Structurally, ICYE is a federation of 45 National Committees worldwide, with a legacy that spans 60 years, providing young people an opportunity to acquire cultural, educational and international understanding through direct personal experiences and international volunteer service work.
At present over 2000 young men and women travel across the globe to accept the exciting opportunity and challenge of living in a different country and experiencing multifaceted lifestyles and cultures, under the exchange programme of the Federation of ICYE.
The program of ICYE seeks to strengthen one’s commitment to peace, justice, equality, international understanding and friendship. It equips and educates young people to be aware of the world and the needs of its inhabitants. It further gives one an insight to the common heritage of mankind.
The main activity is the long term Exchange programme and ICDE – India exchanges with Austria, Denmark, Finland , France, Germany , Iceland , Italy , Japan , New Zealand Sweden , Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America on a bilateral exchange programme.
The long term (12 months) programme year begins in August every year.
Do not hesitate to contact our Executive Director, Mr. Ravinder Singh and out going program coordinator Mr. Ramesh Deekonda for more information, we will be pleased to respond to you with all required details.
Wishing you the very best,
“Together for a better world”,
Kenya Diaries by Tenzin Tseten (South – South Programme India to Kenya)
Travelling to Kenya was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. So there I was with my friend, we made it to Kenya. I had pictured Kenya and Africa in general accordingly what I have been hearing. When we got there it was far different from what I had imagined. I guess I should have done my research because whatever I had imagined was purely a stereotypical and preconceptive notion of Africa. Kenya was much more than just Africa. It was vibrant with people of all kinds. The people I met were very warm and welcoming. No matter that it was an alien land to me I didn’t had any trouble because they made you feel at home. Six months flew by without a hitch. I found a new family and friends in people whom I came across. They all made my stay worthwhile. There is a filled heart when you are able to connect with people and help them in any way be it small or other. At the project I came across the different shades of everyday Kenya. The project involves working with the people living with HIV/AIDS especially young mothers and young people in the community..Theproject was located in Kayole, in the East land side of Nairobi city which is considered one of the backwards area in the city.Workingwith youths and young pregnant mothers in preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS and Sexual & Reproductive health concerns was a very interactive process because you have to work with them in their most intimate and personal choices. I met many young people struggling with their lives and yet working very hard without losing hopes. It teaches you something to see the reality beyond your eyes. Travelling across Kenya after you finish with your volunteering term I visited few places which were beautiful and very green. Each places had their diverse culture accordingly their tribe. As much as I like their foods I think I like their appetite more which I shared. We India and Kenya share a lot in common. If we go through histories I think both the country has crossed paths and so we find lot of similarities in each other be it food or culture or language as well.
It was great learning experience and exposure for me because I got the opportunity to be involved in many of the campaigns spearheaded by the organization I was volunteering with. These give you a window view into the whole process of how they carry out their projects and campaigns continuing to the process over again. The home visits I made with my co volunteer gave insights to the lives of Kenyan families especially single positive mothers who struggle and take care of their children. The staffs at the project bonds with you and also teach you through their experiences. Having an open mind and as well as heart can help you out a lot in interacting with people. You will be meeting a lot of different kinds of people and I mean that was one of the best of the time in the whole volunteer program because this a world we are in, all different yet coming together and be one. You make memories and you carry it with you.
By Priscilla Patsy ,Participant on ICYE South – South Programme India to Kenya
I am happy for making the right decision to volunteer through ICYE. I had always desired to volunteer in the African continent but due to various obstacles, I could not. And so to say I did not have the platform for such program until ICDE came to the rescue. When I decided to volunteer in Kenya, not everyone was pleased. All was disappointed because it was an African Nation. Still that negative deterrent did not stop me from what I wanted to do. And to add to their criticism, Ebola came in to the news. It also showed how bad we were in geography. They said I was making a suicidal journey going to this African Nation. I am glad I did. I met many volunteers from different country. They were young as 18! We shared our cultural views, talked about issues of our own countries. It helped me understand society from different angles. I feel like I know more about their countries though I have not been there physically.
