Kerala is rightly described as ‘God’s Own Country’. Located at the southwestern tip of the vast Indian mainland, surrounded by the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, Kerala has a blend of hills, beaches and backwaters.
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India is one of the most visited volunteer destinations and working in Kerala would be an enriching experience. It is advised to apply for the projects once the volunteering/ traveling dates are decided as there are limited spots available. The application fee is valid for one full year and can be sent earlier than the desired year of volunteering for timely confirmation of the seat. As soon as you decide the travel dates, we suggest you to apply for the program and hold your spot.
Usually, it takes around 10-12 working days for the application to be processed and placement to be confirmed. After we review your CV and documents your booking is confirmed and the booking confirmation is updated in your My Account and you can view the information in your account. The application acceptance depends on the availability of seats in the project as well as the eligibility criteria of the program (age, skills and experience etc.).
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the India volunteer projects:
Volunteers must be 17 years or older at the time of joining the project.
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. India is a country of different culture and traditions, and although it is modernized, the cultural sensitivities need to be kept in mind before volunteering in India. The volunteers should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
Participants must be in good health.
Yes, you are welcome to take part in India Volunteer Program as part of a group. We welcome families, friends, high school students, college/university and corporate groups to volunteer together in the India program. Volunteering Solutions India program has hosted large student groups as well as families coming to volunteer in the program. We have hosted groups, from universities in UK, Europe, and USA as well as other countries.
Yes, most definitely you can, as we believe every participant brings something new to the project. If you do not have previous experience, we offer you the opportunity to have a great start with us. We make international volunteering easy – not only are our Volunteer Abroad opportunities rooted in offering you extensive support, but they are also very affordable.
All volunteers need to arrive in Kochi on the starting date of the program. Volunteers will be received at the Cochin International Airport by the local coordinator or representative and will be transferred to the volunteer accommodation. A brief orientation would be conducted the next day where you will also be shown the area around the accommodations, the nearest ATMs, market, and will be given safety guidelines as well as information about your project.
All enrolled participants are provided information on the appropriate Visa requirements for India in the pre-departure manual. You can also contact your pre-departure point of contact to know more about the Visa requirements.
The Cochin International Airport is well connected with all major airports across the globe and flights are easily available.
Some of the major flight carriers operating direct flights to Kochi are:
Air India, AirAsia, Etihad Airways, United Airlines, Swiss Air, KLM Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and more.
Yes, for all participants, it is mandatory to have a valid travel medical insurance for their trip. Volunteers have the option to purchase Travel and Medical Insurance at a nominal extra cost from Volunteering Solutions. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider.
If you already have a valid Travel and Medical insurance, you can email us a copy of the same. It is also advised to bring along the Insurance documents during your trip.
All participants are recommended to consult their physician or travel doctor before traveling to India. To view the general list of vaccinations recommended for your travel to India, click here.
Kerala is popularly known as ‘God’s Own Country’ and has the highest literacy rate in India. It is a tourist friendly and safe state. Kochi is a peaceful city with some really breathtaking views of nature. Also, the coordinator is there to guide and help the volunteers about anything. However, it is a common practice that volunteers should avoid moving out alone at night or at least inform the coordinator about their whereabouts.
Your project coordinator will take you to your project placement and introduce you to everyone after giving you a basic orientation about the program/city/culture etc. You will be told about the directions to the project location from your accommodation and the best and the most affordable mode of transport you can use. Volunteers use a variety of modes of transport to commute locally in Kerala, especially autorickshaws (Tuk Tuk), which is cheaper and the most convenient mode of transport.
Participants joining the volunteering programs in Kerala will be accommodated in a home stay or with a host family in a peaceful area of Fort Kochi. The setup provides accommodation with rooms allocated on same gender sharing basis. The rooms are air-conditioned with attached bath/toilet. This will be your home away from home for the time you are in Kochi to volunteer. There is also a kitchenette equipped with microwave, refrigerator, necessary utensils etc.
The homestays are located in a safe and serene neighborhood, with the market, beaches, and placement centers, all in a close vicinity. The beach/waterfront is, in fact, at a short walking distance from the homes.
Two meals a day will be provided for? the volunteers during their stay. Necessary ingredients such as bread, butter, jam, cereals, milk, eggs, fruits, etc are provided for breakfast at the accommodation, which the volunteers can prepare on their own. For lunch, volunteers can choose to eat at any of the food joints near the project location, which will provide an opportunity to taste the local cuisine. Dinner will be provided to the volunteers at the accommodation itself.
Unfortunately, the entire volunteering experience is as much about volunteering on your project, as it is about the cross-cultural exchange and community building. A lot of that happens through the accommodation that we have set up, where one can enjoy by being with like-minded people. Additionally, for safety reasons, all volunteers must live in the allotted accommodation.
Yes, that is not a problem at all. But kindly inform us about your dietary requirements well in advance.
Volunteers work from Monday - Friday and have their weekends free for sightseeing. You can utilize this time to visit local markets and places of tourist interest like Mattancherry Palace, Jewish Synagogue, and Jew market, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, Chinese Fishing Nets, Waterfront area and more.
During the weekend, you also have an option to take a short trip to the backwaters of Alleppey-Kumarakom, hills and tea plantations in Munnar, spice plantations and wildlife in Thekkady, beautiful beaches in Kovalam, and much more. There is a lot to do and explore, and we would assist you with your travel plans and arrangements for short trips.
Your program fee does not cover your personal expenses. You need to bear your personal expenses, such as bottled water, local transport, laundry, telephone, shopping, sightseeing etc. However, you should carry around $50-60 per week for your basic personal expenses. This amount can vary and you would need a higher amount if you go on different weekend trips out of town.
Do not worry, all the coordinators can speak and converse in English. Most of our participants are do not speak Hindi and Malayalam (local language) and they’ve never had any problems while communicating.
Depending on the selected project, volunteers will work during the week from Monday- Friday. You will have the weekend off so you can travel on weekends. However, volunteers need to be flexible, open minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.
On arrival at the airport, you can change your foreign currency to get Indian Rupees at the money exchange counters. India has a modern banking system and major credit and debit cards are accepted without any problem. ATMs are available in plenty and you will be shown the nearest ATM from the accommodation as well.You can also exchange the money at the banks or at authorized money changing outlet.
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the ‘Meet a Volunteer’ section on our website.
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