GVI: Volunteer in India

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About

In Kerala, a coastal strip along the Arabian Sea, address economic and gender disparities in the country through community development projects. Support workshops to encourage men and boys to talk about gender issues, assist with the improvement of girls literacy skills, contribute to the English language skills of local youth, and assist children and adults in self-care WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) routines.

GVI measures all impact against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), and has a Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy in place to ensure ethical best practices. This is an opportunity to be immersed in a different culture, environment, and form life-long friendships with other participants from around the world. In your free time, take a boat cruise along Kerala’s beautifully scenic backwaters, made up of a network of rivers and lagoons. With palm-lined jungle greenery, and an ever changing horizon, it’s a peaceful and effervescent sight to behold.

Highlights
  • Have the unique opportunity to join a multi-country GVI program and experience three Southeast Asian countries, India, Laos, and Nepal. You will contribute to the sustainable development objectives of each area.
  • Learn about multiculturalism, and become a global citizen with a greater perspective and understanding of social and environmental issues around the world.
  • Gain practical skills in health education, economic workshopping, and teaching. You will learn how to facilitate and create lesson plans, while also having the opportunity to start learning a different language.
  • Contribute directly to the 17 UN SDGs, and learn about volunteering ethically and sustainably.
  • Meet people from around the world with varying cultural backgrounds, and connect with local community members.

GVI global programs are open!

We're thrilled to announce that nine of our global locations are now open, including Greece, Thailand, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico. We're also taking bookings for our Thailand, Chiang Mai, Lao and Peru locations for 2021. Stay tuned for more locations coming your way soon, including a new location addition in the Canary Islands.

Popular Programs

Women learning computer skills at a workshop in India

Reside in Kerala, a coastal country supporting a warm tropical climate, where you will engage in education programs, health projects, and income initiatives to encourage equal access for women and young girls. This supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality, and Goal 4: Quality Education.

Interns playing with a group of students in India

Through ethical best practices, and GVI’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy, you can provide valuable assistance to local teachers and educational programs. These programs include the development of resources for classes, and life skill based education initiatives that encourage youth development. This is also an opportunity to take language classes, explore the Keralan backwaters, meet other international participants and develop cross-cultural skills.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.6 Rating
based on 10 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
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  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 8.7
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 10
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Mayuree
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Gvi experience

This was my first of many experiences with GVI and I absolutely loved it !!
For a first time the experience was totally memorable. I get safe and everything was so organized. I went on to do many more projects with GVi in a few other countries too. The reception from time landed at the airport until departure was all supported as well as tips in what to do locally. The food was amazing and at no time did I feel insecure or unsure. The project itself was so rewarding and definitely worth the time and money. Definitely recommend this project

What was your funniest moment?
All the kids even older ones dressed as Santa Claus at Christmas time
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Lara
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering on the Women's Empowerment Project

I had an incredible time volunteering in Kerala and would recommend this experience with GVI to anyone seeking to be pushed out of their comfort zone and contribute to making a positive impact in the wider world.
The Women's Empowerment project is an eye opening experience focused on sustainable development by building strong connections with its participants and creating an impact that is visibly lasting.

India is a vibrant country with a rich and diverse culture and I can't imagine anywhere better to have spent this experience.

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Melanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Will never forget this incredible experience!

I have so many wonderful things to say about GVI I never know where to start!! I volunteered on their Women's Empowerment Programme in Fort Kochi, and it's an experience I will never forget. I took away some huge learnings about myself, about Indian and specifically Keralan culture, the exciting changes and challenges to women's empowerment in the local community, the list goes on. It has changed my perspective on many aspects of world we live in, and helped me better understand my strengths. Also, I was impressed by GVI's commitment to the sustainability of their programmes, delivering real, tangible, clear and significant value to the communities they worked with as well as to the volunteers.

GVI do a fantastic job of keeping volunteers safe, which was a significant concern for me as a solo female traveller, going to India for the first time. With airport pick ups, signing in and out of base, emergency phone numbers, training on all emergency procedures... I felt safe and comfortable throughout my trip.

