Our healthcare volunteer program offers an exclusive opportunity to work in India with children and young adults with disabilities. You may assist specialist teachers with basic education at a special needs school which has an exclusive sensory room, specially created for those with mental and physical concerns. Other therapeutic activities you will be involved in include art and physical movement. You may also help to conduct classes at a community facility.
Disabilities often prevent children from full participation in childhood activities, family interactions, community activities and education. These problems become more complex when factors such as social stigma and poverty are taken into account. Parents with financial and educational disadvantage may be ignorant and unable to identify disability, and also unable to afford continuous treatment for the child with special needs.
In India, many parents have a negative attitude towards educating disabled children, as they feel that even if they were educated, there would be no future for them. Women and girls with disabilities have been especially neglected when it comes to research, state policies, and rehabilitation programs. Most report receiving no education.
To get involved in this program, you should be at least 18 years of age and be comfortable working with children with disabilities from 6 to 16 years of age. Ideally, you are a special education teacher or student, medical student, or a specialist such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
Our program comes recommended by ResponsibleTravel.com. You can be assured of your safety, as our well-trained field staff will be by your side each and every step of the way, offering 24/7 support and language translation. There will be airport pickup and a full area orientation and health and safety training on arrival, during which you will be given a list of nearest embassies and medical centres, and access to our in-country emergency helpline. Transport to and from the project will be pre-arranged.
Comfortable and clean homestay accommodation will be provided during your volunteering period, providing a great opportunity to live life in the local style and experience Indian culture. You will be sharing rooms with other volunteers. The house will have running water, electricity and western-style bathrooms. Dinner will be local Indian food prepared by your host family, but you will have to prepare your own breakfast and lunch.
The price of this program also covers all necessary project training, all necessary project equipment and materials, all transport during volunteering, and a weekend trip as specified, with meals, accommodation and transport included. Not included in the price are your flight, medical and travel insurance, visa costs, your personal kit, additional drinks and gratuities, extra local excursions, international and domestic airport taxes, and personal expenses.
Things to do in your free time
The program takes place in Kerala, South India. Stroll around the port town of Fort Kochi and discover the history and culture of Kerala: the Jewish Synagogue, St Francis Church (the oldest European Church in India), the Santa Cruz Basilica, which was built by the Portuguese, the spice market and the famous Chinese shore-operated fishing nets.
On weekends you may have the chance to go on a backwaters cruise – one of the 10 best things to do in India, according to Lonely Planet. Drifting through quiet canals lined with coconut palms, eating deliciously authentic Keralan food, meeting local villagers and sleeping on the water under a galaxy of stars - it's a must do !
There are also many other activities you may want to consider: get a tan or surf in Varkala or Goa; not only taste, but also learn to cook the delicious cuisine of South India; attend a Kathakali dance theatre show; and drift along in a houseboat on the lush backwaters of Allepey.