Child Care - Volunteer Reviews

INDIA

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Child Care project

Jill - 2017

“We could not have been happier with our Pod Volunteer experience. Lucy and Gemma were extremely responsive and supportive throughout the process. Volunteering in India was a life changing experience for me and my teenage daughter. If you are on the fence about doing this volunteer trip in India, get off and sign up now. This "once in a lifetime" trip may become more than that. My daughter is already talking about going back next year. I would be thrilled to do it

again, too. Experiencing life in India was eye opening. It is chaotic and beautiful all at the same time. The people we met in Udaipur and our subsequent travels in Northern India were so warm, welcoming and helpful. Ravi, Gaurav and Neha are some of the most kind-hearted, generous and committed people you will meet. They made us feel right at home and we miss them now that we are back in America. Volunteering with the children in the elementary school and children’s homes was such a special experience for me and my daughter. The children are full of joy, and it was a privilege to work with them.

What did you find most rewarding?

Spending each morning with the five year old students was the most rewarding. Each morning they greeted us with smiles and hugs. Our class had never been in school before. By the time we left, some if the kids were recognizing English letters and numbers and able to say the words. That was really exciting to know we were getting through to them in just two weeks.

What did you find most challenging?

Besides the humidity, the most challenging thing at times was getting our class under control. Our kids were only five years old and had never been in a classroom setting, so naturally they got squirmy. It was pretty comical at how little control we had over them, but Ravi, Gaurav and the other teachers were always nearby if we ever needed help getting the sweet kids to calm down for a few minutes.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

If I were to do it again, I would learn some key phrases and greetings in Hindi that you might need in the classroom and as you travel around. I would also recommend you consider doing the online program Pod Volunteer gives you access to learn creative, fun lessons for teaching the students. I think these two things would help you In your work with the children.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

I was looking for a program for my teenage daughter who really wanted to work with kids in India. Pod Volunteer stood out to me because they provide volunteers to a local organization who is doing work in their community year round. Some of the other programs I found online seemed to offer volunteer opportunities to teens a couple times a year, and it made me wonder what happens to the people in that community the rest of the year. Additionally, Lucy explained how Pod Volunteer researches every program and the area it's in for the safety of its volunteers. She assured us of the safety of this program. She also was extremely supportive throughout the process of preparing for our trip!”

Sara - 2017

“I had a great experience volunteering with the Child Care project in Udaipur. Within a few days I already felt at home and knew that I would want to come back next year. Ravi and Gaurav are so kind and dedicated to the kids and their community. It was a privilege to get to stay with them and to also work with the kids. It was very rewarding to notice improvement in the children's learning and also to see the smiles on their faces. I think that it was really important for me to travel and to experience a different culture from my own and if anyone has the chance I would suggest that they do the same.

What did you find most rewarding?
Working with the children in the school and also in the children's home.

What did you find most challenging?
Besides the language barrier, leaving Udaipur was the most challenging part of the trip.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
To not hesitate and to feel confident in taking a risk even though it might be outside of your comfort zone. Also, see if they could learn a few words of Hindi before they go.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I chose Pod Volunteer because it offers a lot of support in preparing for our trip. I also felt that a year round project shows how dedicated the program is to the cause.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? 
Yes- this was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone”.

Sylvia - 2017

"I had the best experience and came back so calm and refreshed. The food was wonderful, the support fantastic. Gaurav and Ravi go above and beyond for the volunteers and for the children. Neha is so sweet and kind and I such a good Mummy to their beautiful daughter. The Child Care and the Orphanages tried so hard for the children with little resources and the children were so happy as a result. I only wish I was talented enough to do more for them. 2 weeks was not enough, the other volunteers were more involved and both such beautiful kind girls they had donations from home and were able to provide extra treats, sports equipment, a meal out and new shoes. I had already promised something from home and have started some fundraising which will hopefully result in a nice piece of play equipment.

The weather and lots of spicy food was perfect for me. I enjoyed the sightseeing trips arranged and the traditional dancing show. I didn't have enough time to fit in any extra things like cooking or dance lessons but my time was packed. We were helped to get henna and meals out. I can't really describe how wonderful it was. The little children in Child Care and the proud and perfect young gentlemen in the Orphanage will stay with me for ever.

I did not say I would go back although I would if I had enough funds. After going to Nepal and then India I think before I get too feeble I should make another trip. I will apply later but I really would like to visit Ghana. Thank you for organising this amazing trip for me."

