Volunteering in India with GVI will open your eyes to a rapidly developing country, filled with a rich culture, traditions and beautiful landscapes.
Project work takes place around the city of Kochi (Cochin), a port town offering fascinating snippets of history and culture, including the oldest Church in India, an extensive spice market and the famous 15th Century Chinese fishing nets. GVI has been operating in Kochi for almost 4 years and are well established and respected within the community. GVI’s long-term involvement, capacity building and commitment to our projects, ensure that the service elements of your students’ trips are contributing to long-term sustainable projects helping to achieve our partners’ objectives. These local partnerships along with stakeholder discussions drive the service elements of our trips to ensure they are fully focussed on the most prevalent issues and produce the results required locally.
Project Aims and Objectives
Our projects incorporate a range of community work. Days are long, hot and physically demanding in an environment quite unlike any most students are used too. Expect to be challenged emotionally as well as physically! A typical day could involve teaching English to slum children in one of our school projects, teaching art activities in our special school, or making an eco toilet while chatting and interacting with local slum residents. You could even teach sports to young children in the morning and spend your afternoon building an eco-garden. At one stage GVI was involved in the construction of a football field and have even helped a number of residents put the finishing touches to their houses. Our projects are structured as well as flexible enough to accommodate individual passions and interest.
Our base in India is located in Kerala. A sliver of a state in India’s deep south, shaped by its landscape – almost 600km of fascinating Arabian Sea coast and beaches, a network of backwaters and the spice and tea-covered hills of the Western Ghats. Besides it’s famous backwaters, rice paddies, coconut groves, intriguing houseboats and delicately spiced, taste-bud-tingling cuisine, Kerala is home to wild elephants, exotic birds and the odd tiger; and crazily vibrant traditions such as Kathakali plays and snake-boat races. As with the rest of India it also plays host to an expanse of informal settlements (referred to as slums) with communities living well below the breadline with little access to formal education, income opportunities and decent hygiene standards.
Kerala’s short, mid, and long-term objectives:
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Kerala:
1. Increase women's opportunities in Kerala
2. Ensure healthy lives, well-being and promote opportunities and equality for those with special needs in Kerala
3. Enable the absolute development of children and young adults in Kerala by providing support and training in LSBE (life skills base education)
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.
What's Not Included
Health & Safety
At GVI we take health and safety very seriously. We run comprehensive risk assessments for each of our activities, in each of our locations, and are prepared for any eventuality, no matter how unlikely.
We have over 150 expertly trained staff members who live alongside the local communities in our locations year-round. This means that we know the areas intimately, and have dedicated, experienced professionals available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We keep in regular contact with relevant embassies and foreign offices, ensuring that we’re able to give you the most up-to-date information and travel advice regarding our locations.
Our Risk Assessments and Emergency Action Plans follow a comprehensive quarterly review process and can be provided to you upon request.
- 24-hour emergency phone
- 24-hour in-country support
- 24/7 back up and support
- A dedicated trip co-ordinator
- Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
- Access to local medical facilities
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- Comprehensive health and safety procedures (Emergency Action Plans and Risk Assessments)
- First aid equipment
- Flight booking service on request
- Food and drinking water
- Group leader
- Highly experienced and well qualified GVI field staff
- In-country support
- In-country transport costs
- Insurance on request
- Location orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
- Pre-departure information
- Risk assessments
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- Up-to-date safety and country information
- Welcome meeting
What's Not Included
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Additional spending money
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal kit
- Police or background check (where necessary)
- Visa costs
Additional Teacher Info
GVI runs curriculum, CAS and experience focussed service learning opportunities around the world on multi-award winning trips. With over 25,000 travellers since inception, GVI’s know how to ensure safe, life-changing challenges that make a real difference, fostering global citizenship and intercultural understanding. Staffed and resourced by GVI all year round, our projects offer unique opportunities to engage in long-term, high impact work, whilst experiencing deep cultural immersion and some adventure.
A teacher travels free with groups of ten or more students!
GVI provides 24/7 support from our experienced staff who are based full-time on the ground, as well as support from HQ. An experienced group leader will accompany the group, taking overall responsibility for the safety of the group.
Please note prices are subject to seasonal fluctuation and will vary depending upon the needs of the group.
**Optional extras include travel insurance and flight services
Day 1: Arrival at Kochi Airport and Transfer to Base
On arrival the group will be met at Kochi International Airport by a GVI appointed driver. We recommend that flights are booked to arrive first thing in the morning so as to maximise time spent in-country. Students and accompanying teachers will be transferred to their accommodation by GVI’s driver and given time to settle in and rest before meeting for an afternoon orientation session with the GVI field team. The week’s logistics, duties and responsibilities will be explained. This session will also include familiarisation with Emergency Action Plans and Health and Safety Risks as well as an overview on GVI and what our overall aims are globally and locally.
Day 2: Welcome and Orientation
The team will be given an orientation tour around the city of Kochi, where they will be based throughout the service element of the trip. The afternoon will be reserved for relaxation before the busy week’s work. There may be an opportunity for a cultural experience in the evening depending on the group’s interests.
Day 3-5: Service Work and Reflection
This time will be spent in the community with students contributing to a variety of projects required by our local partners at the time. These service elements, working alongside GVI field staff, may include construction projects, childcare and sports, and arts and craft initiatives with local community groups. GVI can structure the focus on the group’s overall objectives and interests. Being immersed in the local community for the week will give the volunteers an opportunity to experience a new and fascinating culture while contributing to projects in a meaningful and genuine way.
In the evenings, students will be expected to effectively prepare for the following day’s requirements and also reflect upon what they have achieved that day through individual and group reflection.
Days are tiring but equally rewarding with plenty of time for fun!
Day 6: Optional free time day
A possible day off and time for exploring Kochi! The GVI field team will be happy to arrange an activity for this day. Options could include a traditional Keralan Kathakali dance show, a backwaters tour on one of Kerala’s beautiful and iconic houseboats, a safari outing to the Periyar Forest and National Park for a chance to spot elephants and monkeys (and tigers if you’re lucky), or a visit to the sea side village of Marari (40-minute drive away) which boasts beautiful sandy beaches lined with coconut trees.
Day 7: A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavour to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects volunteers contributed to during their time in India, through "GVI LIve" on social media.
**Your trip can be extended to include additional side trips and / or further service work.
Why Choose GVI?
There are many reasons why you should consider GVI for your group trip. Allow us to take you through some of the important points:
- GVI has over 15 years of experience - Since we began in 1997, we have sent over 20,000 young people on trips all over the world. Most describe their experience with us as life-changing with a 95% approval rate from our customers
- We are a ground operator - We run and staff our projects 24/7, all year round which means we understand and know the area you will be visiting enabling us to deliver a high quality level of support, safety and training at very competitive prices
- Our variety of programs is unique and unrivalled - We offer language courses, community and conservation projects, leadership programs, cultural immersion, adventure activities and mountain trekking.
- Peace of mind - You know that our projects make a real and positive impact on the local communities you visit. Since we started we have developed over 150 projects around the world.
- Project ownership - We run our projects in partnership with local communities, according to the needs on the ground, so you know they are genuinely worthwhile
- We are different from most other school providers - We already have projects and programs in place. We have been working in these countries for over 15 years and are working hand in hand with the host communities to ensure their needs are being met.
- Teachers/Educators travel free
- Safety is our priority - We have comprehensive safety and back up procedures in place.
- Flexibility - Our trips are available all year round so you tell us when you want to travel.
- The GVI Charitable Trust - Enables your school to stay involved with your program after you return home.
- Students will automatically become GVI members, enabling them to benefit from discounts on any future GVI trips.
- There are opportunities for students to be GVI Ambassadors – excellent for university and college applications.