etc. In case you are using sheets/pillows of the organisation you will need to wash and keep them back once you leave. Please also carry a single person mosquitoe net.
2. Carry a small bag for your village stays, padyatras etc, travelling light to the villages is a very good idea and much needed, because you will have to walk and take public transport and lugging a huge bag, VIP etal with wheels etc are a very bad idea.
3. Wherever you stay please join in the cooking and cleaning. You can contribute by buying vegetables, rice or dal (other rations) and do try to take part in the cooking exercise. Washing your own utensils is a rule in the sangathan. Cleaning common vessels and involving yourself with sweeping/cleaning of living and common spaces is much appreciated. Infact the household you live with may not encourage it but we highly recommend this as it helps you establish that all work is equally valuable, it takes burden off women of the household because usually they do all these tasks, and it encourages sangathan saathis to rethink their own behaviour where a male saathi may make no contribution to household chores and seeing you at it may help them rethink their own lifestyles and attitudes.
4. At the centre we try to do work collectively and do shramdaan, and we hope you will also help out in all the activities.
5. Discipline in terms of time and participation in work will be required to be maintained.
6. Do try to bear your own local travel costs but if you cannot afford it please let us know in advance, so we can take that into account.
7. No alcohol is to be consumed during any part of your stay with us.
8. No smoking at the centre, in office or during work, which includes your village stays. Atleast donot become a bad role model and smoke in public.
9. We follow a dress code to make sure we do not offend local sensibilities. No shorts or revealing garments allowed either for men or women, because we live in the village amongst conservative communities.
Planning your Travel
Kindly confirm your dates with us, and remind us of your travel plans closer to your date of travel. Also, send us a contact number. Do call us at least a couple of days before you leave. Our numbers are 9771950248/ 9973363664/ 9771899407.
Please send us a confirmation on line through email about your arrival and other details, as well as text us on the numbers given above. We need to know the exact dates that you will be with us so that we can make arrangements accordingly. If you need a certificate please do draft the same, and get it signed before you leave the JJSS, this saves the hassle of posting later. For any further information please write to us. Be sure to contact us before booking your tickets.
Some Travel Suggestions (By Train)
1. If you coming from the North East, come to Katihar Junction (IRCTC CODE KIR).
2. From Delhi, you can catch the Seemanchal express from Anand Vihar Terminal to Araria Court station (IRCTC CODE ARQ) or get to Katihar on some of the faster trains like Rajdhani
3. From Kolkata, there is a daily train to Katihar (Hate Bazare Exp), and tri-weekly to Araria Court (Kolkata JBN Exp).
4. From Patna, there are many trains to Katihar, and overnight buses to Araria.
(For the JJSS)