To anyone considering this, if you can, do it!! I have no doubt you will have a fantastic, unforgettable experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Clarify in advance the costs: the visa is quite expensive for this trip, and there's a couple of other small charges such as for accommodation on your first night. BUT, don't let the higher visa cost put you off! The Fort Kochi projects I think have slightly fewer volunteers as many do not want to pay the Visa fee, but it is absolutely worth every penny for this experience. I would also advise you prepare to do a little English teaching - if you haven't taught English as a foreign language before, it could be helpful to try this out before you go (just a recommendation, but not required!). Lastly, my advice would be to stay open to the experience, and take time to reflect whilst you're there, whether through writing in a journal, sending emails home or documenting some posts on social media - this really helped me to gain from my experience, particularly when I returned home and started to process a lot of my experience.
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Rebekah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exceeds all expectations!

I had the best time in Kerala, India. From discussing global and women’s empowerment issues (marriage, domestic abuse, consent) with men and women of all ages, to teaching English alongside other important topics (values, healthy eating, hygiene) to young girls. I felt fully immersed in the culture and made some amazing friends for life, including Indian natives and my fellow volunteers! I would highly recommend this programme to anyone looking to make a difference and have the adventure of a lifetime! My favourite part of the trip was one of the women’s groups who were extremely engaged and excited to see us, we did role play activities and debates on topics such as arranged marriage and joint families. I cannot wait for my next adventure with GVI.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Personally, I have never really interacted with children. This is something I was apprehensive about going into the schools to teach. After working with the groups of young girls for 4 weeks, I probably miss them the most! Go into volunteering with a completely open mind and you will really surprise yourself.
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Debbie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hot, humid and fantastic

I went on the Women's Empowerment Program in India. My friend and I were a little nervous about how involved we would be as we only signed up for two weeks but the team in country could not have been more welcoming and supportive. The induction in country was really good and extremely thorough with a lot of emphasis on the safety and well being of the volunteer. GVI were also very focused on their vision for helping and clear about how to achieve those goals and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and explained these and how the work you do fitted to this.
The region of Kerala is also extremely beautiful although very humid at the time of year we chose to go (late Mar/early Apr) so I don't think we could have had a better introduction to India. We also got the chance to travel a little a the end of the time with GVI so all in all it was an amazing experience. We got to give a little back but like many experiences learnt far more than we expected as well.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing really, it was superb, varied, challenging and fun. The visa process is time consuming and tricky though but it cannot be helped so recommend you just grit your teeth, put on a smile and plough through it.
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Kiri
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

11/10 recommendation!

My time in Kerala, India with GVI was absolutely amazing! I recommend it for anyone who wants to meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds and cultures. I can now say I have best friends all around the world!
During that first weekend we became like a little family which made the whole experience so much more fun as we had people to share the adventure with. In the house there were a wide range of ages which was lovely as there was always someone older for us students to ask advice from... in exchange for technology lessons!
My typical day in the GVI house would involve doing a few chores around the house, lesson planning, going out to projects and then hanging out with the other volunteers and staff in the evening.
My favourite part of the day was always going out to projects. As part of the Women's Empowerment team I got to work with women and girls from four years old up to mothers and grandmothers. The staff really took advantage of everyone's individual skills and allowed us to work on projects that we would have the biggest impact in.
I liked the weekly schedule of working Monday-Friday lunchtime and then having the weekends to explore Kerala which is a truely beautiful state. I took amazing trips with the other volunteers around the backwaters and to the Munnar tea planation. There was also a beautiful beach and market about a 5 minute walk from the GVI house where we could go in the evenings or before we started work for the day.
Volunteering in India with GVI was honestly the best thing I've ever done. I became so much more confident and have absolutely fallen in love with the culture in Kerala. I can't wait to go back later this year!

James
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Special memories and good, challenging work.

I'd rate my first GVI program in Kerala, India as 5 stars . This was back in 2012, and was an education project which I was part of for three months. It was an excellent 'gap year' experience, India is a wonderful country and culture and the volunteer work was a brilliant learning experience which I owe so much too. The staff were extremely helpful and the base was very safe and I have a lot of very special memories there.

What would you improve about this program?
A little more volunteer support, I felt at times a little thrown into the deep end. This might be due to my age at the time and the incredible heat meant that I did struggle a couple of times during the project.
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Mayuree
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Kerala Teaching Programme

IN 2011 December I spent a month in Kerala, India with GVI on their teaching program. It was my first time volunteering.From the onset the support I received from everyone in the organisation was awesome.
The experience was fulfilling and so humbling that I went on to volunteer with them for the next 2 years - and will continue to do so. Highlights include watching elephant parades, seeing the difference that being able to assist those lesser privileged makes in their lives, celebrating Christmas's and New Years with new friends in different parts of the world ... A truly life changing experience