Volunteer at VSPCA
Who is a Volunteer
A volunteer is anyone who, without compensation or expectation of compensation beyond reimbursement, performs a task at the direction of and on behalf of the society. A volunteer will be officially accepted and enrolled by the society prior to performance of the task.
Role of Volunteers
Volunteers are an integral part of our team and are essential in providing the best possible care for the animals taken in by the VSPCA. Volunteers work directly to improve the welfare and adoptability of shelter animals, help us inform people of the aims and the objectives of the Society, assist in fundraising initiatives, and promote responsible pet care in our community.
We have two basic volunteer programs.
This is a general volunteer program for those interested in gaining well-rounded experience at an NGO that runs one of the most accomplished animal shelters in India and is also engaged in various conservation and welfare activities, both locally and in surrounding areas.
This is a hands-on program geared towards veterinary professionals and veterinary science students. The volunteer will be working with our full-time vets, monitoring and caring for the animals at our shelter, as well as occasional SOS situations outside the shelter.
Below is a general summary of what you will be doing.
Based on your interests, skills, and experience, we will determine how you can best help us. General activities involve planning and implementing improvements to our programs, assisting with PR, and fundraising efforts. You will probably be corresponding with people at similar organizations around the world, allowing you to make multinational animal activist contacts. Sometimes, you will do various fieldwork activities, such as surveying locations for possible animal welfare violations or educational outreach. This is a great chance to learn about and participate in all the inner workings of an influential grassroots NGO, while experiencing a truly different world.
This is ideal for veterinary students and professionals who want to work with animals you may not have the chance to work with in your own country- cattle, monkeys, birds, tortoises, and whatever else comes our way! As the medical equipment and general conditions are not as good as in developed countries, this is a great opportunity to see a different side of veterinary science and improve your skills in ways you might not have expected. Those inexperienced in actual medical techniques will learn a lot, but you will also be able to help our licensed vets by sharing your knowledge of Western veterinary practice with them. Please click here see the other attachment about Tasks for veterinary volunteers to see a detailed description of specific tasks you will be performing.
Relationship with Staff
Volunteers and staff are considered partners in implementing the mission and programs of the VSPCA, with each having a complementary role to play. Volunteers enhance the work of staff. It is essential to the proper operation of this relationship that each partner understands and respects the needs and abilities of the other. The day-to- day management of the shelter centres is the responsibility of the manager, who directs all staff and program volunteers. Volunteers shall follow all protocols and direction as established by the manager or designate.
Rights of Volunteer
- To be treated as a co – worker.
- To be given a suitable assignment.
- To know as much about the organisation as possible.
- To receive training for the position.
- To have regular evaluations of their volunteer performance.
- To be given sound guidance and direction.
- To be given opportunities for promotion and a variety of experience.
- To be heard can be recognized.
Responsibilities of Volunteers
- To give as much notice as possible if they cannot make their volunteer commitment.
- To be on time and carryout duties promptly and reliably.
- To be willing to learn and participate in an in –depth orientation.
- To continue to learn on the job.
- To ask questions if they are unsure of anything.
- To have a clear understanding of the needs of the animals they are assisting.
- To use only humane handling and training techniques as directed by the VSPCA.
- To respect confidentiality and be loyal to the organization.
- To be sincere in their offer of service and believe in the value of the job to be done.
- To maintain the organizations dignity and integrity with the public.
- To accept the guidance and decisions of the manager/ volunteer coordinator.
- To develop strong working relationships with the staff and other volunteers.
- To follow the chain of command established at the branch.
VSPCA Health & Safety for volunteers
The volunteer's personal safety, as well as the safety of other volunteers, staff and the animals, is paramount when volunteering. There are many risks associated with the work that a volunteer does, but these will be minimized if the volunteer understands and follows the established safety procedures and the instructions of staff. Volunteers should take the following steps to minimize risks.
- Familiarize themselves with the staff and other volunteers on their shift.
- Only perform tasks they have been trained to do.
- Ask for assistance when needed.
- Avoid any interaction with animals in kennels/ cages designated " Staff only".
- Clean their hands frequently using antibacterial soap or the hand sanitizer found by sinks in every room. Wash hands after cleaning any animal or cage, after handling dirty laundry, before eating, before touching their mouth, and when leaving their shift.
- Wear closed – toed shoes, long pants, and t-shirts to prevent injury from scratches and bites. Bringing along a change of clothes and shoes is recommended.
- Stay home when they are ill.
- Inform a staff member immediately if they get scratched bitten or cut.
- Notify the manager or volunteer coordinator immediately if they become pregnant.
- Volunteers who are pregnant may require permission from a doctor to continue volunteering.
- Notify the manager or volunteer coordinator if they have a compromised immune system.
- Keep food and beverages in the lunchroom or designated volunteer area at the location and never consume anywhere else.
- Do not bring valuables into the facility.
- Immediately report any safety hazards to a VSPCA staff member.
- Never handle an animal without proper training. Ask staff to help if they feel uncomfortable handling an animal.
- Familiarize themselves with the emergency evacuation procedures and the location of the first aid kit and eye- wash stations.
Alcohol & Substance Use
The use, sale, transfer or possession of controlled substances, or alcohol, by volunteers creates a potential for harm for staff, volunteers, and the animal we care for and as such is contrary to policy and will subject a volunteer to discipline up to and including termination. Possession of such controlled substance is not permitted in any of our facilities. Coming to work while under the influence, or becoming under the influence while at work is contrary to this policy. The purchase or sale of a controlled substance while on our property is considered contrary to this policy.
- Desire: Interest in improving animal welfare . Love and compassion for all animals.
- Flexibility : we are developing our programs daily and often launch new ones so you should be able to adapt quickly and often juggle more than one project at once.
