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Category: Volunteering, gap year and career break in India

This is a great voluntary project if you love working with babies and young children and want some hands on experience! You will be involved with the day to day running of the Orphanage and help the nurses wash, feed and play with the children.   

The Orphanage is a home for victims of female infanticide and abandoned children. There are around 20 children at the orphanage, but this number changes frequently as new children are brought in or are adopted.

Minimum duration is 1 week.


PRICES Please see the Prices Page - prices for all projects and all lengths are listed and you can also choose which currency you'd like to see them in.
Start Dates Available all year round, subject to school holidays, but you can choose your start and finish dates.
Duration From 1 week up to 6 months, subject to visa requirements
Requirements You don't need any qualifications to do this project, just lots of love for children.
What's included
  • Arranging your Programme
  • Full pre-departure support and assistance
  • Payment Protection Insurance
  • Meeting you at Madurai Airport
  • Transfer to your accommodation
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Local in-country team support and backup
  • 24-hr emergency support.
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Cost of Visas (if a visa is required)
  • Daily transport to and from your project
  • Return transfer to the airport
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities.



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The main care centre is a home for victims of female infanticide and abandoned children. Their mission is to help them first to survive and then to ensure the right of the child to a family. There are around 20 children at the orphanage, but this number changes frequently as new children are brought in or are adopted.

Some of the children were found abandoned in churches or temples and others are surrendered by their parents. The children are all in desperate need of tender loving care ... and this is where you come in!

Your work will be very hands-on as you will be dealing with all of the children - be prepared to get very grubby!! Your work load and responsibilities will depend on your abilities and attitude to your work and you'll assume more responsibilities as you grow in confidence and as the staff's confidence in you grows. Your work may include some or all of the following:

  • Helping the staff wash and dress the older children
  • Bottle feed the babies
  • Changing nappies
  • Feeding the older children
  • Teaching basic English and Maths
  • Teaching the older children nursery rhymes
  • Organising and facilitating games for the children

By playing games with the children you also encourage confidence building. It also encourages children to use English in an informal way, and even with the younger children it gives them exposure to the language at an early age. Playing games may seem irrelevant on the surface, but it helps to build up team spirit and skills, leadership skills, dexterity and quick thinking, and a healthy competitive spirit. It also gives them a more developed ability to interact with their peers.

For many of the older children, you are able to integrate education into games and also help with homework etc. Where children are not taught at the orphanage you will help these on their return from school in the afternoon.

Volunteers normally work at the orphanage in the mornings when it is at its busiest and the additional help that you provide is really appreciated. You can take your lunch with you and eat with the staff and finish after the babies are fed at 2pm. You can choose to work longer hours but it is very exhausting and challenging work and you may appreciate the afternoon off to relax and unwind.

"Your tasks are fairly routine and repetitive, but really you’re there to give the children individual attention that the full-time nurses don’t always have time to provide. That’s the most important thing you’ll do there – may not feel like much, but it’s so important for them as some of the children’s’ social skills and ability to interact with people are a bit poor. Plus it’s very rewarding to just be there to make them laugh and feel a bit loved! AAliki Salter

You may also have the opportunity to work at a boy’s home in the evenings. The boys are aged between 7 to 18 years of age and all of them attend local schools during the day and return to the home in the evenings. The boys aren't orphans, rather they live at the home and go back to their families only in the holidays. After school, they have a few chores and then there is an hour of play time. At this time you can go along and interact with them by organising games (they love cricket and football!) or just going to chat to them.

When the games session is over, there is an hour and a half of study time. You can choose to stay and help them with their homework at this time or help them practice their conversational English. Again, this is a very rewarding project and the boys with be overjoyed to meet you.


Please keep in mind that school holidays can change unexpectedly with very little notice given. Although at times this can be quite inconvenient, most of our volunteers use the opportunity to travel around and explore the country.

  • First Term Vacation: 26 September to 6 October 2015
  • Gandhi’s birthday: 2 October 2015
  • Bakrid: 3 October 2015
  • Diwali Holiday: 21 to 23 October 2015
  • Second Term Vacation: 24 December 2015 to 3 January 2016
  • Pongal Holiday: 14 to 17 January 2016
  • Republic Day: 26 January 2016
  • Good Friday: 25 March 2016
  • Summer Vacation: 11 April to 4 June 2016
  • Idu’l Fitr : 5 July 2016
  • Independence Day: 15 August 2016

Exam Periods: (approx):

  • Quarterly Exams: 18 to 25 September 2015
  • Half Yearly Exams: 10 to 23 December 2015
  • Annual Exams: 2 to 11 April 2016 (although teaching is limited from Mid March)

Exam Periods: (approx):

  • Quarterly Exams: 11 to 21 September 2013
  • Half Yearly Exams: 3 to 13 December 2013
  • Annual Exams: 1 to 14 April 2014





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For a complete Indian experience we'll arrange for you to stay with a wonderful host family. All of our hosts are very welcoming and not only will be made to feel part of the family you’ll also gain a great insight into Indian culture and customs. Many of our volunteers remain friends with their host families long after they leave India.