Julie - 2017

“I had no idea how this short placement would impact on my heart and mind. The children and community we worked in are so poor....yet everything we did was met with their total enthusiasm.

This was such a joyous and rewarding experience...I will be going back. The project I worked with have worked so hard to improve the lives of those in their community. It was a privilege to do my small part...these people are heroes. POD gave great support pre placement throughout the entire process. They made it easy for a pushing 60 year old first time volunteering abroad!!

What did you find most rewarding?

The hands on direct work with the day care children....seeing what has been achieved with them....how well they are learning in the process of pushing education in India as a means of improving lives.

What did you find most challenging?

The poverty and the total culture shock

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Be prepared for the culture shock and throw yourself 100% into all aspects of the experience....don't hold back...go for it.”

Sarah - 2017

“Everything about the Child Care project in India exceeded my expectations. From the second we arrived we felt welcomed by Ravi and Gaurav and the other volunteers. The children I was volunteering with were amazing, so eager to learn at such young ages.

What did you find most rewarding?

I found working with the boys from the orphanage the most rewarding. Although I loved the child care children, the boys were older and so seemed to understand more. We just played games with them but they loved it and my favourite part was the fact we could have a laugh and a joke with them and make fun of each other even though we didn't speak the same language.

What did you find most challenging?

Probably going into the community to collect the children for child care. I only did this for the first time in my last week so I'd already got to know the children by then and then seeing how little they had was challenging as they were such good, enthusiastic little kids.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Throw yourself into it completely and make the most of every chance you get and then you'll have the most amazing time of your life.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?

No everything was great!."

Karine - 2017

What did you find most rewarding?

“The smile on the childrens' faces at the disabled children school. Even though we didn't speak the same language, with just an eye contact and a smile the children and I could communicate. Also, at the day care center in my first days, 2-3 kids were too shy to participate in the teaching activities, but after only 2 or 3 days  they would stand up and try ... their smile was worth everything.

What did you find most challenging?

At the disabled children school, to see those kids and teenagers with such hard lives, but they always had a big smile on their faces and so much love to give  It has really touched my heart.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

You need to be patient and soft, those kids and teenagers are not always answering fast and some of them are really shy. But they are the most polite and respectful children I ever saw.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

Because of the choices of the project and that from the beginning I saw how serious they were. Thank you Lucy for your time and help, without you I would have never done that . Even before you knew if I was really going to join the project you took a lot of your time to answer all my questions."

Amelia - 2016

“I have rated everything as 'very good' as on reflection there is nothing I would rate anything other than well above average. From the Pod set up, to the project. The project in particular and the work of Ravi, Gurav and Neha was amazing and they truly made the experience so amazing for me and for this I will be always be grateful. Plus I know I will go back to India again after the fantastic experience I had first time around!

How would you describe a typical day at the Child Care volunteering project in India? 
I don't think I will ever be able to fully sum up my time in Udaipur working as it was an enlightening and life affirming trip for me, but I will give it a go. From the moment I contacted Pod I felt supported, and when I saw all the different projects they offered I was not entirely sure which one to go for. But after reviewing them all child care was for me! So I chose Udaipur child care project and that is where my journey really began. The application process was easy to follow, and then Pod made sure I had all the information I need to - which was great!

Then soon enough I was off to Udaipur. From the moment I got off the plane and Ravi (one of the project leaders in India) was there to pick me up I knew the project was going to be incredibly supportive. I got a full induction and tour around the house which really helped me settle in. The other volunteers were a fantastic help as I was travelling alone, something I had not done before.

The two weeks I volunteered for flew by. The work with the children was incredibly rewarding, in the morning we would work with the first graders at a school a short drive away, then go on the visits to either one of the orphanages or the Rag-picker community in the afternoon. 

Each volunteering experience was incredibly rewarding, and this is the bit I find hard to sum up as each day was different as the kids would make us laugh in different ways, or there would be that moment where one of the children said their numbers in the right order meaning our teaching methods were working, or the team you are playing rounders with wins! Crucially what ran throughout was how rewarding this work was and how much the project staff in India truly care for the people and children they work with, to the volunteers themselves.

Other highlights of the trip were the day trips to Ranakpur temple, Kumbhalgarh Fort, and the Monsoon palace. As well as the trips to the city to explore the weaving streets, city palace and general hustle and bustle Udaipur has to offer.

Along with the cooking and roof-top dance classes run by Neha. 

Then all too soon I had to say goodbye, though I know this will not be the last time I visit India. Whilst I cannot lie and say the project was not without its difficulties from the language barrier to the cultural differences. The truth is if you go volunteering with an open mind, and heart, then you will have a truly fantastic Indian adventure and meet some amazing people along the way.

What did you find most rewarding?
The work at the orphanages as it was all about getting stuck in with the kids and doing activities everyone could get involved with, even if it did prove that volley ball is definitely not my strong suit!

What did you find most challenging?
The biggest challenge was the money problems India was having whilst I was out there, as they pulled bank notes out of circulation. But the project staff were incredibly helpful and went above and beyond what I would expect. Plus as a group of volunteers we all helped each other out too.

Other than the above, I would say another challenge was the language barrier, however the fact that Gurav, Ravi and Neha spoke fantastic English did help reduce this.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Go for it!! That is basically what I would recommend, India is a fantastic place especially Udaipur and you will be supported all the way.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
For me none, I only wish I could have stayed longer!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I saw positive reviews online and looking back I am so glad I decided to go with you guys, your support and the projects your connect with are fantastic so THANK YOU!!

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Eve - 2016 

“I did the Child care in India and it was brilliant! The hosts Gurav and Ravi were so lovely and welcoming. During the two weeks I was away each day was different. Teaching the children was incredible! The pure joy and excitement they had towards learning made the whole trip worthwhile. Honestly lovely experience and met the most amazing people whilst I was there. Couldn't recommend this course more and can't wait to go back again.

What did you find most rewarding?
Working with the street kids as the were so eager to learn. The relationship that was developed between the kids meant that despite the fact I was only there for a short time I was so proud of the kids when they were progressing.

What did you find most challenging?
The difference culturally and how men were more superior than the women in India. There was quite a few restrictions that I faced there that I wouldn't normally face when back at the UK.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
To bring hand sanitizer and stickers. The kids loved stickers. Also bring extra money as you have to pay your weekly bill at the accommodation for like other outings that weren't previously included.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
Maybe the fact we got a weekly bill whilst we were there. Well it's not that I would want it changed just that we weren't aware of it before we went.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Was good website and Gemma was really great at answering any questions we had. Also this programme meant I could go with my younger sister.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Anna - 2016

“Volunteering within this project was an amazing experience that I felt lucky to be a part of. Throughout the organising process I felt fully supported; Gemma has been very friendly and able to help at every step, as well as making sure any queries I had were answered. The volunteering itself exceeded every expectation and honestly one of the best things I've ever done! I feel I both gave and gained a lot from the project; the children were beautiful, happy people with an eagerness to learn as well as a hilarious competitiveness between them. You also gain so much from experiencing India's fantastic and vibrant culture first hand and I feel very privileged to be a part of the whole process, I just wish I could have stayed longer!

What did you find most rewarding?
Seeing the children progress, especially when a clear improvement had been made from a previous lesson.

What did you find most challenging?
That the classes weren't divided by ability so it was hard to focus on the children that were struggling when the others had already finished an activity and we're waiting for something else to do.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Go into it with an open mind and throw yourself into every activity.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I was given a leaflet at a careers fare and it really appealed to me, the organisation looked like it was successful and had a good range of projects in varied places. It also had very good reviews!

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Pritika - 2016 

“Everything was absolutely amazing! I would like to thank Neha for the special effort and delicious food to accommodate for my dietary needs. Also I be helpful to specify to volunteers what exactly the syllabus for the class is so they can teach accordingly. Loved every moment! Look forward to going back again soon.

Everything was absolutely amazing! I would like to thank Neha for the special effort and delicious food to accommodate my dietary needs. Everybody was really welcoming. Loved every moment! Look forward to going back again soon. It was definitely an experience that has changed my life in numerous ways!

What did you find most rewarding?
The fact that I made a difference. Even if it's by teaching the children to say please and thank you.

What did you find most challenging?
To be able to get through to the children. They had a very short attention span so trying to get them to listen was very difficult at first but after I'd learnt their names it was a lot easier.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Get involved and embrace the culture as much as you can.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Three meals a day are provided as well as pick up and drop off to the airport.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes
Everything was amazing! An experience to remember! Thank you”

Charlotte - 2016

“I have just returned from volunteering for the childcare project in India, this was a fantastic experience, I learnt so much and have some amazing memories.
The mornings were spent in a daycare centre, there I taught the children things such as how to say the names of fruits and animals in English and how to count to ten in English. I planned craft for the children, played games and sang songs including Row Row Row your boat, which they had never heard off but loved especially as it gave them the opportunity to scream at the end of the song.

The afternoons I either spent working in a boys orphanage or within a rag picking community. At the orphanage we played games outside including volleyball, rounders and handball, I think they were impressed by my hand ball skills but my volleyball abilities left a lot to be desired! We also did craft with them, which included getting them to draw round their hands and feet and draw a body between, which they loved.

At the rag picking community we played outside games including hopscotch and skipping, the children also loved using me as a human jungle gym!

What stuck out to me with each of the children that I met was how happy they were, despite some having responsibilities beyond their ages and some living in poverty. I also loved the happiness that I could give them, whether that meant giving them a cuddle, a smile, tickling their feet or singing a silly song. I found myself wanting to cram as much into every session that I had with them, just to see their smiles.

What we as volunteers provide is a snapshot of time that they can just be children, they don't have to work, they don't have to worry, they just have to have fun.

What did you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding part for me was giving the children on the project the opportunity to be children. In India the children I worked with had large responsibilities such as the older children having responsibility to look after their younger siblings. But the time that I spent with them meant that responsibility was removed, even for a small amount of time we were able to teach them things as well as giving them the time to just have some fun.

What did you find most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of this was the language barrier, it was difficult not knowing what others were saying to me and hard to communicate to them what I wanted to say. However I underestimated how universal gestures are and that seeing me smiling at them was all the encouragement the children needed.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Do it!!
It is simple as that, yes its terrifying believe me I get it this was the first independent trip that I had taken and I was so nervous prior to getting there, but it is so worth it.
What you will learn and get out of the experience is huge and after completing this experience I am so proud of myself. But compared to what I believe the children got out of the experience this is so minor, I was able to teach them, let them have fun and give them a little love and attention which can be hard to come by due to the responsibilities that they have.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I was attracted to Pod volunteers website initially as it looked like exactly what I was looking for, which was volunteering abroad. But I think the main reason that I chose to go with them is because of the people at the end of the phone and the ones responding to my emails. Right from the beginning I could tell they cared and they do they helped me so much and I am so glad I chose this company and I hope to volunteer with them again in the future.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Ella - 2016

“I did the daycare part of child care which is for children up to the age of 6 (when they then start school). Every morning we'd go to a small rural village and run the daycare activies which ranged from teaching the children basic English to playing games and doing craft with them. All the children were so sweet and happy and I'd look forward to seeing them every morning! It was also very important to help to teach them the alphabet and English numbers as it would set them up for when they stared school so you really felt like you were making a difference to them and it was incredibly rewarding.

We'd also spend 1 hour 3 days a week at an orphanage teaching English and playing games/doing activities with the boys there. I loved going to the orphanage- the boys were always very happy to see you and it was nice seeing them enjoy the different games we did.

What did you find most rewarding? I found the entire experience very rewarding- it's hard to chose a specific bit! Mainly just helping the children and seeing them enjoy what they were learning.

What did you find most challenging? The language barrier was the hardest part in teaching.
What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Using name tags at the daycare meant we could learn the children's names. Also using the words we learnt during the Hindi lessons.
Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed? No!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? It seemed like the work it's projects were doing were actually making a positive difference to people's lives and it wasn't just designed purely for the benefit of the volunteers. Also because it was a non profit organisation

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Megan - 2016

“I thought the general experience was amazing and I really enjoyed it. It was the best thing I have ever done. I recommend anyone to do it and embrace it. It is daunting at the beginning and the culture is a lot different to the UK culture but I soon adapted. I have actually found it harder to adapt back to the UK then I did in India. Gaurav, Ravi and Neha are an absolutely lovely bunch and nothing is too much trouble. I wish I had stayed longer but that means I will just return next year. I hope people find this helpful.
What did you find most rewarding? Going into the communities, schools and orphanages, meeting the children and teaching them as well as having fun and playing games with them.

What did you find most challenging? The language barrier.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Don't over think things while you are there. Remember to pack moisturiser, Vaseline and sun glasses! Also a spare camera battery.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed? The kettle!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? My sister had previously used pod and I thought they dealt with her trip excellently so there was no doubt in that I would use pod when my time came.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes
Just that don't ever hesitate in booking a volunteering trip, I did and I have been back less than 72 hours in the UK and I have already booked my next trip for October!”

Sarah - 2015

“My name is Sarah and I was 18 when I joined the child care project with Pod Volunteer. I live in Wales and went to India for 3 weeks before starting my degree in feb 2016. My experience in Udaipur is one that I will never forget, you get to meet so many amazing people along the way that inspire you to travel further. After my nursing degree I will most definitely come back to do nursing in India. Not only were we able to complete the child care project we were also able to explore Jodpur, visit the Thar desert and ride a camel whilst watching the sun rise. I was such a magical experience and has made me wish I had stayed for longer!!

What did you find most rewarding? The most rewarding part of the trip for me was going to visit an all boys Children’s Home in Udaipur near to where we were staying, I had the opportunity to teach a class of young boys that listened so intently and respected me so much ( they even called me their sister). It is defiantly children like this that make you appreciate the education that I have been fortunate to have.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
I was only 18 when I completed the volunteering trip which is very young to be experiencing a 3rd world country on your own, but some advice id give to the family is not to stress or worry to much over whether your child is safe because they are in the hands of a fantastic family that would take the best care of you. being less stressful means that youll enjoy the experience so much better.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed? No not that I can think of, the child care placement was everything I expected and more and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? I chose Pod volunteer through the residential section of the dofe website, from there I was able to research the company, find out what they had to offer in the way of projects and countries and I decided to go for this project in particular due to the reviews people had posted and the hard working and conscientious staff Pod Volunteer has.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Madeleine - 2015

“What did you find most rewarding? The most rewarding was obviously the work with the children. You realised you don't need to speak the same language to communicate. If you give much of your time and energy, you will receive more love than you could ask for.
What did you find most challenging? The language barrier at times made it frustrating, because you want to say more to the children, but it didn't bother me too much as I got used to it.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Come open minded and don't expect anything, therefore you won't be disappointed. Accept what comes to you, and you will learn so much.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed? No everything was great.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Easy accessible site and non profit organisation.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Mairi - 2015

“I spent one month in India and it was truly incredible and an experience I will never forget. India is an amazing country with amazing people.

I was made to feel so welcome from my hosts, Ravi and Guarav. They work tirelessly in their community and it was so rewarding to work with them for a short time. They were able to help me with any aspect of my trip and made us feel very safe. Neha, the kindest woman I've ever met, looked after me during my time in India. Her food is amazing and I'm finding it hard to cope without her delicious home cooking every day. She is very accommodating, her food is not too spicy and can make anything you like. She is also happy to give you cooking lessons, although my pumpkin curry will never be as good as hers! I will definitely be back soon to visit.

We had plenty of free time to get out and explore the local city. Travelling mostly by rickshaw, which is a great way to meet the friendly locals and have an authentic Indian experience.

I loved meeting and working with volunteers from different countries and learning about their different cultures. I would recommend this experience to anybody.

How would you describe a typical day volunteering at the Child Care project in India?
The day would start at 8.30, with breakfast. All the volunteers would sit together at the table and discuss their plans for the day. Then we would set off to the daycare centre around 9.15. It is a short journey and i loved travelling by rickshaw in the morning. At daycare we would work with children in ages varying from 0-10. We would do simple English lessons, sing songs and play games. The children particularly loved arts and crafts activities, like making masks and crowns!

After getting home from daycare we had some free time to explore. We would travel into the nearby city by rickshaw and go shopping, visit the temples or go swimming in a rooftop pool (very refreshing in 40 degree heat!) Neha would have lunch ready for us at 1pm and all the volunteers could catch up with the day’s events.
After lunch was more free time. Usually this time was spent taking a few minutes to relax before 'Lesson Planning' at 3pm. Here we would plan the actives for the 'Rag Pickers Community' and the Boys orphanage. Then chai time, traditional Indian tea which is delicious and an opportunity to all sit together.

We would head to the Rag Pickers community for an hour in the afternoon. This project was just started during my first week, so it was really exciting to be involved in something new. All of the children here were really deprived, their living conditions were extremely basic and they did not have the opportunity to go to school. All of the children had jobs and would work long hours in dirty and dangerous environments. They were all so excited to learn English and loved us coming to work with them. We split them into two groups (old and young children) and would join back together for a big game at the end. They were always sad to see us leave at the end of the day.

Then it was straight to the boys orphanage. The boys living here were aged 8-18. We would play some games and do arts and crafts with them. One volunteer has done fundraising before coming to India. She used some of the money she raised to buy a basketball hoop. The boys had never played before so it was really fun teaching them how. Neha would have dinner ready for us in the evening and it was always delicious. After dinner we would all get together to plan the lessons for the next day.

