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Volunteer and Intern Abroad since 1997
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Program Details
Program Type Volunteering
Location Asia - India - Kerala
Program Focus  Construction
1 Weeks From $ 1,600.00
Code: INKR0343P

Volunteer on Construction Projects in India

Help renovate schools or contribute to sustainable construction projects in Kerala, India

Our Impact


Location

Kerala

The area of Kerala is one of the highlights of India and a must-see destination. Project work takes place around the city of Kochi (Cochin), a port town since the early centuries offering fascinating snippets of history and culture that including the oldest European Church in India, an enchanting spice market and the famous 15th Century Chinese fishing nets, a truly stunning location to volunteer in.


Program Information

Immerse yourself in the rich culture of India when you travel to Kerala and volunteer on construction projects in local slums. Assist on projects addressing basic needs such as building community centres, home repairs, other construction projects or renovating schools and playgrounds to make them suitable, conducive learning environments. Discover the myriad of activities and captivating landscapes that the region has to offer in your free time.
Overview Project Life Project Details Free Time The Team Dates & Costs

Overview

Discover the fascinating continent of Asia while you get involved in construction projects in local villages in Kerala, India. The southern state of Kerala is famed for its tropical greenery, beautiful backwaters and rich culture. On arrival, volunteers will be given an orientation around the beautiful city of Kochi. Your living arrangements will be in a shared house in the heart of the local community of Fort Kochi, where you can experience the rich culture of India.

Depending on the needs on the ground at any given time, you will work alongside community members to help deliver basic needs such as improved sanitation through building eco toilets, construction of new houses or improvements on current slum dwellings, and classroom renovations.

 

Home Improvements

Volunteers will be involved in either building new homes or improving the infrastructure of existing buildings in a local slum. You will be assisted by local community members and guided by the leadership and expertise of local masons.

School renovation

Schools in Kerala are often extremely basic, and you will help make them more comfortable and conducive to a positive learning environment. Volunteers may help brighten up classrooms with new coats of paint or lend an extra hand in helping to reconstruct, build or rebuild a school’s facilities.

No previous experience is required for this project. Training will be given and you will work with local masons and other locals who can guide you. There will also be GVI field staff at hand. If you have special training that may be an asset to the project, please let us know when applying.

Highlights Include

Immersing yourself a different culture and way of life; making a genuine contribution towards the development of a local community; living and working with volunteers from all over the world; support our local henna artist and immerse yourself in the Indian culture; discovering India’s ornate temples, breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cities during your time off.

Testimonial

"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."
- Ana Maria Segovia Silvestre (United Kingdom)

GVI Live

These updates cover all programs in this location

GVI India

Big preparations underway for the Biennale festival in Fort Kochi. We can't wait!! #gvikerala #biennale https://t.co/BPrScn8Nsr

1 hour ago

GVI India

Some of our volunteers and staff presenting on the importance of Women's Empowerment. What does women's empowerment… https://t.co/SDdz01mPGs

2 days ago

Kerala Video

GVI Blogs

Thambu School learns the nativity story - In English!

The exciting adventure of teaching a group of Indian children the story of Christmas, drama and singing.

Project Life

Upon arrival, you will receive a welcome orientation covering health and safety and cultural awareness.

Monday to Friday

Your time will be spent assisting in either surrounding village/slums or in local schools. Depending on the project you are involved in you will be involved in the construction of eco toilets, homes and eco gardens; renovations at residents homes; repairing or refurbishing orphanages; improving and painting educational facilities at a local school or basic landscaping and repairs.

Field Conditions

The project can be physically demanding, especially when you consider the weather which can be a little unpredictable, which you should be prepared for.

You will live in a dormitory-style room in a clean, comfortable house with running water, electricity and flushing toilets. After a long day out work, you will build up quite an appetite, a good opportunity to sample the variety of traditional Indian meals.

Accommodation Upgrades

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.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs

Project Details

The support you will provide goes a long way to improving the health and education of local people. Through developing hygienic sanitation systems, improving access to clean water and helping renovate educational facilities, you can make a real contribution to this project.

How this project makes a difference:

Whichever construction project you are involved in, you will be making a significant contribution to the development of underprivileged communities. Working in schools, you will be helping to create an environment suitable for learning that the children deserve. On the eco toilet project, you will be helping ensure local people achieve the basic human right to adequate housing.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in programmes assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your downtime or further afield either before or after your programme. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established during the programme.

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.

The Team

Jutten George

Transport Coordinator and Translator
Meet Jutten, our local Transport Coordinator and Translator here at our hub in India. Being a native of the country, he was asked to drive the tuk-tuk and coordinate the other tuk-tuks for the volunteers in Kerala. Later he was offered to be a official staff member and was thrilled to take the job.

He has worked with all of the projects here in Kerala. "I like to work with both the sports and health projects, because I enjoy seeing the beneficiaries happy and satisfied."

Before working with GVI he was a package tour driver as an English/Hindi/Tamil speaking tour guide. Since joining us he has taken great pride in his work and is enjoying meeting all the volunteers. "I like to see people happy. All the people that I meet through working here are treating me as their own."

Jill Walker

Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Jill, our Assistant Director of Programs and line manager for Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Australia and Kenya programs. ‘Manow’ (lime), as she’s locally known in Thailand where she's based, taught English, environmental education and art in the USA and Thailand before joining us to set up a TEFL and Community Development Expedition. “I haven’t looked back since!”


When Jill isn’t working, she likes reading or doing just about anything energetic. “I devour books, love cooking and enjoy finding some time to get some exercise – yoga, dancing and aerobics are some of my faves.”


What does Jill like most about her job? “It’s great to see volunteers rising above the cultural and language barriers between themselves and the communities. That, and every day is completely different, which is the way I like it- it keeps me from getting bored.” Being ‘allergic’ to being bored has led to Manow doing some pretty amazing things. “I once ended up spending a week living in a cave with some Buddhist monks while I helped them build a small adobe monk hut.”

Lucy Grehan

Base Manager
Meet Lucy, our Base Manager here in Kerala. As wildlife conservation student, she initially joined GVI as a wildlife conservation intern to gain practical experience before staying on as a part of the team. Lucy has worked on our former Shimoni hub as long-term staff member before moving to India.

What does Lucy think volunteers bring to the projects? ” Without a doubt, the programs would not be able to run without the volunteers. The sheer amount of data volunteers help us to collect is immense, and so vitally important.”

Lucy’s highlights since working for GVI? “Setting up a new partner project in Kenya’s Western province, where I worked with a grassroots community group in Kenya’s last rainforest was amazing."

Zeno Wijtten

Country Director
Meet Zeno, our Country Director in India. He used to work on Crocodile Morphology and Ecology and has even trekked the Sierra Madre mountain range in the North of the Philippines in search of one of the last members of a critically endangered freshwater crocodile population. Zeno used to be our Country Director in Kenya a few years ago before moving to India.

His most memorable moments since he started working with GVI? Was discovering a population of ‘hidden’ African Skimmer Birds at Lake Turkana, which turned to represent almost 40 percent of the world population. “That, and when my cat left a snake at my bed as a ‘present’, which turned out to be a new species for Kenya!”

His favourite aspect of his job? ”Seeing people being in awe of everything new around them, realising and completely accepting how different their world of experiences suddenly has become.”

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What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting
  • What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs