Family Volunteering in India
Volunteering abroad isn’t just limited to gap year students and career breakers. This life-changing experience is something that we encourage in everyone, no matter what walk of life. That’s why family volunteering is so important to us here at Volunteering Journeys. Because no matter what age, what background, what job, or what personal interests you have, there’s nothing more rewarding than travelling the world and helping others at the same time. And now you can do meaningful, responsible travel with the whole family. A step beyond the standard holiday, our family volunteering projects allow you to inspire adventure, exploration, compassion, generosity and the willingness to learn from a very young age. We find that our volunteering experiences are a great way of introducing young children and teens to different cultures and helping them form deeper connections with people from the other side of the globe. This is a major step in helping them become true citizens of the world and nurturing their want and desire to understand other people.
Tailor made to fit into your family holiday or travel plans, our volunteering programs will give you the freedom to explore philanthropy and a chance to embark on family bonding and teamwork, without tying you down or interfering with your summer plans. No matter what age groups or what group size, we can help you build the perfect family volunteering holiday so you can travel, sightsee and give back to others along the way.
Our family volunteering holidays in India are extremely flexible and can be tailored to your needs. Based in the beautiful and historic area of Fort Kochi in Kerala (South India), you and your family will have the chance to volunteer across several different areas of your choice; childcare volunteering, education, sports coaching, or school renovations. Whether you feel comfortable assisting with English lessons or you feel that your family could add value in a game of football or cricket, or you want to teach your kids the importance of building schools and homes for poor communities, we can find something to fit into your comfort zone.
For families bringing children, ages 4-16 years can be accommodated and volunteer alongside their parents and ages 15+ can volunteer freely with parental presence. We do everything that we can to customise our projects to suit families travelling with young children, and although under 3s are not able to accompany you alone on projects, they are able to come along if there is at least one other guardian who can look after them at all times.
For our two week volunteers, on the weekend we recommend you to do weekend excursions such as the backwaters of Kerala or Munnar Tea Plantations. Our local teams on ground can help organise these for you.
All The Details
Fort Kochi, Kerala
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- Pre-departure guide – to prepare you for your trip
- Pick-up and drop from the nearest airport in Cochin
- Accommodation in the heart of Fort Kochi
- WiFi and Kitchen facility at volunteer home
- Experienced bilingual local staff team
- Breakfast and Lunch- home cooked Indian food
- Location orientation – a walking tour of Fort Kochi showing you the local sights, restaurants and cafes, ATMs and amenities.
- Project training with the local Program Manager
- 24 hour support in your location for emergencies
- Auto Rikshaw to the project site – these local three wheelers are the best ride in town!
Whats Not Included
- Flights to the program destination
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal shopping and gratuities
- Local excursions
- Air conditioned rooms (available at extra cost)
Geetha Raj: Kerala Program Manager
Geetha is the backbone of our programs in Kerala. Her friendliness, generosity and warmth towards every volunteer will leave you feeling extra special. Having worked as local journalist for almost 10 years, Geetha grew a passion for community development work, and is very forward thinking. She is instrumental in Kerala Program development. A born leader, Geetha will give you the direction you will need to succeed as a volunteer. Her team will look after all your needs from the time you enter Kerala to the time you leave.
Midhu Anthony: Kerala Program Coordinator
A young mother of two, Midhu wanted to give back and be involved in her community. As a local she is culturally aware and will give you all the little do’s and dont’s of Kerala! Midhu is instrumental in preparing everything for your arrival, health and safety, accommodation, food, housekeeping and departure. Midhu will be taking you on a walking area tour of Fort Kochi when you arrive. She also helps Geetha on the projects from time to time.
- The nearest airport for this program is Cochin International Airport (COK)
- If you wish to book flights or insurance to this destination fill in this form here
- We recommend you apply for Visas before you arrive. Our Kerala Volunteer Guide will give you guidance on how to get your visas.
- Vaccinations are important. We recommend you visit your local travel clinic to find out what vaccines you should take.
- We work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for travel to India. Goto www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo to find out how best to avoid trouble when abroad. Packed with essential travel advice and tips, the website also offers up-to-date country information.
- We understand it can be difficult to pay for your flights, program fees and other travel costs. Many fundraise for their journey. If you need ideas and a platform for fundraising ideas click here.
- For support on any of the above email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Volunteering Plan:
Arrival Day Sunday: Once you get picked up from the airport you will be taken to our volunteers house in Fort Kochi. One of our local team will come and meet you and give you a house and area orientation.
Monday: After breakfast (08:00-09:00 AM) you will begin your training session with the Program Manager and then taken to the project sites to get introduced to the children and local teachers. Lunch will be at home between 12:00 to 13:00 PM. After projects finish at 16:00 PM you are free for the evening.
Tuesday – Friday: After breakfast (08:00- 09:00AM) you will be going to the project sites between 10:00AM to 12:00 PM. Our staff will be with you at all times. Lunch will be at home between 12:00- 13:00 PM. Post lunch you will continue with some more volunteering and finish by 16:00 PM. Families with children can opt out of afternoon volunteer sessions.
Evenings: Your evenings can be spent indulging in cultural activities and local sightseeing. Our local teams will give you plenty of ideas of what to do!
What Happens When I Arrive?
Living Arrangements for Family Volunteers in India:
For family volunteering groups, we are extremely flexible and can find suitable accommodation to fit in with your needs. We understand that travelling as a family is different to single travel or gap year travel and we will find suitable housing for your group size and any other requirements you may have. If you wish you can stay in our volunteer house with other volunteers. Our house has great kitchen facilities and is near to amenities which is useful when traveling with small children.
During the volunteering program, all project travel will be taken care of and we can also provide daily meals (this includes breakfast and dinner) so you don’t have to worry about a thing. The food will be local Keralan cuisine so that you can enjoy an authentic taste of local dishes and enjoy an immersive culinary experience for the whole family. But if you prefer a Western menu, there are many restaurants and cafes in the area that you can try. WiFi is available in all accommodation and country sim cards can also be arranged.
Health and Safety :
When you join our programs you can be assured we have carried out Risk Assessments to identify potential safety and health risks on projects and in the community. We share this information with you in our pre departure documents and on arrival. Our local staff are well trained and we provide 24/7 emergency numbers to all participants. Please read our Health and Safety pages for more details.
Volunteering Journeys Foundation:
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Volunteering Journey’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through supporting local charities, local organisations and community projects in the places that we work in. 100% of each donation goes directly to support our projects. Go to our Donation page if you want to support or fundraise for our Kerala Program.
Volunteers Love Us!
‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand. I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks. Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’
‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’
‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’
“J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”
‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’
‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’
‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’
‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’
“Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”
‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’
‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’