AFS India | Annual report 2020-21

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years of making a difference! ANNUAL REPORT August 2020 - July 2021 #AFSINDIA INDIA.AFS.ORG

Contents Program Numbers Message from the Board Chair From Director’s Desk Volunteers In Action Alumni Engagement Sponsored Sending Programs Sending Programs Sponsored Hosting Programs Hosting Programs Virtual Education Programs AFS Member Schools Engagement Fundraising Orientation & Training Partnerships & Collaborations

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 7 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 15 Page 16 Page 20 Page 22 Page 24

Program Numbers from 2020 to 2021


Participants went abroad for semester Programs



Participant went on Year Long Program

Participants hosted through Virtual Programs

students were part of the Effect+ Virtual Workshops to advance UN SDGs and intercultural competencies in



56 4 5 60+



2 1

students were enrolled in GCC One for All Initiative

Participants hosted in India on AFS Year Program from Partner Country

690 27




Virtual events were organized by AFS India

592+ 32

Educators participated in the Virtual Pathway Training in Member Schools

51 51

Member Schools

Registered volunteers present in

Chapter or cities

presentations given to students of schools to promote the mission of AFS India and promote AFS Programs


students participated in the Global You Adventurer Program


students participated in the Global You Changemaker Program

students participated in GCC 2.0 Teens for students under 18 Year


students participated in the GCC 2.0 Abroad Program


educators participated in GCC 2.0 at Home for Educators Program

Individuals participated in GCC 2.0 at Work Program


individuals participated in the GCC Qualified Facilitators

presentations given to educators of

schools to promote the mission of AFS India and promote AFS Programs

Alumni participated in Do Your Bit 2.0 Project which produced 28 project proposals from students and Participants in the Mega Consortium

13 300+

Alumni participated in Building Culture of Women Empowerment that impacted female individuals pan India

Alumni were awarded the Internship Opportunity at AFS India National Office

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20 1500+


Alumni participated in Youth for Global Empathy project and sensitized teen pan India

Alumni participated in Change for Good 2021 Project to design Community Service Projects

Message From the Board Chair Resilience in Difficult Times If the Corona Virus Pandemic had taught

us anything, it is Resilience in difficult times. We have learned to adjust and adapt to very different and difficult circumstances. We learned that “Less is More”. We learned to manage to cook with whatever ingredients we had at home or that we were still alive without going out to eat. We learned that family and friends were just as beautiful virtual as they are physical, and that virtual hugs and flying kisses are just as meaningful and emotion-filled as the real thing. We learned to admire and appreciate the little glimpses of nature that we got from our balcony or from our kitchen window. We learned that spot jogging and yoga/meditation can see us through some very hard days. We learned different ways of staying in touch with each other and came up with exciting activities to be enjoyed online together. We learned more technology in one year than we ever have in our lifetime.

Angela Roye Board Chairperson

But through all these roller coaster rides of emotions, we learned that we can bounce back with greater joy to prove our resilience in difficult times. We also witnessed love, care and empathy in the truest forms and learned that even the smallest person can bring about a change.

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From Director’s Desk Dear AFS Family, Humans are resilient creatures who will always find a way to solve a problem. This, I believe has been demonstrated yet again in the current circumstances. We have shown that if we are determined, have a goal, and believe in the mission, nothing can stop us. 2020-21 has been a challenging year for AFS India as well, and while we have been pushed many times, we have always found the courage and determination to return and ensure that we continue with our programs so that our students can continue their path of global citizenship. Our volunteers and schools were strong partners who demonstrated that nothing could stop them from achieving their goals.

What comes next – 2021-22 are years in which we must continue to consolidate and return to our 2019 status in terms of programs, fundraising, and new diverse programs. We must continue forward. The lessons from 2020 and previous experience have shown that the hybrid model works, that we can raise funds, and that we must be creative to maintain the growth trajectory.

When our office closed on March 18, 2020, we had to start working from home, and in one week we had to send students back to their homes while also ensuring that our Indian students return back from the hosted countries. It was a herculean task that could have intimidated anyone – but the National Office team, our volunteers, and our schools banded together and formed such a force that I am happy to report that all the host students left safely, and we were able to safely return all our students. Each student was supported 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in this journey.

As National Director, I am extremely proud of my incredible volunteers, schools, and team who have ensured that we continue to shine and rise to the top. I am honored to be a part of this incredible group, and I am confident that when we all work together, we will always be able to face any challenge that comes our way. A special thanks to our AFS partners, AFS International, who supported AFS India and helped us achieve our goals.

The next challenge was figuring out how to keep our programs running while still working from home and with the country in lockdown. Our online programs were developed for our students, schools, and volunteers. Our strategy was "find solutions, adapt to new challenges, and never give up no matter what."

Finally, I believe that "you must do the things you think you cannot do” by Elenaor Roosevelt" and that "nothing is impossible," as it is written (I am possible)

Divya Arora National Director Page 3

VOLUNTEERS IN ACTION AFS India expresses the heartfelt gratitude to our amazing volunteers and we recognize their commitment that has alllowed us to continue operating throughout the pandemic without interruption. 1. COVID Relief Community Service by Rajkot Chapter 2. Thanking letters to the doctors on Doctor’s Day by Mumbai Chapter 3. Covid Vaccination Awareness Campaign by Delhi Chapter 4. Green Thumbs, A step towards Gardening on World Environment Day by Bangalore Chapter 5. COVID Relief Community Service by Anand Chapter 6. COVID Relief Community Service by Ahmedabad Chapter

Clothes Drive | Pune Chapter Through the month of January, on the occasion of Republic Day, AFS Pune Chapter helped out our fellow Indians in need, by donating our clothes. The drive lasted 22 days, from 9th to 30th January, 2021. A total of 1170 items were collected. Collected Clothes were donated to Share With India, an Alandi based Organisation, which serves 150-180 people. Four Volunteers - Santosh Bhujbal, Sayali Rajpathak, Yashodhan Shende, and Vaishnavi Mane offered their houses as collection/drop-off centres for the drive. All clothes collected were appropriately checked and sorted. On 31st January 2021, all collected clothes were dropped off at Share With India's Centre in Guruwar Peth, Pune (Amruta Tai's House). Safe to say, the Drive was a huge success! Hoping for more such projects in the future.

Pune Chapter Highlight

We, as a chapter, look forward to being the changemakers with creativity as our soul strength. I thank AFS India for being the source of constant motivation.” -AFS Volunteer

Cultural Grip Over Virtual Trip A Pathway Towards Building a Global World


Cultural Grip over Virtual trip is a concept designed to engage volunteers in cultural learning through virtual platforms with different countries. This has been a great opportunity to reconnect and learn aspects of culture which one might have missed during the exchange or areas & cultures where the volunteer wishes to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding.

#SaturdaySurprise, earlier called #MondayMagic, is a day of engagement that is facilitated by the volunteer for the volunteer. Every Saturday of the week, the AFS India family have had a 30-45 minutes engagement activity facilitated by any or one of our volunteers on themes such as cooking, do-it-yourself activities, yoga, language teaching, meditation, health, mental health awareness etc. AFS family members have come together to share their skills, talents, expertise, etc. We’re thankful to everyone for committing themselves to creating a learning environment for everyone. Total 21 sessions were conducted with remarkable participation of 300+ volunteers on topics like True Health, Medical Plants and Home Remedies, Communication Skills, Me and My Emotions, Bird Watching, among others.

From August 2020 to July 2021 Cultural Grip Over Virtual Trip took place between: 1. Mumbai and Malaysia I 22nd Aug, 5th and 12th Sep 2020 2. Karaikudi and Sri Lanka I 4th October and 1st November 2020 3. Delhi and Latvia I 22nd and 29th November 2020 4. Gandhinagar and Philippines I 13th and 20th December 2020 5. Ahmedabad and Italy I 21st February and 21st March 2021 6. Vadodara and Hungary I 8th May and 15th May 2021

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WE ARE #CHANGEMAKERS Volunteers are the bedrock of an organization as vibrant as AFS India. With over 690 volunteers hailing from different parts of the country, AFS India takes great pride in its people.

Global Youth Service Day 2021 With the aim to reaffirm the importance of relationships amidst the ongoing chaos in April, AFS India celebrated Global Youth Service Day 2021 by challenging AFSers to write handwritten letters to their grandparents, educators, friends, parents and themselves. The activity "Show Someone You Care | Write a Letter" received 700+ magnificent letters from students, educators, volunteers, and others. Furthermore, AFS India will be sending letters written by participants to themselves back to them in a period of 6 months, so that participants can reflect on the changes, how they learned to sail through the challenges and the commitments. We thank everyone for expressing your care and love during such critical times when social relationships are the most needed. International Volunteer Day 2020

It has been a really long time since I received a beautifully old-fashioned, hand-written letter. The joy of being able to open an envelope and unfold a letter! It is a blessing indeed that there are people who can take us down memory lane with such simple gestures'' -Participant, AFS GYSD 2021

Chapter Meetings With Virtual Creativity

The International Volunteer Day 2020 was celebrated with the AFS India Open House on 28th November 2020 that was attended by over 100 volunteers from pan India. The town hall was nothing short of a Virtual Reunion for the entire AFS India family. To make the event more engaging, we had each chapter presenting a 3-minute brief on their year-round AFS activities and wonderful achievements. The meet may have been virtual but the energy was real. It was heartwarming to see volunteers from all walks of life contributing to the #AFSEffect and #changemaking. Domestic Virtual Cultural Exchanges AFS India’s Regional Volunteer Exchange Program gives cultural learning to the volunteers with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the values of Indian cultural diversity. The program facilitates exchanges between different chapters (cities), allowing them the opportunity to learn about different cultures, traditions, languages, lifestyles that exist in the cities by engaging the volunteers in various extracurricular activities and other learning processes such as art, craft, music, dance, calligraphy etc. From August 2020 to July 2021 Domestic Virtual Exchanges took place between: 1. Pune and Hyderabad | 6th and 20th September 2020 2. Anand and Pune | 7th February 2021

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Needless to mention the reason for the inevitability of virtuality everywhere lately! What saves the apparent monotony of it, is creativity. All the AFS Chapters conducted online monthly meetings with the volunteers to discuss strategies, programs, as well as to conduct some online interactive activities and spend some fun time together.


AFS India Town Hall and Open House Calls

Mr Nayan Shah, President of the Rajkot Chapter took the opportunity to drive all the chapter's volunteers to participate in the auspicious festival of Navratri through a competition and help them be part of the fun. Three different tournaments focusing on Navratri Dress, Traditional Garba Dance, and Pooja Thali Decoration were organised in this competition. We heartily congratulate all the winners and deeply appreciate all the participants.

On 27th February and 26th June 2021, AFS India conducted a virtual Town Hall Meet and Open House Event respectively with its vibrant volunteers. It was heartwarming to note that nearly 100 volunteers attended both events. They were extremely fun and engaging as volunteers got to interact with some known but a few new faces. During the meets, AFS India staff presented the Highlights of 2020, wherein they showcased some important events in each AFS department that were successfully implemented in 2020. The volunteers were also briefly informed about the changes planned for them in 2021 and how to work towards them.

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ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT Internship Opportunities for the AFS India Alumni

Youth for Global Empathy

AFS India offered internship opportunities to four alumni starting from November 2020 that continued throughout 2021. The alumni interns had worked on various alumni initiatives, rejuvenating the alumni network of AFS India, enhancing their skills and facilitating success that would help them move up on the ladder with increased chances of employability.

Youth for Global Empathy started in Mar 2021 with an aim to empower 1000 children between the age group of 13-16 years on how they can contribute and can take charge of social action in the new normal scenario. Led by YES Alumna Sweta Sadhu ’16, this was the first virtual alumni initiative of the year that came to an end in September 2021. Through this project, we were able to conduct 20+ online workshops on Empathy and impacted more than 1500 youth across India. We are thankful to our all wonderful project alumni, GCC facilitator Ms Sarita Badhwar, and several of our member schools who collaborated with our alumni.

YES Alumni Initiatives AFS India launched 4 alumni projects in 2021, each focusing on a diverse subject of social impact. Being implemented virtually, all four projects were highly adaptive to the new normal post-pandemic. We extend our deepest gratitude to AFS USA who helped us receive a generous grant so that we could organise this amazing project.

Building Culture of Women Empowerment Building Culture of Women Empowerment commenced in June, where a cohort of 13 young girls, representing diverse regions and backgrounds, came together to create awareness and amplify the cause of women upliftment through education and empowerment; for the women, by the women until November 2021. Led by YES alumna, Drashti Wani ‘11, the project team received 2 trainings after which they set out in the community, working to push women/girls out of their comfort zones, to challenge the on-going reality to seek freedom & social empowerment for themselves by conducting workshops on Women Empowerment.

“ “

Thank you AFS for this opportunity. I am glad I could reconnect with AFS via YGE. The facilitators and faculty were top notch” - Alumni Participant, Youth for Global Empathy

It was a fantastic opportunity to network and get started on my journey as an active changemaker. The trainings were highly educational and gave my thoughts a defined structure.”

- Alumni Participant, Building Culture of Women Empowerment

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Do Your Bit 2.0 Scaling up the work towards the SDG-13, Do Your Bit 2.0 started in April 2021, as the second part of the June 2020 project, Do Your Bit. This project comprised 5 alumni who efficiently worked with 28 high school students pan India, to prepare a wonderful set of climate change project proposals. Led by YES alumna, Mrunali Desai ‘15, the project concluded with the Mega Consortium Event in August 2021 highlighting the wonderful projects that acknowledged the efforts of our young minds and encouraged them to keep acting on the climate cause in future. We thank the UNESCO New Delhi Office, our selection committee, expert trainers, the schools and the students for bringing the project to a triumphant conclusion.

Seema Kumari Bags Harvard Scholarship Seema, our YES ‘19 alumna from a small village in Jharkhand, bagged a full scholarship to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 2021 and is the first from her family to attend a university and pursue higher education. Her story stands truly inspirational.

Change for Good 2021 Change for Good 2021 was the revamped version of Thriving 2020. The leadership initiative started in June, comprising 13 highly motivated alumni focusing on inculcating essential skills required to successfully conduct and implement a community-based project from start to finish. Led by YES Alumnus, Shubham Sharma ‘18, the selected alumni received 3 insightful trainings from prominent speakers on various aspects related to alumni engagement and community service. The project saw culmination in November 2021.

Shadab at the Service of People in Aligarh On the occasion of the GYSD 2021, Mohammad Shabad, YES ‘19 alumnus from Aligrah, UP, geared up to sanitize his locality and distribute sanitizers, oxygen cylinders, masks and food free of cost among the slum dwellers of Aligarh. He was also awarded Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PM's National Award for Children) earlier this year.

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Project Raktajaba by Farhana In November 2020, our Asia Kakehashi alumna, Farhana Amin Ripa carried out Project Raktajaba, a community service project in a small community in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Project Raktajaba aimed at spreading awareness about menstrual health and hygiene, along with voluntary distribution of sanitary napkins among underprivileged women

Wasudev Facilitates (Building Culture of Women Empowerment) Wasudev Mishra, YES ‘14, was invited as an expert facilitator to deliver a segment of the training session 2 of the project Building Culture of Women Empowerment. Wasudev has been actively pursuing social innovation and entrepreneurship from a very young age. He is the co-founder of a women’s based social enterprise called Silaigram. Alongside, he is also

Umang Conducts Climate Change Webinar Umang Jasani, YES ‘11 was invited to conduct a webinar on Climate Change and Climate Justice by the Centre for Environmental Concern, St. Ann College, Mangalore in June 2021 wherein he had the opportunity to interact with college students of 1st and 2nd year on climate change and how it affects the vulnerable group.

