Volunteer with Disabled Children in India
Look after disabled children in beautiful Kerala!
Book now for €58
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!
- Become a valued volunteer and work with disabled children in India
- If you have previous experience working with disabled children you can help out at a specialised disabled school
- If you don’t have previous experience you can still volunteer with disabled children, helping them one-on-one in a mainstream school classroom
- Stay in the charming, peaceful port town of Fort Kochi and make new friends in this stunning part of India
- Explore Kerala’s famous backwaters by boat or make tracks for one of the region’s beautiful beaches at the weekends
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:
- Cultural shows
- Football matches
- Boat trip in the Keralan Backwaters: £60
- Visit to a tea or spice plantation: £60
- Travel to Cherai Beach, 35km from Fort Kochi: £20
- Trekking/camping trip: £70
- Cycling tour: £50
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Please arrange your flights to arrive into Kochi (Cochin) Airport (COK) on day one of your project (Saturday). Please arrive between 8am and 8pm for your included arrival transfer. If you arrive outside this time, please be aware that there will be an extra charge for the pickup. You will be met at the airport by the volunteer project’s resident driver, who will be holding a Gap 360 sign.
Alternatively, you can arrive the day before and meet the team the next day. Extra accommodation and transfers will be at your own cost.
Your driver will transfer you in a safe, air-conditioned car to your volunteer accommodation in the coastal town of Fort Kochi. The journey takes approximately 1-1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
Your volunteer experience ends on a Saturday. A return transfer is not included but the local team can arrange this for you for an approximate cost of around £20.
All accommodation is included during your stay in Kerala and you will be staying in our volunteer guesthouse in Fort Kochi. The house accommodates up to 40 volunteers and is located only a short 5-minute walk to Princess Street, the main street in Fort Kochi, where you can find facilities including ATMs, medical centres, shops, restaurants and cafes.
The accommodation is basic but is safe, clean and comfortable. Rooms are mostly shared rooms of 4-6 people and have fans and en-suite bathrooms. The bathrooms have cold-water showers only but this is just what you need in the warm, tropical climate of Kerala! Bed linen is provided but you will need to bring your own towels. The bedrooms all have locks on the doors.
The projects are located 5-15 minutes from your accommodation and transport is arranged there and back for you daily, for a small extra cost of £2-3 per day.
There are no washer/dryers at the accommodation but there is a laundry service. You can also hand wash your clothes and hang them up to dry outside the accommodation.
When you arrive at the accommodation you will need to pay a small deposit of INR1000 (approx. £10). This will be returned to you at the end of your stay so long as your room is left in good condition.
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included during your stay, except on Sundays when dinner is not included.
Breakfast is a typical Keralan breakfast to set you up for the day, usually eggs, bananas and bread. Lunch and dinner are usually vegetarian curries with rice, chapatti, vegetables and/or salad. Food is local and typically Keralan - delicious but not too spicy! You can make your own tea and coffee and filtered water is provided in the accommodation. Gluten-free diets can be catered for; please let us know in advance if you have any dietary requirements.
The minimum age to join this volunteering trip is 21. If you are 18-20 please contact us. This is an open-aged trip, suitable for travellers who wish to make a difference as a volunteer. Experience is beneficial but not essential.
You will have a brief telephone interview after booking on to the programme to make sure the project is a suitable fit for your skills and abilities.
This programme is suited to passionate, creative, caring and confident people who wish to make a difference and have a rewarding travel experience. You should have a flexible, mature attitude and be open to cultural difference. This is a cultural not a party trip, so you should be willing and happy to entertain yourself in your free time.
If you wish to volunteer at the specialised disabled school you will need to have prior experience working with disabled children. We require you to send us your CV via email so we can approve your suitability for the programme.
If you don’t have prior experience working with disabled children, you are still very welcome to apply for this programme! You will work in either a limited volunteer role at the disabled school or instead assist disabled children in a mainstream school environment.
You will need to have an e-tourist visa in order to travel to India (fees apply - check the Indian Embassy website for up to date costs) and you should obtain this before leaving the UK. You will need a copy of your passport and an Indian-sized passport photo, which is slightly smaller than the average passport photo (you can take photos in photo booths using an appropriate setting to get your photo to comply with size restrictions for travel to India), along with a letter of invitation, which we will send to you after booking.
You will also need to select 'Voluntary Work of Short Duration' as your primary purose of visiting when applying.
Please contact a travel advisor for more information about visas.
Before leaving the UK you should also make a trip to your GP in order to discuss your travel plans. As vaccination and medication requirements vary between different Indian regions, a detailed discussion of your travel plans and intended destinations is highly advised.
On this particular programme, as you’ll be working with children, you’ll need to undergo an enhanced DBS previously known as CRB, or Criminal Record Bureau check and will need to have a clean criminal record.
DBS checks may list past convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and if applicable will show whether or not you have been barred from working with certain vulnerable groups. Non-conviction information such as fixed penalties may also be included.
There is an addition cost for the DBS check, please speak to your travel advisor at the time of booking. The DBS process is in 3 stages:
1. Once we receive your booking payment, you will then be sent an online application link for the DBS check, which you will need to complete.
2. Once you have completed the application, the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) will need verification of your identity - to do this you will need to take 3 original documents to your nearest crown post office and use their DBS and ID verification service. This costs approximately £5 and is payable directly to the Post Office.
3. Once the post office verification is done it usually takes up to 2 weeks for your DBS to be processed, and your DBS will be sent to you directly in the post.