Volunteer with Disadvantaged Children in Kerala (2013)
Your adventure begins on a Saturday, as you're collected at the airport by your friendly representative and whisked away back to base for a breezy tour of your new home away from home! After a brief but vital orientation of your stunning surroundings, health & safety and what to expect over the coming weeks, a handy welcome pack will be thrust in your hands and you have the rest of the day free to wander as you wish.
Day 2 - Sunday
Training day! Enjoy a morning training session with your project manager, covering life on the projects, local culture and all the possible (and unmissable) side trips just waiting for you throughout your valuable time off! These side trips are booked at your own discretion, are bursting with fun stuff to do, and offer a rich taste of true Kochi! In the afternoon, get down to business with your project coordinator for a planning session covering a detailed intro, the set up at the school, children and staff, structure of a day on project, be allocated your classes, and plan lessons for the next day with the help of your coordinator and existing volunteers. There will be plenty of opportunity to brainstorm and be creative throughout these discussions and training workshops. It's also a valuable time to learn from the experienced volunteers plenty about the Principles of Teaching and Classroom Management, as well as all the exciting things that happen in a classroom of eager kiddies! But the fun doesn't quite stop there! To round off a fabulous day, all new volunteers will enjoy a trip to Fort Kochi for a walk around the historical town and mingle with each other in the evening.
Day 3 - 7 Monday to Friday
And now begins your first week on the project...when the fun really gets going! It's an early rise with your final safety briefing at 07:30 each day. On arrival at your allocated school or childcare centre, check in with the teachers or your supervisor. At some locations you will assist teachers in teaching English lessons to children. They may ask you to assist with pronunciation or help children with the wide range of planned activities and assignments. Some days you may lead supplementary activities with young children such as outdoor games, playtime or arts and crafts. You will have a break for lunch in which you can enjoy a tasty local meal at one of the many surrounding cafes and stalls. Afternoons will be more teaching or assisting and some evenings you may have the opportunity to work with children in afterschool programs. While each day will be packed with new and exciting experiences...your task is serious and will not always be clouds and roses...your workday may end as late as 8:30 pm! You will be assigned to teach about 6 hours per day and may have free time during the day which you can take to develop more teaching resources. On the Friday, enjoy a group meeting back at base with all staff and volunteers to discuss how your first week has gone and any other issues that arise.
Day 8-9 Weekend
The next two days are completely yours to catch up on sleep, scope the stunning surroundings, or take up one of the fab side tours on offer! Most volunteers who have booked the Munnar (Meeshapulima) trekking weekend will go this weekend and it's a tough one to say no to! Trekkers will depart at 8am on the Saturday, bound for the base camp, sleeping overnight out under the stars in a simple yet cosy camp site. It's another trek the next morning until lunchtime (including a hearty spread of food), before making tracks back to Kochi in the afternoon Middle week(s) - for clients booking packages longer than 14 days: Throughout the day you may be taking care of children or be involved in teaching, storytelling, singing, playing games, art work and infinite tasks designed to encourage learning in enthusiastic young ones! Lunch time is usually from 12pm-1pm, when you'Ll be free to bring your own packed meal or sample the spicy delights from nearby food stalls and eateries! All materials and resources to be provided for you and you work with GVI Staff and other volunteers until you feel comfortable to go it alone! You will be given time each day to prepare the next day's lessons, so let the creative juices run free! You will also enjoy weekly sessions with your project manager and interns to discuss any ideas or problems you may have and to plan for the following week. Volunteers typically work Monday through to Friday, generally between 9am to 4pm. Transport will be provided for you to reach the school and to go back home... and let's not forget: weekends are free for your leisure, so grab a backpack, a map and a mate and embark on a two-day journey through your surroundings...or of course let GVI work out the tough stuff by jumping on board one of the organised side activities...too easy!
Make the most of your final week on the projects, having now gotten to know the students and teachers well, not to mention Laos finally feeling like a home away from home! On Thursday, participate in a departing presentation after your weekly coordinators' meeting. This is a chance to revel in all you've achieved over the previous weeks, and to reflect on lessons learned and friendships cemented. On Friday, say your reluctant goodbyes at the project before returning to the volunteer base for the final group briefing. Meet back together in the evening for a final-blast farewell feast for the opportunity to give thanks and say goodbye to the other volunteers. On Saturday clients will depart via transfer back to the airport in time for their onward flight. For those opting to hang around for a few more days, why not take advantage of some more side trips on offer: think a kayaking adventure or a journey through the backwaters...the options are endless and all too tempting!
Besides the giant-sized pat on the back you'll get for spending your free time helping those less fortunate, revel in the rare opportunity to see local Indian life first hand as you volunteer your time to help educate underprivileged children in the area. There is plenty of personal free time to explore the stunning nature and timeless history literally at your doorstep, and enjoy the unique opportunity to explore it just like a local!
-Airport transfers -Internal transportation (related to project work) -Cultural orientation -Project equipment -Long term experienced GVI staff -Training -Kathakali performance -Pre-departure support and discounted services -24 hour emergency phone -24 hour in country support
-International flights -Visa costs -Bed sheets -Pillow covers -Medical and travel insurance -Spending money -Optional side trip