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Teaching Underprivileged Children in Rajasthan

Internship and Volunteering Possible
Girls from poorer families often do not go to school in Rajasthan. The empowerment centers of a non-profit trust offer them opportunities for an education in the poorest districts of Jodhpur and the desert village of Setrawa. Interns and volunteers teach English, sewing, give homework tutoring and organize activities and workshops.

What is your placement organisation doing?

In Rajasthan, girls from poor families often don't attend school, as they have to help with housework, engage in child labour, or have to assist their mother with attending younger siblings. This especially happens if the school is located far away, as reaching it would take some time, forcing them away from family duties.
To cater to these less fortunate girls, the trust's Empowerment Centres are located in the middle of the poorer neighbourhoods of Jodhpur and at a village in the desert, making it easier to convince local families to at least allow their daughters to receive some education for a few hours.
The trust has its headquarters located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan's second largest city and a branch at the village of Setrawa in the Thar desert, located some 100 km from Jodhpur. The trust is primarily active in women's empowerment, but also includes education for children, girls and women.
A placement in Setrawa can be combined with a placement in Jodhpur.

Centers in Jodhpur

At several Empowerment Centres in Jodhpur, girls and women from the age of 10 to 30 are taught Reading and Writing (Hindi, English), basics of Mathematics, Personality Development, Team Building and Vocational Skills such as sewing and embroidery, from Mondays to Saturdays. There are workshops about topics including women's rights, health, nutrition and further educational possibilities such as computer skills. Volunteers and interns can teach and carry out workshops.
In Jodhpur, the trust also has a Boarding House, where children from Setrawa can stay, making it possible for them to attend a good school in Jodhpur. This is financed by donors. Volunteers and interns help them with their homework in the afternoons and spend some leisure time with them.
Since April 2012, the trust has been conducting the empowerment and education program at the public home "Balika Grah", a home for around 30 girls aged 0 to 16 years, who are from broken families. Their parents are either in jail, deceased, or for different reasons, not able to care for them.
For two hours per day, volunteers teach them English, sewing, help the girls who attend school with their homework, and arrange activities and workshops that aim to improve their self-confidence, personality development and education levels.
For volunteers and interns, a work schedule will be worked out, allowing you to teach for several hours at various centres in Jodhpur.

Teaching in Setrawa

In the tab "Rajasthan", you can watch a video on the placement in Setrawa (Two Volunteers describe their experiences)
In the village of Setrawa in the Thar Desert, the trust runs an Empowerment Centre where volunteers and interns can teach children in reading, writing, English, Maths, general knowledge and personality development. Children who attend school get extra classes in the afternoon and help with their homework.
The children who are up to 13 years old (boys and girls) arrive at the centre every morning at 11. Half an hour is spent on washing the children who live in houses without water supply.
The children attending these morning classes don't attend public school, because their parents cannot afford it. Classes are until 3.00 p.m.
There are 3 members in the staff - local teachers teaching Maths, English and Hindi. The foreign volunteers/interns usually teach English and/or Maths; they also participate in the Hindi lessons and sing religious songs with the children in Hindi. This is expected, in order to demonstrate their willingness to integrate into Indian society.
Depending on the number of children and number of volunteers/interns, the group of children is typically split into different levels of English. As most of the children only have basic English skills, the focus is on simple vocabulary and practical use of spoken English.
At around 4:15 pm, students (only girls) come to the centre for 3-4 hours to get extra classes or help with their homework. They come to the centre on their own and are very motivated, which makes teaching easier. There are around 20 girls who are also split in sub-groups depending on their level of English.
In Rajasthan, if girls fails exams at school, they are usually released from school. The trust tries to ensure that this does not happen and additionally pays school fees for 36 girls.
Once per week, volunteers/interns give workshops about a variety of topics that they can choose themselves, such as team building, talent, arts, painting the school, making posters, etc. You can be active and creative about this.
The local teachers are professional and good, and in fact don't need the help of foreign volunteers to offer an acceptable level of classes; however, it is very enriching for the students if foreign volunteers/interns participate, with different educational approaches and different cultural aspects which motivate and fascinate the students.
Accommodation in Setrawa is with host families. You will fully immerse into the society, hospitality and culture of Rajasthan. During the summer months, because of the massive heat, the whole family usually sleeps on the rooftop.
Info Box
Location: Jodhpur or Setrawa, Rajasthan
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 1 Month
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: Hindi
In Jodhpur: Guest House; in Setrawa: Village House
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Social Worker, Teacher, Psychologist
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Further Contribution To Project: None (there is a charge for supervised psychology internships - see "Psychology">"Psychology Internship in Jodhpur")
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: None
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?