Initially I was worried whether I will be able to blend in with the new culture, new working environment, and new people and yes, it goes on. From the day, I resided in Kenya and to be more specific, Umoja Innercore I never for once felt left out. When I started volunteering in Women Fighting AIDS, Kenya (WOFAK) the staffs were all co-operative and helpful. From sharing a cup of chai with the staffs and sharing jokes, a touch of professionalism and humane relationship has been retouch.
Kenya has helped me grow both professionally and personally. I came to understand myself. I started to discover my flaws and weakness. I developed a responsibility to serve humanity. Being a part of such cultural volunteer contributes to being a part of being a global citizen. Thank you ICDE, India and ICYE, Kenya.
By : Marcelle Britto ( Indian Participant)
After Finishing my Masters program and decided to spend a year in Europe doing voluntary service. We had heard of the ICYE organization from a friend of my mother’s and so, paid a visit to the very pleasant and well-informed director of ICYE.
Half an hour later, after a dialogue about what my current qualifications were, where I would like to go, and what kind of work I was interested in, the director showed me a detailed brochure which contained information about the many voluntary work programs in Switzerland and the lifestyle and culture of this European country.
I chose a program whose description sounded really interesting and which seemed to fit in with my recently earned Master’s degree and asked the director to confirm if there was room for a volunteer to work in that program for a year. I also inquired how much my exchange year in Switzerland would cost and was very pleased with the reasonable amount which would cover my travel there and back, transport, food and stay there) which the director quoted. I also learned from him, that I would receive a monthly income of 200 francs which I could use as pocket money.
The next day, I received a call from the Director telling me that the program that I had chosen had agreed to accept me as a volunteer. Everything from there on was smooth sailing. ICYE did everything for me. They arranged a host family for me, arranged for my work permit, arranged for me to have a bus and train pass which would take me from the village where I was to stay to Zurich where I was to work, and gave me information on how to get a residence permit when I arrived in Switzerland. They also booked my flight ticket, got my medical insurance (which was very cheap), advised me on what visa documents were required, got me my invitation letter from the Brockenhaus and finally, got me my visa. For a dreadfully lazy person like me, it was a blessing to have an organization so capable and efficient and I didn’t have to do any running after or follow ups..
My work week was a short one (four days only), in keeping with the laws governing voluntary service and exchange programs in Switzerland and gave me a lot of exposure as well as plenty of free time to relax, meet friends, and have fun in. I also had the last month of my exchange year to travel in, as per the rules governing the 12 month exchange programs
Culturally, this experience ranks as one of my best experiences ever. My year in Switzerland exposed me to some of the best of art, music, and architecture which Europe has to offer. It also enabled me to become fairly good in German and to have a basic knowledge of French and Italian (the other two languages spoken in Switzerland).
Safety-wise, Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world. There is an excellent network of trams, trains, and buses in which one can comfortably and safely criss-cross the country. Travelling alone at night is also extremely safe due to the very well-lit roads, the security cameras in all modes of transport and in all public places and the excellent and strong laws which mete out justice to offenders. For me, a woman who often travelled alone in Switzerland, this feeling of safety was a real blessing.
Professionally, this year has also been extremely beneficial, for it has given me a clear understanding of many different work cultures as I had the opportunity to work with people from different parts of Europe, exposed me to people from all over the world and taught me how to strike the balance required to get on with people from different cultures, different walks of life and who have ideas which differ from my own. I also picked up a number of foreign languages, another asset in today’s fast-moving global environment.
Today, I work for one of America’s biggest Multi-National Companies and have been in roles where I have worked with people from different parts of Asia, Europe and America. My understanding of different working styles, my ability to communicate in a language other than my mother tongue (English), my ability to work with and get along with people from all over the world has helped me considerably here.
Finally, my exchange year in Europe has taught me one of the greatest lessons needed to succeed in a global workplace and in life – to get along with people whose views, ideas and outlook are different than my own and to respect all, simply because we are all born human.