GVI: Volunteer in India

Video and Photos

The beach near the GVI house
The beach near the GVI house
Our first weekend as volunteers
Our first weekend as volunteers
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India
GVI: Volunteer in India

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 has a Community Development Internship in Thailand!


This is an opportunity to learn more about Chiang Mai's local Karen hill tribe culture, gaining intercultural communication skills and valuable teaching experience.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Value 8.6
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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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

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Thao
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Kerala - the best volunteering program you will come across

To echo the previous review and to put this very simply, I similarly had the time of my life on this volunteering program.

From the get go, everything about GVI and this program excited me. The thought of having to adapt to an entirely different culture, living in a house with a possible 11 more people, having the opportunity to teach Indian children and being able to experience Indian culture seemed like the perfect mix – and it was.

We worked almost 46 hour weeks – all of those hours being hard work but extremely, extremely rewarding. I was able to become very close to my group of 7 kids and to this day, almost 3 months later, I miss them dearly. There are so many positive aspects to this program but it is being fortunate enough to get to know the children that makes this program incredible.

On top of this, I was able to develop life-long friendships with a group of volunteers from all over the world. It is comforting to know that I have made such substantial friendships throughout this program and something I will cherish for many years to come.

I fell in love with Indian culture and Fort Kochi – where the GVI house was based, in ways that I cannot explain. Despite working 5 days a week, our weeknights were spent at cafes eating cakes and drinking tea, at local restaurants experiencing the delicious local Kerala food, while our weekends were spent taking trips to places such as Munnar (eating delicious homemade chocolate), Varkala (soaking up the sun and swimming in the Arabian sea), Periyar (going on adventurous Jeep safaris and treks) and many more.

If you’ve read this entire review to get an idea on whether or not to join this program, I urge you not to hesitate. The experience I had was so much more than I could put into words. You will spend an amazing amount of time with the adorable children who will undoubtedly change your life, the warm and welcoming locals, and with Ridhi and Ross – the very best and program manager and coordinator you will ever come across.

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Desiree
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in South Kerala, India with GVI

If Aladdin's genie magically appeared right now and gave me 3 wishes those would definitively be: 1. Go back in time to July 1st, South Kerala, India. 2. A family for the Manipur kids we tough. 3. One more month in this program.

Working with GVI in this program changed my life. I have to admit I thought it was not going to be hard for me to adapt to the country considering that I was born and raised in a 3rd world country. But it wasn't easy at all. My first week on the program was driving me mad; I was scared of messing up and I was not confident on what I was doing considering that I had never taught or even worked with children before. But I had the wonderful support of the coordinators Ridhi and Ross all the time. They gave me strength all throughout the program. After the first week, teaching came out naturally, I easily learned the name of my kids and I was starting to have the best time of my life. I got really close to my kids, its like if they became part of my family and I have to admit I still shed some tears when I go through pictures and recall memories.

This program helped me see things different. The social scene is obviously an impact, but despite the poverty in India, people will always smile at you while walking on the streets of Fort Kochi. It is a whole new culture but I loved it. The living conditions where simple but comfortable. It was hard to live with 11 other people in the same house. We all had shores to do every day and we had to be responsible for the house cleaning. I remember the early rush in the morning, 12 people in a small kitchen trying to make their breakfast. This simple things made me grow as a person. It made me learn how to work in groups and how to get out of my "comfort zone".

I have to admit that GVI did a great job with all their information on the program before I got there but they forgot to tell me something crucial: "you will have the time of your life".

Yes, this program changed me. How? In words I can't explained. I was completely happy for a whole month. I met the most wonderful people on this trip. The children I taught became "my kids" and my housemates became my friends. I became so close to these two groups of people that I can call them family and this program wouldn't have been the same without them.

Working on this program made me grow and mature as a person and it made a difference on me as well as I made a difference on this world. I could see that on my last day, when Songayao gave me a big hug and didn't let go for a while and when Rominao and Tamchimla started shedding tears as we said goodbye.

I enjoyed volunteering abroad and I would definitively do it again. I recommend this program and GVI to others and I am sure they will have a wonderful experience as well.

Location

Location:
India
Currency:
Indian Rupee
Weather:
Jan-Mar
59 F / 50 F
Apr-Jun
104 F / 90 F
Jul-Sep
100 F / 86 F
Oct-Dec
93 F / 82 F
Airports:
Indira Gandhi International Airport
( DEL )
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport
( BOM )
Kempegowda International Airport
( BLR )

India is well known for the rapid growth that they have been experiencing. The economic growth and substantial changes to the infrastructure have made it possible for many cities to grow as travel destinations. Exploring India is inexpensive but rich in culture with big ticket attractions like the Taj Mahal to the taken-for-granted geography of the mountains, deserts, and beaches.

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About GVI

Founded in 1998, GVI runs programs in various countries around the world, each manned by our own staff and aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), as well as the objectives of local partners. We welcome participants...