We would have a few hours free in the evening to watch movies or call home. The days were very hard work and you would always go to bed exhausted after a very rewarding day.

What did you find most rewarding? I found working with the Rag Pickers community the most rewarding aspect of my trip. I worked with the older group of children and was able to build a bond and relationship with them. They were so excited to work with us. We were able to give them the opportunity to act like children and a break for their difficult lives, even if for an hour. I found it very difficult to leave them.

What did you find most challenging? Leaving!! I found it hard to deal with the heat at first- India is very hot!! You must remember to drink water and keep a bottle of water with you all the time. It was very hot at night time so it would be difficult to get to sleep but after a few days you get used to it. The culture shock was hard to come to terms with at the time. You work with children from really impoverished background and this can be difficult to experience.

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? No everything was perfect.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Do it!!!!!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is an amazing and rewarding experience. You have the opportunity to learn and experience a different culture and way of life. You will learn so much from the people that you meet and in turn, you will learn so much about yourself.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? I chose Pod volunteer as it is a non-profit organisation. They were so helpful; before, during and after the placement. Gemma would solve any problems that I had, quickly and professionally. It was great to meet her when she came to visit the project.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer to your friends? Yes”

Irina - 2015

“I did two weeks in child care and I would say it was incredible time which I will never forget. Our livers Ravi and Gaurav were happy to help and explain anything with have problem with anytime. As it was a new place for me with different culture and traditions I found it for myself a little bit difficult for the first few days but as I was going further I started to love and see different sides of India. Also we had a great opportunity to have a Hindi lesson and learn words which helped us communicate with children.

I would say food is just amazing, again first few days I found it really different and a little bit spicy. Neha ( the most kind person in the world was taking our cooking lessons and helping with any problems in the house!

Breakfast was at 8.30 straight after I would go to child care at around 9.05. Usually children there age 2-6 we would play games and learn number, colours, animals and fruits. Do colouring, seng songs and do art and craft. Usually we finish day care at around 10.45 and then we have free time, You always can go to town and do shopping. At 1.30 lunch time after we would have a little bit free time and then do our lesson planning. At 3 o'clock it was Chai time ( Indian tea) it’s really delicious   Straight after we would go to the disabled school which is also really different experience and environment compare to others.
After we would usually would have free time and at 7.30 dinner, after we finish dinner we would go upstairs in or planning room to plan for next day.

What did you find most rewarding? To see how children learn and remember thing which you show to them. To see how their eyes smile and they look happy!

What did you find most challenging? For me was really challenging to go to rag pickers community, children there were really poor and environment is really different as well.
Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? Everything was amazing!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Don't panic and take everything easy and observe everything around you

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is amazing life changing experience, people should start doing more often.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Excellent support!”

Victoria - 2015

“Volunteering in India was an incredible experience and I would definitely recommend it! Ravi and Gaurav were very helpful and knowledgeable both in terms of Indian culture and sights, as well as making suggestions when planning sessions. They make you feel very welcome, along with Neha who took care of me during my stay from helping us with our sarees to preparing delicious meals. The food was all vegetarian.

I was nervous before my first session at daycare but as soon as I arrived there I thought how ridiculous it was to be nervous - the children are very sweet, friendly and eager to learn. As long as you go in smiling and are prepared to throw yourself into the session you will love it!

There was a good balance between volunteering and free time which was good as this allowed you to go into town etc and experience more of the Indian culture.
How would you describe a typical day volunteering on the Child Care placement in India? Our day started with breakfast at 8.30 (toast/cereal), and then a short walk to the day care centre for 9.15 with one other volunteer and Ravi. At the daycare the children were mainly aged between 3-6 years. We did some simple English lessons, to help prepare them for school, sung songs, did arts and crafts and played games - they especially enjoyed playing with bubbles and the skipping rope!

After daycare we had a couple of hours free time, so we would usually go into town (a 30 minute rickshaw ride - an unforgettable experience especially when you have 11 people squeezed into the back!) to go shopping, and one day we went to a roof top swimming pool. Lunch back at the house at 1pm, then a bit more free time before lesson planning at 3pm and Chai-time (Indian tea, which is delicious - and I don't even like tea!).

In the afternoon we spent an hour each at the 'New Community' and the Orphanage. The new community has only recently been started and the children were extremely keen to learn and excitable! We split them into two groups and did English teaching, then came back together and normally played a big group game which they loved. The orphanage boys were aged 8-16 and their English was pretty good. They have recently got a basketball hoop and they enjoyed learning how to play the game. We usually played games like dodgeball and musical chairs which all the volunteers would also join in on. Dinner was at 7.30 followed by lesson planning for day care the next morning.

What did you find most rewarding? A new project had recently been started at a rag-picker community - the children here were very poor/deprived and yet they were so eager to learn and happy to see us each day. Watching their excitement about making paper bandanas/hats and playing new games like duck, duck, goose was lovely. I found it very hard to leave here.

What did you find most challenging? The heat, especially at night meant I found it tricky to get to sleep. During the day it was easy to forget to drink enough, so whenever you go out you should make sure you have a large water bottle with you.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Do it!! You will not only have an amazing time but also be taking part in an extremely rewarding programme

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is the chance to experience a completely different culture (much more so than if you just go travelling) and see some amazing places whilst doing something incredibly rewarding and worthwhile.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Non profit organisation. Very helpful and friendly staff (Gemma always replied to emails and was very helpful!)”

Naomi - 2015

“I could not fault my experience in India. The co-ordinators at the project were amazing, very supportive and made me feel welcome as soon as I arrived.
Working with the children was challenging at first due to the heat and the new environment. However, after a couple of days it was such a rewarding experience and both the children and all the volunteers enjoyed themselves.

This project was the perfect way to experience Indian culture: the food, religion and the friendly people there. The only thing I would say is that 2 weeks was not enough I will definitely be joining this project again and for longer! Thank you so much Pod for this experience.

How would you describe a typical day volunteering on the Child Care placement in India? In the morning we visited a day care centre where we did activities which improved their speaking and listening as well as teaching them some English in simple activities and crafts. We would then have some free time before going to an orphanage where we were teaching English and doing crafts.

What did you find most rewarding? Seeing the improvement in the children's abilities in such a small period of time as well as seeing how much the children enjoyed the activities. Also, working with volunteers from different countries and cultures.

What did you find most challenging? The heat at first and at times compromising where volunteers may have different ideas compared to you

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Throw yourself into the experience, don't be afraid that you will look silly. Just be yourself with the children and the volunteers

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is the perfect way to experience a new culture whilst helping to improve the lives of children who really benefit from the work you do with them

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Because it is an ethical volunteer company with excellent support before and after your project”

Mary - 2015

“The project in Udaipur is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone! The staff, both in the UK and India, are extremely helpful and provide you with a wealth of support. The local children are a joy to work with and I was hugely inspired by their energy and enthusiasm.
The accommodation is clean and comfortable and a great place to relax after working. The lesson planning area is a fantastic facility and there are many resources to draw upon for planning. The city of Udaipur is also a great place to spend your down time with its many beautiful palaces, temples and it's a great place for shopping too!

How would you describe a typical day volunteering on the Child Care placement in India? In the morning we had to go to the day care centre at 8:30, which lasted about 2 hours. In the late afternoon, at 16:30, we went to the orphanage for 2 hours. In between we had free time and lesson planning. It was extremely hot in Rajasthan whilst on my placement, so it was good we weren't working in the heat of the day.

What did you find most rewarding? I loved teaching English to both the younger children at day care and the boys at the orphanage. I found it very rewarding monitoring their progress throughout my time with them and it was lovely to see them gaining confidence with the language.

What did you find most challenging? At the day care centre there were often a lot of children, around 25, and the room was very small. It was tricky to 'control' such a large number especially when they were so excitable. However, I would urge future volunteers to remain calm and patient and they will get a long just fine.

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? I think the placement is excellently set up. When I was on the placement it was the summer holidays in India, so many of the boys from the orphanage went home and the schools were shut down. Many volunteers may have been frustrated by this, as we were only instructed on arrival. However, as I had already been in India for 6 weeks, I had become accustomed to these short-notice changes! It didn't bother me too much, but it might be a negative for other volunteers.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Get on the next plane and do it!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? I think it's a fantastic way to learn about a culture, as you become part of the community for the time you are there. If you are just travelling you may see a wealth of temples and palaces but volunteering is the perfect way to properly immerse yourself in the culture and learn about the day-to-day lives of the local people.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? 1) Ellie from the Pod UK team told me to. 2) I liked the fact it was a non-for-profit charitable organisation unlike STA, or other companies.”

