My list of Frustrations:
1. Yogesh and Tahira my boss have decided that we must stay in the office from 10-6 every day when the guidelines they originally gave me said that “Most volunteers are used in the office at one point or another “. It does not say 7 hours a day, 6 days a week!
2. The advertisement for interning/volunteering said that we could teach the trainees English in the evenings, but they have strictly prohibited it. However, the advertisement still reads that we can.
3. They treat all of the staff horrible here like servants. In fact, because they didn’t like one of the staff members (who had been here 12 years), they made her feel so uncomfortable that she quit. Another staff member who has been here 15 years is no longer allowed to hold keys to the kitchen supplies (although she’s the cook) because supposedly they think she will start stealing things after having not stolen anything for 15 years. They used to have an accountant who worked here for a long time, but they were so rude to him (Yogesh said horrible things to him and he’s an old man!) that he took an extended “holiday”. I’ve never met him…..The staff who work here also live here, and they decided to make a new rule that the staff’s children are no longer allowed to walk around Barli, they must stay inside their houses. So these kids who have been here since they were born are now treated like prisoners kept in their homes not allowed to come out.
4. We are not allowed to socialize with anyone. We are not allowed to go anywhere during the day but our rooms, the dining room, or our volunteer office. They decided to now start locking the library (it was never locked before) so that no one can use it unless they ask (and even then they don’t really like people using it). Yogesh continuously tries to belittle us and make us look stupid. We are not given any breaks except for lunch. If he catches us waking up late he makes some smart remark. One of the volunteer/interns was making a documentary and she had done all of the shooting but needed him to upload editing software on a computer, and it was software he already had. She’s been asking him to do this for a month, and she asks him about it like every other day. Now she’s leaving on Tuesday and all of her footage is going to waste. Instead of saying sorry, or trying to fix the problem, he starts blaming her saying that she never told him to put the software on the computer. The same intern spent a long time applying for a grant which Yogesh gave her. She finished a week before the deadline and kept asking him about it every day. The last day to turn it in passed and he never turned in the work she had worked on for two weeks.
5. The old interns who were here for my first two weeks (they are from the state of Uttar Pradesh right next to Madhya Pradesh where we are at) were constantly harassed by Yogesh. They were treated unjustly by him because he was giving their professors updates and could lie to them and make them get a bad grade. So they had to do whatever he said. One of these things is to clean the inside of the house Yogesh and Tahira are moving into here on Barli. He made them clean his house on our free day. They couldn’t say no because if they did, he would make them have a bad grade. They also received the worse volunteer room, and when things stopped working in their room, he never fixed them.
6. Before we got here (we learned this from the staff) Yogesh told them not to talk to us or tell us what goes on here. Well, they started telling us and almost all of them are about to quit.
7. They are having the staff here make all new curtains, sheets, pillowcases, etc. for their house for free.
A couple of us interns are planning to write letters to the old director and Barli's board members about the situations. Unfortunately, the reason Tahira got the position in the first place, is because her father is on the board. We are not sure how much our letters will change, but we feel like they should be written.