2 independent reviews for Over 50s volunteering in India

Reviews for Over 50s volunteering in India

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review 21 Jan 2017

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

Just being in Kerala was the first totally wonderful thing! I loved the buzz of life in and around Fort Kochi while we were working at the women's project, and equally enjoyed a beautiful short trip to the more peaceful hills and plantations around Munnar. The project staff were all so hospitable and generous, and keen to make sure that we had a great experience all round.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Come prepared to be delighted; also be prepared for things to change at short notice, and go with the flow. Research in advance the attractions or places you might like to visit, as well as finding out when you arrive what there is and local transport connections, so you can use your free time well.

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

I'm sure that the English language and conversation sessions we held at the Women's Empowerment Project were generally enjoyable and perhaps boosted the participants' confidence in interacting with people from different cultures, but I don't think I provided any benefit beyond that. They meet a constant stream of volunteers, and without a structured programme or objective (for example writing a c.v. for a job or study application, or learning business skills to set up a Homestay or other tourist service), or more continuity of longer-term hands-on staff or volunteers, it's hard to see how the project in its current form is providing lasting benefit to the participants or the local economy. But it has great potential, I think it just needs a bit more structure and continuity.

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

Truly wonderful!

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your constructive feedback. It is difficult to provide a regimented structure as the women find it quite daunting as all they really want to come for is to practice speaking English. We wanted to bring the women out of their homes and this class is to give them an opportunity to learn through interaction. This does make it challenging for our volunteers. What we are building on is a structured English class delivery and life skills sessions which are useful to the ladies but also give some weekly structure to our volunteers. Business Skill development is also on the agenda and we will surely work on this as well. We most certainly welcome volunteers with appropriate skills to also come and help with this.

review 4 Jan 2017

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

The people, the children, the colours, the food, the sunsets.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go for it! Initially I felt unprepared, however it was all in my head, everything that I needed was there.

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

It was two way ... it benefitted local people and me. I would like to have seen a reduction in environmental impact but that was not evident or possible in the two weeks I was there.

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

I highly recommend the experience of joining Volunteering Journeys in Fort Kochin, Kerala. It was a good introduction to the life, culture and people of Fort Kochin. Initially on arrival I was a little overwhelmed and felt unprepared, however, with Geetha’s positive encouragement, along with a couple of trips out with the other lovely volunteer, Stefane, and on discovering the learning material available at the volunteers’ home, I got a sense of direction and understanding of where we were ‘at’. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the children, they are just so sweet. And, I also enjoyed chatting with the women about Ayurvedic spices etc. and life in Kerala. Geetha was so welcoming and conscientious about her work and has a nice team of Keralan peope working with her … Midhu, Lakshmi and Gina. Yes, there were some challenges … normal I would say, nothing that could not be resolved e.g. communication, mosquitoes!, driving! The lack of facilities for recycling, collecting plastic, composting organic waste (that I could see) in Fort Kochin and on the backwaters was disturbing. At least in the house the volunteers stayed in we had a water filter which helped cut down on all the plastic water bottles being added to the garbage pile. I missed Kerala when I got home … the colours, the gentle polite Keralan people, the beautiful friendly children, the interesting Volunteers, the warm weather, the beautiful sunsets, the food, and Gina’s lovely Keralan breakfasts and lunches at the volunteers’ house. Thank you everyone for the lovley experience and memories which I brought home with me.

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