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SPONSORED SENDING PROGRAMS Kennedy-Lugar YES Program I Virtual Programing

Five YES 2020-21 students were extended the opportunity of virtual programming by the US Department of State due to the cancellation of the in-person program and not being eligible for the program as per the eligibility criteria. The YES virtual program included a few required and a few optional activities. The students participated in all the placement organization organized programming to become YES Alumni.

Asia Kakehashi Program Participants 2020-21 Return safely in March 2021 YES Virtual Engagement Plan 2021-22

The YES Virtual Engagement Plan was designed for the YES 2020-21 students by providing a platform to keep them engaged and ask questions in real-time to the staff and YES alumni. The discussion topics included understanding cultural differences, insights on US high schools, US host families, communication styles, celebrating festivals, importance of holidays in different countries, etc. The alumni and the staff shared great insights with the students and parents.

The Asia Kakehashi Project students of 2020-21 returned from Japan in March 2021. The batch was of 28 students from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Our heartfelt gratitude to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for providing this wonderful scholarship and opportunity to the students. We thank AFS Japan for their continuous guidance and support, our sincerest gratitude to the host families, host schools, and volunteers for all their support to the participants in these challenging and difficult times.

My exchange program with AFS was an experience that made me so much more aware and open to new possibilities” - AFS Student

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SENDING PROGRAMS Sponsored by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan JENESYS stands for “Japan East-Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths”. This prestigious program is a people-to-people exchange program between Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.

JENESYS 2020- Online Open House Event

JENESYS 2020 Online Open House Event in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India and AFS Japan was attended by over 120 individuals and had two important objectives: Celebrate the winners of the Photo and Video contest for JENESYS 2018 & 2019 alumni and Create awareness about the JENESYS program. It was a matter of great pride for the entire convening to have the presence of Respected Kuriki Tomoaki, Researcher, Southwest Asia Division, Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Additionally, we were delighted to have a few alumni from previous cohorts as guest speakers. We thank Mr. Yamashita Takeshi, Second Secretary, Japanese Information Center, Embassy of Japan, New Delhi, for all the support and coordination in making the JENESYS engagements possible.

Every year, AFS India sends students to various countries for an academic year for an exchange program that makes them learn to appreciate other ways of doing things and begin to break down the barriers between cultures and people. The objective is that the students become future-ready, develop life-skills, empathy and have an experience that makes them a global citizen. Albeit being hit by the pandemic, AFS India successfully sent 1 student to Italy on Year-long Program in 2020. Sonali Sahu from Lucknow, recipient of a scholarship to Italy sponsored by Cinemi Cinema completed the program successfully from January 2020 to July 2021. Moreover, Nicole Palkhivala from Bengaluru, went to Italy on a year-long program from November 2020 to July 2021 and completed her program successfully. Through their program, the students learned to appreciate other ways of doing things and began to break down the barriers between cultures and people.

My exchange program with AFS was an experience that made me so much more aware and open to new possibilities”

JENESYS Intercultural Learning Event

JENESYS Intercultural Learning Event in May saw participation of 40+ students from India as AFS Japan in collaboration with AFS India conducted the event that discussed the ‘Differences and commonalities in cultures of India and Japan’ along with active interaction among participants. The session also saw the presence and a closing remark from Mr. Yamashita Takeshi, Second Secretary, Japanese Information Centre, Embassy of Japan, New Delhi.

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- AFS Student

SPONSORED HOSTING PROGRAMS NSLI-Y Virtual Summer Intensive Program In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSLI-Y program was restructured as a Virtual Summer Intensive Program. The virtual group-based language instruction was led by qualified target language teachers from Zabaan Institute. The language instruction and cultural learning components were structured to allow for students’ language proficiency to advance level, which culminated in a journey of over 65+ synchronous sessions, asynchronous learning and peer interaction with the students. The virtual cultural learnings included Hindi language, virtual engagements with host families, exchanging of ideas with peer leaders on Indian Diversity, Architecture, Yoga, Folk Dance, etc.

YES Abroad Virtual Sessions 2020 Sponsored by U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) The YES Abroad is a scholarship program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, ECA between the U.S. and India. The YES Abroad virtual sessions took place from October 2020 to May 2021 for 4 participants. It was a wonderful journey of 65+ synchronous sessions, asynchronous learning and peer interaction. The virtual cultural learnings of YES Abroad included Hindi language, virtual engagements with host families, exchanging of ideas with peer leaders on Indian Diversity, Media Literacy, Architecture, Yoga, STEM, Folk Dance, Indian Cuisine etc. It was a magnificently successful virtual program in which students delivered beautiful presentations on various aspects of Indian culture.

NSLI-Y Partners Meeting with AFS USA It was held for three days on 14th, 21st and 22nd January. Welcome from AFS-USA and Overview of Session & Introductions of each partner - EGY, RUS, IND, CHN, INA, The American Councils for International Education shared how it would have been ideal to meet to have to continue to work through virtual programs in meetings as well as programs. NSLI-Y Operational Guidelines Updates,Terms & Conditions, COVID-19 Review were shared and discussed The Strategies and Lessons Learned on Virtual Exchanges

BP Global STEM Academies Sponsored by British Petroleum Meet & Greet of the BP Global STEM Academies Students BP Global STEM Academies is a full scholarship study abroad program for students and active global citizens who are energized to help solve some of today’s biggest global challenges. In November 2020, AFS India along with Indian families and Indian schools conducted a Meet & Greet with the BP program finalists. The participants had a chance to interact with Indian “host” families, learn about the traditional dress, dance, and cuisine of India. The participants also took a virtual tour of Valistus International School, Bengaluru and Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet and interacted with experts from the school about STEM techniques.

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NSLI-Y Program Sponsored by U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) aims to provide American youth linguistic skills and cultural knowledge that will spark a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. Students come to India with this scholarship to learn Hindi under an academic year and summer program. In July 2020, we had 8 students participate in the Virtual Summer Intensive Program, and 14 students in June 2021.

HOSTING PROGRAMS Hosting Against All Odds Even during the unprecedented times, AFS India had hosted 2 participants from France and completed the Hosting Cycle 2020-21. The Host Families opened their hearts and homes to have another child from a different country under the School Year Program and Boarding Program.

Amaury Bouchez was hosted in Gandhinagar and Clara Perret was hosted in Punjab Public School, Nabha. The immersive experience they have had is simply outstanding. We not only congratulate the students for the success, but we want to highlight that the journey of their exchange would not have been possible without the tremendous support from our volunteers of Gandhinagar and Nabha. These students and their journey will always remain close to us as they have conquered the challenges of a pandemic and proved that nothing can stop intercultural learning and peace building.

My AFS stay in India was taking the biggest step out of my comfort zone. And it was a wonderful experience. It impacted my life in many ways.” Clara Perret, hosted in Punjab Public School, Nabha

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Uttarayan Celebration in Gandhinagar Amaury Bouchez, an AFS exchange student from France (hosted in Gandhinagar) beautifully penned down his experience of celebrating Uttarayan, the kite flying festival in Gujarat as he progressed in his journey of learning the English Language. “I really liked the festival which does not exist in France and which I had never heard of. I loved flying kites, the feeling is something that I had never really done before. I really liked the atmosphere in the city. I loved bursting rockets in the night. The people are screaming, there is music and dancing. Typical festival food. This celebration is a beautiful and interesting moment of sharing between friends and families. I hope to return to India and be able to attend the festival again.” said Amaury. Page 14

My exchange experience was very good. Now I feel that I know the world better than before coming to India. Never had I thought that there is so much to see and learn in India.” - Amaury Bouchez, hosted in Gandhinagar Chapter

VIRTUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS The virtual programs from AFS India entails the blended learning platform for individuals from age 14 years and above to experience, learn and get expertise on 21st century skills. The programs of both National and International in nature bring about impact at affordable cost just sitting at home. With two major categories in place the programs are categorized broadly into - Global Up with GCC (National run program) and Global You (International run program) for participants of various age groups. From August 2020 - July 2021 the total number of enrolments in the programs included Educators - 22 Students (above 18 Years of age) - 21 Corporates - 1 Teens (between 14-18 years of age) - 54 Qualified facilitators - 13

Launch of the Year Global You Changemaker In collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, Center for Social Impact Strategy, AFS designed a 12-week interactive virtual exchange program for teens (age 15-17) anywhere in the world keen to LEARN & LEAD, to develop global competence skills and create innovative social impact projects.

GCC - not just a course but an experience. For me GCC proved to be that turning point from where I started a new chapter of life. I am a storyteller, an educator & also a parent. One thing that I have realized in the past 7 years of playing the aforesaid roles is that, we are being watched, aped, looked up to ! So it is imperative that learning continues. I find myself reflecting on things, I choose response over reaction, I’m wiser with choosing my words, I’ve learnt to be assertive, and I’m A NEW ME & I LOVE IT” Anjum Panna, Educator PBHS, Mumbai

The curriculum focussed on entrepreneurship, innovation, design, leadership and sustainable development impacts students' outlook at global issues and social challenges in the path preparing them as responsible citizens. Global Standing and Recognition Over the course of the pilot year for Global You programs, India is currently the #5 top proud sender into Adventurer, and the #3 top sender into Changemaker at the global level. In the year 2020, in nationally run Global Up with GCC, India was at #Top 5 amongst the top providers of the GCC with 42 external participants (BFL, USA, MAS, NZL and India, in the order of global standing). And we continued carrying the standing high in 2021 with 68 external participants at # Top 3 (COL, USA, CHN and India, in the order of global standing).

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Pathways to Global Classrooms for Educators

AFS India School Membership is an initiative to help create active global citizens, globalize schools & expand access to intercultural education through membership opportunities to schools in India. Apart from providing intercultural learning programs that build global competence, AFS India School Membership help educators and students develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.

Pathway to Global Classrooms for Educators is a virtual training course modified to provide educators with intercultural learning skills and aims to provide secondary school teachers and educators with new methods and tools to promote intercultural dialogue, in order to prepare students for living in diverse societies and working in a global labour market. This is a significant, practical tool to support our efforts to help globalize schools and make intercultural learning more accessible. Around 590+ educators from 32 schools attended the virtual workshops from August 2020 to July 2021.

AFS School Membership Cycle

Number of Member Schools









Effect+ Global Citizenship Education Virtual Workshop Effect+ workshops used interactive learning methods to teach students how they can advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while also helping them develop intercultural competences, become savvy about the world around them, and be prepared to make an impact in their local communities. This supports the global movement to advance intercultural learning and global citizenship education. AFS India conducted Effect+ Workshop with the help of intercultural learning trainer teams in various schools in India. Keynote speakers brought a spice to the workshop. Students had interactive sessions wherein global concerns like gender equality, leadership, sustainability, environment, educational opportunities, inclusive societies and caring for rivers were discussed. Around 560+ students from 33 schools attended the workshops from August 2020 to July 2021.

AFS India Regional Quiz Competition AFS believes that peace begins with global citizens who are curious and informed about the world. In an effort to increase awareness around the UN SDGs, AFS India organised the Regional Quiz Competition for its member schools in which 49 schools participated and 6 schools collaborated to organize and host the Quiz. The quiz competition was entirely virtual, wherein, the organising schools used platforms like Google Meet and Zoom Call and quiz tools such as Kahoot, Google Quiz or the real quiz where the Quiz Master asked questions and participants responded. During this pandemic, technology acted as a facilitator by bringing innovation to quizzes and ensuring active participation among students.

Today the goal of education is not only to produce a literate individual but to make sure that they turn into responsible adults. Thinking globally and acting locally is the need of the hour, and AFS India chose precisely those two topics for the quiz competition UN and SDGs. The 8th and 9th graders who became a part of it not only enjoyed the thrill of competing against each other but also acknowledged the learning process while they prepared for the event. Ms Anjum Panna, Educator Pragnya Bodhini High School, Mumbai

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Share a Collage Competition Celebrating the Global Day of Parents (1 June) can be as simple as letting your parents or grandparents know how thankful you are for their love and commitment. This day encourages both the children and the parents to spend time with each other to create cherishable memories. In an effort to let our young generation express their gratitude by spending quality time with them and capturing them in pictures.

AFS India MasterChef - Exchanging Cultures & Cuisines The power of food is beyond its physical purpose; not only it can satisfy hunger, but also it can unite people for special occasions, such as festivals, holidays and events. AFS India Masterchef was designed to promote intercultural learning through cuisines. Through this initiative, we brought the world little closer by teaming up with AFS Paraguay; AFS volunteers from Paraguay were invited to share the local recipes through Zoom during the two-day finale of AFS India MasterChef.

Throughout the months of June, July and August of 2020, the students were asked to create beautiful collages of the family pictures clicked during quarantine and send them as their entries for this competition. Though all of them cannot be winners of this competition, all the participants are winners for spreading the love for their parents or grandparents or both. The final results were announced in October 2020.

We received an immense response from 1000+ students in the first Elimination Round. The students shared the recipe and the pictures of the dish cooked. An 11-Member Review Committee was formed to review these applications from 36 schools in India. After a rigorous screening, 6 top finalists were selected for the finale round of live cooking through Zoom

Essay Writing & Poster Making Competitions In July 2021, To mark the World Youth Skills Day, the teenagers of AFS India Member Schools participated in the Essay Writing & Poster making competition on the theme Youth Skill Development for a Better Tomorrow. The young participants in creative ways presented their perspectives on the need to be equipped with the skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future disruptions especially in the context of effects of COVID-19 pandemic. The final results were announced in October 2021.

These children have amazing culinary skills and must continue working on them to prepare such delightful dishes. Thank you AFS India. Mr Arpit Panjwani, Director, Maa Anandmayee Memorial School, Dehradun (Judge of Finale Round)


Essay Poster making

I have to tell you that for me it was a real honour and a great pleasure to be able to become a part of this beautiful project. It’s a great way to reinforce the friendship between our countries. I felt very welcomed in your wonderful group and I hope this encounter becomes the beginning of many others in the future” - AFS Volunteer, Paraguay, on AFS India MasterChef

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Number of schools

Number of Students





School Meeting

2020 Virtual Career Guidance Fair AFS recognizes the importance of education as well as academics and therefore challenges students to see beyond the scope of academic work and learn more about what the world has to offer in the field of career opportunities. To do that, we planned and executed the 2020 Virtual Career Guidance Fair in October with the aim of helping students make informed decisions by knowing their own interests and potential. We know that without adequate direction, they may land up at the wrong workplace not suitable as per their interest and skills, and this is where AFS India wants to enable students to see the bigger picture and support them in excelling in their career with informative webinars as part of 2020 VCG Fair.

The Regional Meets AFS Regional Meets for all the five zones - North, South, East, West & Central - were organised in 2020-21. The school leaders of the AFS Member schools gathered online to discuss the way forward to add the component of Global Competence in their schools. AFS India presented details around the current offerings & opportunities with an appeal for more participation in the AFS Programs. From August 2020 to July 2021, the regional meets took place for: - North Zone Meet - 21 October 2020 & 17 July 2021 - South Zone Meet - 10 October 2020 & 20th July2021 - East Zone Meet - 6 November 2020 & 24th July 2021 - West Zone Meet - 18 October 2020 & 31st July 2021 - Central Zone Meet - 16 October 2020

A glorious participation of 700+ teenage students and educators was witnessed in these sessions over the 4 days. AFS School Presentations for Students & Educators

Moreover, the School Core Committee Meets took place on 22 September 2020 and 1 May 2021.

This was an initiative undertaken with the Member Schools to seek virtual presentation opportunities with students and teachers on various AFS Programs offerings. We made 51 school presentations for the students and 9 school presentations for the educators. It was an opportunity for us to connect directly with the students, their parents and the educators to share details of Virtual, In-person and Fundraising programs. West Zone Activities West Zone School groups under the guidance of the Regional Head, Mrs. Seema Shaikh has been on the toes with versatile programs engaging students and educators timely. From “Sharing of the Best Practices” by the schools to the conducting of the activity “Innovation & Imagination”, the program has had amazing participation and incredible feedback.

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Dometic Class Exchanges - Virtual Virtual exchanges are changing the education landscape and becoming a rapidly growing educational practice. Since its inception in 2015, AFS Domestic Class Exchange has gained a lot of appreciation amongst the School Fraternity. The program facilitates Short Term Exchanges between different schools of India, altogether giving an opportunity to the students to experience the different and diverse cultures, languages, lifestyles that exist in our country. Exchanges between the following schools have been conducted from August 2020 to July 2021:

Through this exchange, the students had a global exposure to 21st century skills like increasing flexibility, coping with challenges, building empathy, displaying technical agility and more.” - School Principal, On Participating in the International Class Exchange

Virtual Class Exchanges - International Amidst these uncertain times of turmoil across the world, students and teachers are at the fore of a struggle to deal with the pandemic while handling their academic responsibilities as well. Everyone is yearning for a return to the times when we interacted in classrooms, discussing, and debating on various topics. At such a point, AFS provided opportunities to various schools to engage in class exchange programs with many countries. Exchanges with the following countries have been conducted from August 2020 to July 2021:

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FUNDRAISING #AFSEffect For A Better World

#AFSEffect for a Better World was an AFS India fundraising campaign to send students on AFS Study Abroad programs and participate in AFS Virtual Educational Programs. The donations collected were aimed towards creating tomorrow’s changemakers, diplomats, thought leaders, influencers in the international business and non-profit communities. Every new AFS Student is another global citizen in progress - an individual primed to help build a more just and peaceful world. We raised 5,92,587 INR amount through various initiatives under the campaign #AFSEffect for a Better World. Congratulations to all our well-wishers for helping AFS India reach this amazing milestone!

GCC for One & all Global Peace Scholarship Fund by AFS 60s Alumni


2,30,650 in INR in

68,447 in INR 19,771 in INR

41,500 in INR

68,600 in INR 11,869 in INR 5,750 in INR

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GCC for One & All Initiative GCC for One & All was an initiative carried out from July 2020 until June 2021 to create scholarships to be given to 27 young and enthused high school students to hone their global skills to make a real social impact around the world. The program target was 14 students but we outdid ourselves and were able to sponsor 27 young talents across India. Get Your Own AFS Souvenirs Global Peace Scholarship Fund by AFS 60s Alumni The Global Peace Scholarship by the 60s Alumni is an ongoing initiative, started from August 2020, to enable students to develop as global changemakers through experiential learning. The program aspires to give an opportunity of a life-changing experience to a teenager who wants to study abroad on an AFS program. Dance for Change Initiative A one of a kind fundraiser initiative, Dance for Change was launched in September 2020 and was carried throughout December 2020. AFS India along with some Global Partners like Turkey, Egypt, and Sri Lanka, provided 90-minutes of virtual dance lessons for the participants below 18 in November and December 2020. Pehnawa - Embrace the Beauty of Indian Culture Creating a virtual platform to celebrate India’s diverse culture and heritage, the initiative of Pehnawa allowed our dear volunteers to exhibit, showcase, and celebrate India's diverse culture reflected through multi-coloured fabrics, a variety of drapes, aesthetic jewellery, and much more in the month of December 2020. CONSORTIUM | Education Next; Repositioning the Role of Higher Education in Building Back Better On 4th December 2020, the Consortium was held by AFS India in collaboration with UNESCO, New Delhi Office in India and supported by AFS Intercultural Programs, New York, USA. It acted as a platform for dialogue and discourse to revitalise the higher education system for a radical transformation to address global competencies supporting sustainable development. The Consortium witnessed a spectacular audience and appreciative feedback.

Get Your Own Souvenir was a way to make a difference in the lives of underserved and underprivileged students who are eager to go abroad on an exchange program. To help sponsor the student, volunteers were given various categories of donation to choose from and in return, received an AFS Souvenir (merchandise) as a memento of their generous donation. This magnanimous fundraiser was carried out from June through August 2021. Eudemonia - Rejuvenating Self A virtual wellness program focusing on Yoga, Breathing Techniques and Suggestions on how to bring a routine to wellness care, AFS India organised various Eudemonia sessions in the month of August 2021. The program was conducted by our own volunteers: Kshitija Jujam- Founder of Kshitij Center of Yog & Ayurved and Neha Sharma- Internationally certified Yoga therapist. Scrap Sale Donation Campaign This campaign was undertaken by the AFS Bangalore Chapter under the able leadership of Ms Vasudha Tavag. Ms Tavag motivated the volunteers to sell old newspapers, books, and other scrap from their households and neighbourhood and raised funds for the GCC for One & All initiative.

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ORIENTATIONS & TRAINING PROGRAM AFS orientation sessions (before, during and after AFS program) help AFS participants navigate personal and cultural growth opportunities while they are abroad. While we continued with our offline sending and hosting programs, we continued with online orientations throughout the year, limiting the exposure to outdoor activities and monitoring the safety of our students and volunteers. Throughout the year, AFS India facilitated several orientations for AFS participants going abroad and participants hosted in India. We also facilitated various training sessions for our volunteers across India.

Pre Departure Orientation During Pre-Departure Orientation, Indian participants share their concerns about the challenges they may be facing while adjusting to their new surroundings, and to hear the stories of other exchange students going through similar experiences. From August 2020 to July 2021, Pre Departure Orientation took place for: Asia Kakehashi Project 2020-21 - November 2020 Year Long Program to Italy 2020-21 - November 2020 Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study 2021-22 - June 2021 Gateway Orientation Gateway Orientation begins with the overview of the Pre-Departure Orientation, preparing the participants finally before departure to the host country. From August 2020 to July 2021, Gateway Orientation took place for:

Virtual Pre departure Orientation of YES 2021-22 The Virtual National Pre Departure orientation of the KL-YES 2021-22 students was successfully held on 26th June and 9th July by AFS India Staff and Alumni. The interaction with the students focussed on topics such as Visas & Logistics, Risk Management, W Curve, Packing List, Do’s and Don'ts of Social Media, AFS Rules, Adjustment with Host Family, School, Community among several other topics by carrying out new virtual techniques and methodologies which made participants take an active part in group activities. In-depth knowledge of various intercultural tools were also shared to help them cope up with various situations while on the program.

Asia Kakehashi Project 2020-21 - November 2020 Year Long Program to Italy 2020-21 - November 2020 Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study 2021-22 - July 2021

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Virtual Arrival Orientation of Hosting Cycle 2020-21 A four-day Virtual Arrival Orientation was conducted in December 2020 by AFS India with two host students from France, Amaury Bouchez (Gandhinagar) and Clara Perret (Nabha). The sessions touched base upon topics like, An Overview Introduction to India, Family Adaptation, Line of Communication, How to Make the Best of Your Exchange, Communication Styles and How Academics Work in India. Virtual Mid Stay Orientation of Hosting Cycle 2020-21 A three-day Virtual Mid Stay Orientation was conducted in March 2021 by AFS India with two Host students from France, Amaury Bouchez and Clara Perret, along with their respective counselors. The facilitators discussed topics like, Where am I and Where I want to be? Conflict Transformation (stereotypes and generalization, intercultural conflict and communication style), the sessions were facilitated by staff members and student’s counselors.

End of Stay Orientation The Virtual End of Stay Orientation for our two Host students, Amaury Bouchez and Clara Perret, was conducted by AFS India in March 2021. The students discussed insights on Cultural Continuum and their exchange journey experience, among few other topics. The sessions were facilitated by our expert facilitators, Mr Ajay Mehta and Ms Vibhooti Maldhari.

Re-Entry Orientation The Re-Entry Orientation marks the starting point for the Indian students to become active alumni after coming back from their exchange program. The Re-Entry Orientation helps the students with readjustment, reverse cultural shocks, and to discuss a way forward as alumni. From August 2020 to July 2021, Re-Entry Orientation took place for the Asia Kakehashi Project 2020-21 in April 2021. Host Family & Counselor Orientation In September 2020, the Host Family and Counselor Orientation was conducted with 13 respective chapters: Indore, Nashik, Delhi, Nabha, Kolhapur, Varanasi, Kolkata, Dehradun, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Gandhinagar and Pune. All the sessions were facilitated by our very own volunteers and the AFS India staff members.

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PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS United Nations Volunteers (UNV) India - Capacity Building workshop for NSS Youth AFS India Supported UNV Capacity Building workshop for NSS Youth on 19th January 2021. The facilitators Ms. Seema Shaikh, Principal, Pragnya Bodhini High School, Mumbai and Dr. Shradha Roy, Coordinator 18+ Programs and GCC at AFS India, New Delhi conducted a 30 minutes session on "Are you 21st century ready??” as Global Competence Skills are the need and demand by everyone to achieve advanced professional goals. The session enlightened the youth aspiring to contribute to future nation building.

AFS Global Conference In collaboration With The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Over 500 policymakers, teachers, students, workforce pipeline representatives and education influencers from 74 countries joined AFS Intercultural Programs’ virtual AFS Global Conference in October 2020 to hear the results of the OECD’s first-ever Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) on global competence. The event focused on how to use the findings to better prepare students for the complexities of the workforce and daily challenges in globalized societies. We had 25+ participants from India attending the virtual conference that consisted of school leaders and educators.

5th Annual IC3 Conference As a proud content partner of IC3, AFS India participated in the 5th Annual IC3 Conference during July and August 2021. This year's conference, held in a first-of-its-kind hybrid format, brought human connection back for 900+ people from all across the world in a very successful grand experiment in hybrid engagement. The conference was attended by schools, sponsors, partners, and volunteersIC3 Leaders and IC3 Advocates.

Virtual meeting with the US Embassy in India Three Staff Members of AFS India virtually met with three Officers of the US Embassy, New Delhi in September 2020 to discuss the Sponsored Programs (Sending and Hosting) and Alumni Projects.

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AFS Mission AFS Intercultural Programs is an international, voluntary, non- govermental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. AFS Values AFS enables people to act as responsible global citizens working for peace and understanding in a diverse world it acknowledges that peace is a dynamic concept threatened by injustice, inequity, and tolerance AFS seeks to affirm faith in the dignity and worth of every human being and of all nations and cultures. it encourages respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms witout distinction as to race, sex, language, religion or social status. AFS activities are based on our core values of dignity, respect for differences, harmony, sensitivity and tolerance.

For any Suggestions, or sharing stories or experiences, please write at Learn more about AFS at Be inspired by our History at Connect with us at: facebook./afsindia

AFS Intercultural Programs 163, Ground Floor, Jasola Vihar, Pocket 2 New Delhi , 11025, Indiia |

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