 

Karen

"Im a senior citizen here in Canada. I have been volunteering in India for 8 weeks each year for the past 5 years. I had no idea it would be so simple and so rewarding. I took a great leap out of my comfort zone and was amazed how simple it was!! Arriving at Udaipur..I was overtaken with the breathtaking beauty of the city that was to be my home. On the outskirts of the city there are many rural villages. Here I discovered our new home. A welcome bed and amazing food. Now...lessons in Hindi...and cooking. It was so cool. I loved everyone and the support was amazing.

We went to visit the schools and then learned about how to plan a lesson It was so simple. We shared with volunteers from Denmark, India, Canada, Australia and Germany at the time. The kids are so happy to have you there. You will never feel more loved in your life. If you wish to travel on into India...Gaurav and Ravi will be happy to help. They are masters at planning and helping with any future travel plans. One of the amazing things about this program is the options for guided excursions to some of India’s most amazing
You have to do the camel safari..into the desert with a host family and sleep under the stars awaking to ride your camel into the dunes to see the sunrise. and don't miss the Taj Mahal! ..or the Tiger safari! Head to the never ending beaches in Goa or head north to the burning ghats of Varanasi. SAB Kuch Milega! ..all things possible. ..but the real reward is the smiles of the innocent children of the villages..The help and knowledge you give and the real love you take home. It’s not about what you get...it about what you give.”

Jasmine

“I was not sure what to do with my life before entering University and decided to volunteer in India. I am Canadian, but grew up in Japan. I made the best decision of my life! I fell in love with India.
I worked in the villages outside Udaipur and fell in love with this amazing part of India. I was totally supported in my adventure and saw the most amazing culture, met people that had nothing and gave me everything! I will never forget my students or my wonderful colourful adventure.”

Petricia

“The people behind the organization, take care of you in the best possible way, and you find friends for a lifetime. My experience with this organization, gave me knowledge about Indian culture, from different workshops. It is truly a magical experience to volunteer, one I will be doing many times from now on.  Don’t miss out on the founders excellent Indian Masala tea, rumours have it – it’s the best one in town.”
My dream has always been to experience India, and all the cultural sites. I wanted to come close to the community, the food, and the people and experience all the colours the country had to offer. I found that they showed me the best possible way to do this. I got to get close to the kids, at the same time I learned basic Hindi-skills to use in school.
I travelled to give something to the Indian kids, but I was not prepared for the gift, they were going to give me. It was the biggest gift to see their smiles. And the wonder you see in an Indian classroom, is not something you are going to be able to see in the rest of the world. I got memories for a lifetime.”

Claire

“Whilst working in India, I greatly valued Ravi’s enthusiasm and input in supporting me to teach my classes. Ravi was a lot of fun to work with and has a great sense of humour, which helped to inspire creativity within the lessons I taught with him. Ravi was also an excellent excursion co-ordinator, where once again, his sense of fun, adventure and humour always came through and made many trips so enjoyable! .... Whilst working with Gaurav, I observed that he shows great passion for his programme of work; in delivering community projects through structured, productive and meaningful volunteering. Gaurav has high standards and he is organized and dedicated to ensuring these standards are maintained when working with him. Whilst travelling in India, Gaurav was extremely helpful and supportive to me, and went out of his way to assist me in researching my planned journey and making bookings."


Sam

“I first met gaurav at the airport and was greeted by a big welcoming smile. He was with me for my entire india experience and i found him to be very knowledgable about his country and passionate about his cause. I have incredible memories of my time in india where we painted a day care together, sang songs with street kids, danced bollywood style and rode camels against an amazing india sunrise. Gaurav is a personable and funny guy and kept us informed and entertained along the journey.”

Jenny - 2012

“I volunteered on this teaching programme after falling in love with India on a holiday in 2010. It was a huge decision in 2012 to take eight weeks leave from work and travel independently to Udaipur but it was the best decision I have ever made in my life. Ravi and Gaurav, are two very special guys, whose passion in the work they do in their local community is so evident every day. Their ability to make you feel welcome and included in their home and the programme, no matter what your age or skills, is unmeasured.
Every need is covered from the airport pick up to your food and great accommodation in the local community and there are so many opportunities to see the wider India too. The most important part for me is the children. Lots of smiles and love and so many surreal heart stopping moments will happen here but be prepared there will be many tears too when you have to leave. ..as I said, best decision I have ever made....please give it a go, you won't regret it.”

Find out more about the Child Care project

 

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal