Pod Volunteer | Animal Rescue and Children's projects in India

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Pod Volunteer has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

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About

Volunteer live in a family guesthouse in the vibrant city of Udaipur in Northern India . You have the opportunity to explore the beautiful lakes, palaces and temples the city has to offer and to learn more about local culture and history.

Animal Rescue Project - Volunteers help at a animal rescue sanctuary by feeding, cleaning and caring for the rescued and injured animals. The project is home to over 200 animals including dogs, cows, donkeys, pigs, cats, tortoises, goats, birds, a buffalo and any other animal in need.

Education and Child Care - Volunteers work with children in schools, nurseries and community outreach projects and run lessons, games and arts & craft activities. Volunteers assist children in improving their maths, English and creative skills by leading fun and interactive lessons.

Highlights
  • Support an Animal Rescue Centre team to care for injured, sick and abused animals
  • Teach English and basic maths to children in schools and at community outreach projects
  • Create exciting sessions to develop the children's creative and communication skills
  • Live in a fantastic family guesthouse alongside the local team and immerse in Indian culture
  • From the vibrant festival of Holi and being the home of yoga, to mouth-watering regional food to discover, people looking to volunteer in India have a fantastic range of experiences to try.

Spaces to join in 2020, 2021 and 2022!

The lovely Pod Volunteer team will support you from helping you to prepare for volunteering and travelling overseas, to providing 24/7 back up while you are away, we are here to support you every step of the way.

Visit our website today and we can help you start your own volunteering journey!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.88 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • Impact 9.6
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 17
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Martha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An incredible experience

Volunteering in India was by far one of the best things I did whilst travelling. The programme was well thought out and although I was only there for 3 weeks I felt as though even in my short time I made a bit of an impact on the children I was helping. The programme is well split between the school, the boys home and the rag pickers community too. Ravi and Gurav were excellent in supporting us the whole time and I never felt out of my depth with them around. They were very good at explaining the wider social issues which have led to the wide scale problems India is facing. Since my time there all I have wanted is to go back and visit, but this time for much longer. The volunteer house was also such a lovely environment to live in and was a lot of fun too! Ravi’s Wife Neha cooked the most incredible food and it really felt as though we were having a traditional Indian experience whilst living with them. She also gave us cooking classes which was so sweet, and has meant we have brought a little bit of India home with us! This programme is most definitely for you if you want a like no other experience, as well as the chance to help a community which is advancing and make life long friends.

What would you improve about this program?
I would really struggle to think of a way this programme could be improved! It is so carefully thought out and Ravi and Gurav were just incredible!
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Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredibly Worthwile

I spent months looking for volunteer opportunities overseas and it wasn’t until I came across this one that I knew i’d found the perfect fit. Having the option of working with both children and animals was what made this program stand out above the rest. The brothers who run this program are very passionate about their work in their community in Udaipur and are super supportive to their volunteers. The entire experience was extremely fulfilling and that is in large part to the environment that the brothers have created for both the volunteers and the people they help. I felt so comfortable and safe and truly had the time of my life in the few weeks I spent on this project. Leaving STEP felt hard as in only a few weeks they became family. I highly recommend anyone to take part in their projects in India.

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Ellee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

STEP Volunteer

When I travelled to India it was my first time alone experiencing a new culture and volunteering abroad. I am so thankful I chose STEP, it was an amazing time of my life that I will forever look back on fondly. Every aspect of my time there, Guarav, Ravi and Neha made sure I was happy and safe. Their knowledge and support throughout was incredible. From when I awoke in the morning I was surrounded by mountains to when I explored the city and was immersed in vibrant colours and kind hearted souls, it was simply beautiful. It is a wonderful chance to explore India as they offer quite a few trips to different cities and experiences. The atmosphere in the house was always friendly and fun, full of laughter and smiles from breakfast to afternoon chai. Volunteering with the children was incredible and I really felt our contributions were creating a positive change. The children at the nursery, orphanage and disabled school were so sweet and eager to learn and I learnt quite a bit about organising lessons and creating fun activities. Watching the work done at Animal Aid was so inspiring and the care and dedication they put into looking after the animals was amazing to watch. You fall in love with the animals and make great connections with the people working there. Volunteering with STEP showed me how passionate everyone I met were about changing peoples lives and animals, and I am so lucky to have experienced it.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly cannot think of anything, it was simply brilliant.
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Charlotte
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Two words.. Life Changing

I decided for my 30th I wanted to do something different, explore a new culture, give to a community that needs help in some way and to take myself on a personal, spiritual and emotional journey.

After 8 months of research I chose to volunteer with POD at Animal Aid and live with the wonderful hosts at Step (Ravi, Gaurav, Neha and the cutest (and best) of them all, Heer). During my 2 weeks in Udaipur, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and charity - something I had not experienced in the UK. Sure we raise money, but it’s usually at personal cost (cutting hair off, or running one hundred million miles) - which is great of course because it’s a sacrifice. However the humbling love and kindness I experienced both directly and indirectly has categorically changed my life.

Animal Aid is a sanctuary founded on love, support and encourage. Never have I more inspiring people who have one thing in common... Their love for animals.

Ravi, Gaurav, Neha and Heer carefully considered every day/moment I had spare. Helping me make the most out of my stay. Whether it’s a bike ride around the lake, or darts on their roof terrace (they even arranged the most delicious birthday cake for me).

I cannot recommend this project/hosts enough. So much so... I actually considered hiding in the wardrobe so I didn’t have to leave.

What would you improve about this program?
N/A
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Jane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience in Udaipur

Spent the most amazing 2 weeks in Udaipur, staying with Ravi, Gurav and Neha. Perfect hosts. Made me feel so welcome. I worked alongside other volunteers at the schools and orphanages which was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Lots of free time to explore Udaipur which is absolutely beautiful. I would completely recommend this experience as a more senior traveler and female I felt safe and secure the whole time. The most amazing experience

What would you improve about this program?
No need to improve
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Jill
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime

If you are looking for a trip of a lifetime, look no further than traveling through Pod Volunteer to Udaipur to work with Ravi and Gaurav. You won’t regret it, and you will likely want to return for a longer amount of time. My daughter and I spent two weeks with STEP Volunteer teaching English to school-age children and spending time with orphans from two different orphanages. It was an incredible experience.

Gaurav, Ravi and Ravi’s wife Neha are some of the kindest, dedicated people you will ever meet. They made us feel immediately welcome in their home, and they took great care of us while we were there. More importantly, they are passionate about what they do and they take very good care of the children and families in their community. They work tirelessly side by side with volunteers throughout the year to teach English to children and bring joy to the lives of orphans in nearby orphanages. Some international volunteer programs offer opportunities to teens for a few weeks in the summer, and then abandon the program until the following year. STEP Volunteer is dedicated to helping people in their community all year long.

After breakfast each morning we would travel to a local school and work on English lessons with our assigned class. My daughter and I had five year olds who were new to the idea of school. It was quite a rewarding experience to teach them some letters and try to communicate with some of the Hindi words we learned in our evening lessons! Afternoons were spent with the orphans playing all sorts of games with the boys. The evenings were for planning for our class the next day, taking Hindi lessons, dinner and hanging out with Ravi, Gaurav and fellow volunteers. There is time to explore the city of Udaipur as well as traveling on weekends.

I went with my daughter because, at 17, she was unable to volunteer on her own. It was an amazing opportunity for us to experience this together, and I am so grateful we did. However, I see that Pod Volunteer now offers an opportunity for students under age 18, which is fantastic. If you are a parent considering sending your 16 or 17 year old to volunteer in India with STEP, I assure you, your child will be in very good hands. If my second child asked to go, I would not hesitate sending him to volunteer with Ravi and Gaurav without me.

This was a life-changing experience for my daughter and me. She just began her first year of college. Because of her experience in India, she is planning to major in Global Health and she’s currently taking classes on Hinduism and India’s history and culture. For me, this experience opened my mind to the possibilities of more international volunteer opportunities when I am an empty-nester.

Don’t hesitate for a minute before signing up with Pod Volunteer to volunteer with STEP Volunteer. You’ll travel to a beautiful part of India, work with some of the nicest, passionate people you’d ever want to meet, and support an organization that is doing really good work for children in need in their community.

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Kathy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Children's projects

We were well looked after with a lovely group of other volunteers of mixed ages, great for us as slightly older volunteers. Teaching children in their rural community, as well as working with orphan boys and disabled kids was challenging but rewarding and they were delightful. A life-changing experience. Ravi and Gaurav looked after us so well, with trips organised at weekends, and the food was amazing!

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Sharon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience changed my life

I joined Gaurav, Ravi and Neha in 2016 and stayed for two months. As an older solo traveller I was slightly nervous about landing in Udaipur but I honestly shouldn’t have worried. From the moment we met at the airport until the day we said goodbye I was supported, looked after, and cared for by the selfless staff at STEP.
This opportunity was amazing and the experiences I had will never be forgotten. Good friends were made on that trip, friends I am still in contact with now.
It was a priveledge to become part of the Indian community and learn about their culture and volunteering gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in their lives. Teaching in the school, day care and rag pickers makes you realise how lucky we are to have the things that generally we take for granted. But however sorry you initially feel for the children this quickly melts away as they respond to you with the best smiley faces you will ever encounter!
Along with the included excursions trips to other cities are also offered at a minimal extra cost. These are great to experience life outside Udaipur and further your experience of the Indian culture.
If you have any doubts or nerves about trying volunteering out, don’t! The experience will honestly change your life forever.

What would you improve about this program?
No need to improve