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Group Size: Max 4
Trip code: INDK
Duration: 2-8 weeks
Make a difference to the lives of disabled children on this rewarding and worthwhile volunteer experience in India. Stay in the laid-back coastal town of Fort Kochi, Kerala and help to care for, encourage, educate and inspire disabled kids in this amazing location. With plenty of awesome cultural and adventure activities to enjoy in your free time, explore one of India’s hidden gems and be captivated by the charm of Kerala. Make a difference to kids in Kerala and discover the wonders of this incredible part of India!
Kerala is a laid-back location famous for its nearby beaches filled with swaying palms, delicious seafood and local cuisine, winding waterways and beautiful backwaters made up of rivers, lakes and canals. Kerala has a balmy tropical climate all year round, with temperatures rarely dropping below the 70s. A visit to this safe and friendly region offers travellers the ideal introduction to India!
About Fort Kochi
The school building project is based in and around the famous port city of Fort Kochi (otherwise known as Cochin). This charming town boasts beautiful historical buildings and unusual, giant fishing nets. Fort Kochi has friendly locals plus great restaurants, bars and cafes, markets, ATMs and plenty of cultural events. Although it is a tranquil, tourist-friendly town it is not a party spot. Fort Kochi enjoys gorgeous coastal views and a relaxed vibe, offering the ideal introduction for first-time visitors to India. Stepping into Fort Kochi is like stepping back in time into another world!
Arrival and Orientation
Days 1-2, Saturday & Sunday: You will be met on arrival at Kochi International Airport and transferred to Fort Kochi (approx.1-1.5 hour journey). In the evening you will enjoy a short welcome meeting from the local project team and get a chance to rest, relax and meet your group.
At some point this weekend, depending on when all the volunteers arrive, you will have a Project and Culture Information session with the local volunteer co-ordinator. After your orientation session you will be given an introductory tour of the fantastic Fort Kochi area which will be your home during your stay in Kerala. On Sunday you can relax or join an optional tour of the Kerala backwaters (approx USD10 extra cost)!
Your Volunteer Role
A typical volunteer day will run from around 10am-12pm, and then 2pm-3:30pm and will include 1-2 hours of mandatory teaching preparation.
Volunteering at a Specialised Disabled School
If you have previous experience working with disabled children then you can volunteer at a specialised disabled school in Fort Kochi. The disabled children have a variety of needs and they need constant support, so volunteers will need energy, patience and a caring disposition. As a volunteer you will be helping out with a variety of activities with the kids, which include arts and crafts, reading and gentle exercises as well as helping out with the maintenance of the centre, doing tasks such as mural painting, decorating and tidying up.
Volunteering with disabled children in a mainstream school
If you don’t have previous experience working with disabled children, you can still volunteer in the specialised disabled school, although your role will be limited, but you will be helping with gentle exercise and art activities in the school’s sensory room. Alternatively, you can support disabled children in a mainstream school classroom. Parents in India often prefer to send their disabled children to be educated in mainstream schools, and you can offer one-to-one support and care to these children in the school environment.
Please note: These itineraries are a guide only and may be subject to change according to the needs of the local community at the time of your trip. Volunteers should be flexible and ready to adapt to unexpected changes and new situations.
Please note: During school holidays you will work with children in the community rather than in a school setting. During exam periods in December and March you may help out at a women’s empowerment project when the children are busy. On certain religious holidays, no volunteering will take place.
The cost of travel from your accommodation to the project site by tuk tuk is arranged for you, but the cost is not included (please budget £2-3 per trip).
Your evenings and weekends are free time to have fun and enjoy optional activities. Fort Kochi is a fantastic base from which to explore the gorgeous area of Kerala and your local team can help you to arrange exciting optional activities, which include:
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