Working at a school in the ancient port city of Kochi, you’ll play sports including soccer, basketball and athletics and lead outdoor games for disadvantaged children while experiencing the vibrant sounds and tastes of life in Southern India. Immerse yourself by visiting exotic spice markets, watching traditional Kathakali performances and trying flavorful local dishes.
The aim is for you to work with teachers, local communities and GVI staff to run sports projects at the schools and to give more personal attention to the students. Without this project or volunteer assistance, the children would not have the opportunity to take part in such a variety of sports activities and events, due to lack of equipment, skill and supervision.
By making a positive difference in these children’s lives by encouraging confidence and healthy living through sports, you’ll not only bring great joy to the children, but also provide a safe environment for the kids to improve their English and teamwork skills.
We are always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our team. This project offers qualifying and high-performing volunteers the chance to stay on the project for a longer duration on a GVI Scholarship free of charge and as part of the staff team in the field. If you would like to work towards a field career and make the very most of your time abroad, you might want to work towards a place on a GVI Scholarship. Successful scholars may find themselves offered full time employment with GVI, and many of our current staff have come through this route. Contact us for more information!
Please note, the awarding of scholarships is at the sole discretion of GVI and may be offered immediately after the completion of your program or at a later date.
GVI is real volunteering
Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.
Monday to Friday
Working with children can be a tiring but extremely rewarding experience. Weekdays are spent working in the school where every morning you will be transported along bustling streets from your house.
In the morning, you will support in the kids physical education classes, and coach in a variety of sports such as netball, football, rugby and cricket in the afternoon with weekends free for you to explore the incredible sites in the region.
Accommodation is with other volunteers in a basic, but comfortable and centrally located house with access to electricity, running water and flush toilets. Rooms are shared with up to four people in a dorm-style setting. Food is also provided for you, and you should expect simple but nutritious meals of rice, vegetables and fish.
If you would prefer to stay in private accommodation while on this project, this location does offer upgrades. Contact us for more information, or mention to your Country Expert who will be able to assist you.
Volunteers are desperately needed to provide exciting and interactive games for the children both during and after school. The classes you will assist with or lead may focus on specific sports, on general health and well-being, fitness exercises or team building.
Our goal is to develop the children’s confidence and provide them with a positive and safe environment to play sports. The school accepts as many students as possible from poor families in the area and a neighboring orphanage but because there are many students and very few teachers, there are not enough resources for gym teachers or coaches. These sports programs are able to be provided because of volunteer support.
How this project makes a difference
We aim to encourage a positive lifestyle and keep the students off the streets by providing fun after school sports programs. By coaching these talented kids, you will help them develop socially, mentally, and physically. The more opportunities the children have to grow their confidence and their English skills, the better their chances are at a healthy future.
Coming from a sporting background and be active within many sports, coming to volunteer in Kerala was about imparting my knowledge to a new fresh group of students. Although while this was something that I feel I achieved, and had a great time doing it. It was having the students re-teach me, what it is to play, learn and mostly enjoy sports. The kick I get watching them improve and have fun is a new lesson for myself and what I view as special.
After 5 weeks in Kochi I finally managed to visit the backwaters, they´re sooooo beautiful, it was a great excursion. Soon after we boarded, the boat left and lunch was served. The food was great: rice, chicken, a sort of grated coconut & fried onion dish (sooo yummy!), some greens and probably some more food that I can´t remember now, plenty of delicious stuff to eat. For the whole evening we were just chilling in the lounge area, contemplating the beauty of the backwaters and seeing the everyday life of the people that live by the shore.
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Kerala field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in India!
Included Side Trips
You will embark on an orientation of Fort Kochi during your arrival weekend, seeing the main tourist sites of the local town, as well as the many hidden treasures. You will also be taken to a traditional Keralan Kathakali dance show, which will open your eyes up to the wonders of India and its culture.
Optional Side Trips
Kerala offers a variety of different adventure trips from trekking to rafting, kayaking and even diving in some of the most beautiful locations that India has to offer. Close to base in Fort Kochi, the 14th century Chinese fishing nets, St Francis Church and an amazing array of boutique art galleries, cafes and restaurants make for an amazing cultural experience.
One of Kerala’s finest attractions popular with our volunteers is the backwaters tour, an experience of breathtaking beauty and serenity as you snake through the incredible landscape on a houseboat. You can stay overnight, eat amazing local cuisine, and gaze at the sunset: a perfect weekend getaway.
The Periyar Forest and National Park offers safari outings and a chance to spot elephants, monkeys and tigers if you’re lucky, combined with some spectacular scenery along the way. For the more active, you can get even closer to it all with a number of trekking options.
Kerala can boast some incredible beaches within reasonable distances from your base. Marari is a short 40-minute drive with beautiful sandy beaches lined with coconut trees, while Varkala is a little further with restaurants and cafés perched spectacularly on cliffs offering incredible views of the ocean.
And if tea is your poison then this is the location for you…tea plantations stretching as far as the eye can see and jaw dropping views of mountain ranges and valleys await. There are sightseeing and trekking options available (depending on seasons) for the adventurous, or you can just sit and relax, breathe the fresh mountain air, and soak it all in.
Further Traveling Opportunities
For those with a little more time on their hands, you may want to consider some of the following. The Taj Mahal will be top of most India bucket lists but beyond this famous landmark; the quaint hill stations in Darjeeling; the Ganges at Varanasi; the desert and fort palaces of Jaisalmer and Udaipur; safari at Kanha National Park (home of Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’); the lively nightlife of Mumbai; or the laid back atmosphere of Goa will leave you with an everlasting experience of India.
Build Your Program
- Pre-departure support and discounted services
- 24-hour emergency phone
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- Arrival orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
- Welcome meeting
- Location orientation
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- 24-hour in-country support
- Airport transfers
- Internal transportation - related to project work
- Project equipment and training
- Local cooking lessons
- A traditional Kathakali dance performance
What's Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes