1 independent reviews for School renovation volunteering in India

Reviews for School renovation volunteering in India

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review 8 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Getting an impression of the lifestyle and people of the Fort Kochi area.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Very important: Make sure that you have a clear understanding with the organisers about what you will be doing during your volunteer time, and whether there are days when it will not be possible to do any volunteer work. Less important: Although you need to wear 'conservative' clothing during volunteer hours, you will want to take sufficient shorts/sundresses to use around the house. Ask about the possibility to pay a supplement to get the one air conditioned bedroom, particularly if you are there in the hot period!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We (myself and my 16 year old son) signed up for this trip so that he could see a new part of the world but also to do something useful for the local community, during his two-week spring school vacations. Unfortunately, the volunteering work was not well structured. Based on what we requested and what was described to me in a phone conversation before signing up, we expected to do school renovation work, but in fact we only spent three days (of ten 'working' days) sanding and repainting some walls, that did not necessarily need repainting. (Also, we were not provided with masking tape to protect the edges so the result was not very tidy.... and we spent lots of time trying to clean up stray paint on the borders/floor so that at least it was not worse than when we arrived!) On the other days we were either sent to help teach English or told that because of local vacations we could not do volunteer work. I hope that our contribution to the teaching was useful, but we did not come with materials from home, and because of the ad hoc nature of the daily assignments, we were not able to ensure continuity with whatever the children had learned before. I suppose overall the kids benefitted from contact with people from other countries, but could have benefitted more with better organisation. I came away with the feeling that the volunteer activities were being offered as a way to attract participants - who would also book weekend tours, explore the region, etc - rather than being at the heart of the experience.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

On balance, it was a good two weeks with two side trips (the Munnar hill station region and the backwaters) during the long Easter weekend and plenty of time to wander around Fort Kochi, but it did not live up to expectations in terms of a volunteering experience. (I went on a previous volunteering vacation 4 years ago in another Asian county with my daughter and that was much more structured.) A new staff member arrived two days before we left, and maybe he will bring some more order to the activities (and also to the daily living arrangements - for example, some evenings there was not sufficient food left by the cook for everyone present for the evening meal). Airport pickup and departure went smoothly as planned.

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