You may share a room with two or three other volunteers and in most homes you'll have an en-suite Western-style bathroom. Most of the showers in our host accommodation are cold water only – however your hosts will boil water for you. All of our host family houses are close together and just a few minutes’ walk away from internet cafes, banks and snack shops and just a short auto ride into the centre of town. Our staff in Madurai also live close-by.

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Caare for Children with Learning and Physical Disabilities in India
Cooking together in the host family accommodation


You can explore quaint waterways, beautiful sandy beaches, and meander through forests and coconut groves, take a ride on an elephant and visit ancient temples.

MADURAI - Madurai is known by many names; ‘Jasmine city’ for the famous jasmine flowers that are cultivated here, ‘the city of Nectar’, Legend tells of a river of nectar that flowed after blessing from Lord Shiva, and the ‘Temple City’, Madurai really does have a temple or shrine on practically every street but it is most famed for the Sri Meenakshi Sundeswarar Temple. Approximately 10,000 people visit it every day!

Madurai is located on Vaigai River and is filled with pilgrims, market stalls and tourist shops. Children will stop you on the streets to chat to you and shake your hand and even ask for your autograph!

TRIVANDRUM - is the capital of the gorgeous state of Kerala and lies on the west coast. Kerala is known as 'God's own country' and the locals refer to the food as 'God's own food in God's own country' - with such a reputation, this is definitely an experience you shouldn't miss!! The city is built on 7 hills by the shore near the southern tip of mainland India. It's very popular with local and international tourists because it has so much - beaches, temples, mountains, rivers, museums and zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, palaces waterfalls ... the list is endless.

KODAIKANAL/OOTY - For a bit of cool relief, take a trip to the hill station of Kodaikanal, just 4 hours away from Madurai. A different world - breathtaking mountains, a picturesque lake with a wide range of activities on offer from horse riding, rowing, cycling, trekking. A trip to Ooty with its tea plantations should not be missed – ride the toy train for spectacular views over the Palani hills.

PONDICHERRY & MAHABALIPURUM - In the French quarter you will find leafy boulevards and restaurants serving European cuisine. The famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram is also to be found here. Just 14kms away is the commune of Auroville; stay in a tree house on the beach for a magical experience. 2 hours north is the delightful fishing town of Mahabalipurum famed for its shore temple and rock carvings.

KERALA has been named ""Gods own Country" by the locals for its stunning scenery, wildlife, beautiful beaches, picture postcard towns and the breaktaking backwaters. It is also the home of Ayurveda medicine, an ancient system using essential oils and vigorous massage to aid medical complaints or just for pampering. Explore delightful Fort Cochin with its famous Chinese fishing nets, souvenir shops, art cafes and Jewish quarter; explore some of Kerala's backwaters - an intricate network of rivers and smaller tributaries around Kochi.

Kerala also has one of the best wildlife parks in the country; Periyar. Jungle trekking and jeep safari’s take you off the beaten track in the hope of spotting an elusive tiger although you are more likely to see elephants, boar, monkeys and many species of birds. You can also take an elephant ride, boat ride, visit spice and tea plantations, watch martial arts – it’s an action packed weekend and only 4 hours from Madurai!

GOA is famous for its expanse of beaches, from big touristy ones to smaller, quieter and more picturesque beaches towards the south of Goa, where travellers and long term European residents congregate. In these tiny beach resorts, the beaches are almost deserted and you can mix with locals and tourists whilst lazing in the sun.

MUMBAI is a huge modern city. Bollywood cinema originated in this huge city and has become a major part of life here. The famous Chowpatty beach is where you can often see young Bollywood stars relaxing at sunset. The rest of the city is just as chaotic as other parts of India, with overflowing markets, bazaars and lots and lots of people! From Mumbai you can visit Elephanta Island, home to ancient temples depicting holy scenes that have been cut away from the rock and also Ajanta Caves.

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Riding an elephant in India