- Initiative: Your input about improvements and change will always be considered. If you think of a beneficial task of personal interest you may pursue and carry it out yourself.
- Travel Experience: Especially in foreign countries, to ease your adjustment to life here.
- Knowledge: Any experience you have studying or working in related fields will make your time here that much more fulfilling.
VSPCA is a 24/7 operation but volunteers may have Sundays off. The typical working day for volunteers is from 8.30 Am to 5.30 Pm, with a lunch break of 30 minutes.
Length of Program
The minimum time commitment is one month, but we welcome and encourage you to stay as long as you can.
A 100-dollar donation payable in advance. Another 200 dollar donation is required as a deposit for your time commitment with us. This would be returnable to you after the completion of your time period with us.
We will do everything we can to assist you in finding accommodations to fit your budget and will try to make your adjustment to living here as easy as possible.
Cost of Living in Vizag - (nickname for Visakhapatnam)
India is a very cheap place to live and your home currency should go a long way. The average prices below are in US dollars. Only 3 star hotels and above will ask you to pay in foreign currency but it's not necessary to do this anywhere.
Below are general price ranges and what to expect from them. Always ask to see a room first to check the air conditioning, water, cleanliness, etc. If you stay in a hotel for an extended period of time you can often bargain for a discount.
- Budget- $5-10 (fan, cold water, sometimes a TV)
- Mid-range - $15-25 (air-con, usually hot water, TV with multiple English channels, restaurant)
- Higher-end - $35 and up (all amenities and multiple restaurants)
- Beach - There is various hotels along the beach which vary in price and quality.
At bare minimum, three hearty meals a day would only set you back about 5 dollars total. To give more perspective, the most expensive food item on the menu at the restaurants in the high-end hotels is around 5 dollars.
Your usual mode of transportation will probably be an auto-rickshaw, which is like a fast golf cart. Fares are not set and bargaining before you get in the car is a must. The first amount the driver asks for will be double what an Indian would pay, but you should not pay more than 1 dollar to get anywhere within the city center. When you get to know your local drivers and use them every day, you should arrange a fixed rate.
Everything in India is at least 2 times cheaper than in Europe or the US.
Please get a tourist visa from an Indian Consulate General or Embassy in your country. Multiple-entry tourist visas are usually valid for 6 months, but some countries will issue longer ones upon request. Contact your local consulate for specific application procedures. Go to this link: http://thokalath.com/embassy/index.php to locate the offices in your country.
A travel health specialist is usually the most qualified person to give you current information relevant to your personal medical history. If you can, it is a good idea to visit one of these clinics before you leave.
- Vaccinations - Hepatitis A, typhoid, as well as keeping current on your boosters for polio and tetanus-diphtheria are the basic vaccinations recommended for all travelers.
- Medication - Most doctors will probably recommend taking malaria medication. There are many different kinds available, all with different potential side effects and dosages so decide with your doctor which is best for you. If you take prescription medication, be sure to bring enough to last the amount of time you expect to be abroad. Over-the-counter medicines are widely available in India but if you prefer certain brands from home, you may want to bring them.
- Insurance - All volunteers are required to have an insurance plan that covers them in India. Coverage for emergency evacuation and serious medical problems are the minimum. Medical treatment for minor injuries and illnesses is cheaper in India than in developed countries, so it's not necessary for your plan to cover every type of doctor's visit.
One online source of health insurance is: http://www.worldnomads.com
NOTE: If you have a guidebook with a health section for personal reference, remember that they usually mention every problem that has ever been reported by travelers. Don't let them get you paranoid! Issues related to the food and heat is by far the most common problems for travelers.
Visakhapatnam (VEE-SHAH-KAH-PAHT-NAHM), or "Vizag" (VY-ZAG) for short, is a coastal city with a population of around 1.5 million. It is also recognized as one of the fastest growing cities in Asia in terms of business and tourism. It has long beaches and a couple of very famous, religiously important temples. There are a few shopping malls and plans for a number of new entertainment complexes. There is a movie theater very close to the office, which shows a different English movie each week. Telugu is the native language of Andhra Pradesh state but most people are conversational in Hindi and/or English as well. There are many sanitary restaurants, including all the ones in the 3 star hotels, which serve good, cheap meals. Western food in Vizag is practically unavailable except for a few dishes at the nicer restaurants, but many places serve Chinese food. Most restaurants have a variety of vegetarian dishes, which will serve you well as most of the VSPCA staff avoids meat. Smoking and drinking in India are not quite taboo but both are restricted to certain types of restaurants and women don't do either except in the really big, liberal cities like Mumbai. Internet cafes are easy to find. English books are widely available.
India is huge and the weather varies greatly in different areas. Vizag is on the ocean so it's slightly cooler than other parts of the country. Winter is from November to February and the temperature is around 25-27 degrees Celsius (77-80 degrees Fahrenheit). In summer, which is from April to July, the temperature can get into the low 40's. The monsoon season begins at the end of July or beginning of August and ends right before winter.
What to Bring
It's best to bring light-colored clothing that's comfortable in hot weather. Most women in Vizag wear traditional Indian clothing and women travelers should wear modest clothing anyway, like ankle-length skirts. Pants for women are acceptable but sleeveless or low cut tops and shorts are not. Most men wear Western clothing. You will rarely see Indian men wearing shorts, although it's acceptable. Shoes or sandals that are easy to slip on and off are best because you have to remove you shoes to enter many offices - including ours - and many other kinds of rooms. If you're going to be here in the monsoon season you should bring a light waterproof windbreaker and/or a small collapsible umbrella. If you are planning on traveling around India and staying in budget rooms with no air conditioning, you might want to bring a mosquito net. Sunscreen and mosquito repellent with DEET (around 30%) are musts.