Review by Vanessa

One year ago I have decided to go to India as a volunteer. I haven’t decided because of doing lots of research. No, it was kind of a “gut decision”. I had from the beginning on a very good feeling to volunteer with the Trust.
I was lucky, that on that weekend, when I have arrived in Jodhpur, was the monthly meeting of all volunteers and other members. So I had a chance to get a view about the size of the organisation and more important to get the chance to meet everyone straight away. It seemed to be like a big family. The other volunteers answered me all my questions about the school in Setrawa and my job description and everything else. So I had a good start.
Rob, Laura, Sophie and Caspar who were the other volunteers in Setrawa were great and took me with them on the Bus ride to Setrawa. After we arrived in Setrawa Usha welcomed us very nicely. Well, she didn’t know, that there will come another Volunteer, but that was no problem for Usha.
My first day in the school was lovely. The kids sang a beautiful welcome song for me and the kids hugged me straight away and asked me all this questions. In this moment, I knew, that this two month will be an unforgettable time.
Because we were so many volunteers at that time, we decided, that I will assist the other volunteers with their lessons in the Butterfly Class and Peacook Class. Which was a good way to get a feeling for teaching, because I haven’t done that before. By that possibility I was able to get some nice ideas to teach in a funny and interesting way.
After about two weeks some of the other volunteers left and I had finally the possibility to show what I have learned. In my Butterfly Class I have taught kids in age from 6-7 years the numbers 1-20 to write, to speak and to use. I made a combination with playing some number games and lessons and after a short time they understood, what I was talking about. That was a good feeling.
The kids of my peacock class were a little bit older and really clever. It was fun for me to create every day the lessons, that they get entertained and are learning at the same time. Because these kids are willing to learn.
I celebrated my birthday in Setrawa, which was one of my best birthdays. The kids were singing for me all day and I even got some little flower from the kids and little presents. Sophie brought me chai in the morning. In the evening we lighted up a lantern, while I was allowed to wish something. It was such a nice day!
When one of us wanted to make a trip to Jodhpur or Jaisalmer over the weekend Usha's family was always helpful to bring us safe to the bus station or to pick us up. Usha let us know in every kind of things, what we can do and what we shouldn’t. Because the life in the village is different than in a city like Jodhpur. But it took just a short time to get used to it.
I loved the singing at the beginning of every peacock class and the workshops every weekend. Us volunteers had the possibility to show our creativity. My favourite workshop was also my last workshop. We invited everyone in the village, who was interested to come to the centre, where we invited them for chai, biscuits and some fruits. We told them about our work in the school and about all the other projects. The kids have proudly shown their parents the notebooks. At the beginning, we have thought, that we have to eat all the fruits and biscuits on our own, because no one appeared but suddenly many people from the village came. I have never seen the school that full of people. Everyone was excited. Same as I. We sang songs together and everyone was happy. Because it was my last day I had the possibility to say good bye to the kids. Usha told me to say some words to them, that she can translate. I told them, how much I enjoyed my stay and how much I loved to teach, to play and to laugh with them. For me it was really emotional, that I brought out some tears. And when I saw some tears in the eyes of my kids from the peacock class it touched my heart even more.
I can’t believe that the time ran so quickly and two month are already over. It was one of the best experiences I have made in my life. I am sure I will never forget Usha, her lovely family, Pooja, the other volunteers and all the kids who could also teach me, that you don’t need much, to be happy. Just little things can make your life wonderful. And I am sure, that I will come back one day! I am already looking forward to it.
Thank you for an unforgettable time.

Review by Jenni

Wow, I can't believe how fast time flies when you do something that you really like and enjoy.

The two months I stayed in Jodhpur were a very special time and experience for me. I´ve never volunteered before and only knew what other volunteers had told me about their experience. Now that I have come to India and worked with the girls and women, I completely understand how wonderful you can feel when you try and make (at least) a little difference.
In the mornings I went to the girls orphanage “Sisters for Sisters”. Together with Divya, I taught the older girls English, supporting the English skills learnt in their school lessons. They learnt the tenses (simple past, simple present, simple future) and we practised their reading and speaking abilities. We played some english-tende-games and sang little songs (like english-rhymes). It was great to see that the girls really enjoyed it.
As well as the “game day” every Friday where the girls had the chance to colour, play games and just spend the time with us, we gave the girls a lice-treatment once a week. Since lice are a big problem in the orphanage we picked the girls one after the other and washed and combed their hair.
My second project was located in the Muslim area of Jodhpur, “Brothers for Sisters”. I took over the “beginners group” and taught English to around 16 girls and young women between the age of 6 and 30 years. We started with the very easy basics, the alphabet, the days of the week, the numbers until 100 and the body parts. I wanted to help them in their daily lives, so we practised short and easy conversations including “useful words”.

Every Wednesday we had a workshop with all classes together where the girls had the opportunity to learn something about the world (like the climate o-zone, the water circle,...) or to be creative, For example, we made a personal dairy with the girls to improve their self-esteem. Every girl designed their own book and could write their very own feelings, dreams and goals of life in this dairy.
It was wonderful to see how interested and motivated the girls and young women participated the classes every day and how new friendships started between them.
My time in India went by too fast. I will always remember it as a wonderful, unforgettable and precious/valuable experience.
It is difficult to plan anything for the future as I first have to finish my university back home, but I would love to get the chance to come back to India at some point of life and maybe volunteer again, I really wish!!
For everybody else considering volunteering, I recommend working with the trust since I really enjoyed my stay in Jodhpur and my work with the girls and women. Also I made many wonderful friends by meeting all the volunteers, the Sambhali-staff and everybody involved to the wonderful guesthouse “Durag Niwas”.
Thank you a lot for letting me be a part of the family!! :)

Accommodation in Jodhpur and Setrawa



Guest House in Jodhpur:

Accommodation in Jodhpur is at a guest house of high standard, which is run by our partner Sambhali Trust, and where more volunteers/interns live. There are single and double rooms on the ground floor and the first floor with ceiling fans and/or Indian cooler. All rooms have a private bathroom. Our participants get full boarding (3 meals a day) + free drinking water. Wifi is also included. There is also access to a complementary washing machine, iron board, refrigerator, and house kitchen. Linen and towels are provided at no extra cost. If the house is fully occupied, we organize a homestay in Jodhpur.

Acccommodation in Setrawa:

In Setrawa (village in the Thar Desert), our participants live in a house of simple standard with full boarding. The local Indian food is cooked by a neighborhood woman. In the neighborhood there is also telephone and wifi internet. During the hot months (March-October), with daytime highs between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius (100-122 Fahrenheit) and night temperatures of about 24-30 degrees (75-86 F), participants in Jodhpur and Setrawa often sleep on the roof.
Volunteers in Setrawa also often drive on the weekends to Jodphur, where there are accommodation costs of about 450-600 Rs/night; so the total cost per month for bus, accommodation and food should be expected to be slightly higher.

I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
 wu servicepackage
1 Person
450 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 750 EUR 850 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR 700 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype, together with further participants
  • Arrangements of the Documents you need for your Visa Application and assistance with local registration (if required) but not the official government fees for the visa (See costs below)
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Jodhpur Airport (JDH) on arrival and departure
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Jodhpur
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day. This is done by long-term volunteers, the so called "volunteer coordinators" who will also introduce you to your project work
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • Local SIM Card with 600 Rs. airtime credit
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • Donation of 50 USD (in domestic currency) to your placement organization (in case of charitable organizations)
  • Costs for 10 seedlings of indigenous trees that we plant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Jodhpur (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
Rates in Indian Rupees! Convert Currency Short-time stay
(1-31 Days)
Long-time stay
(32-365 Day)
(You pay proportionally per day)
In Jodhpur
Guest House on Full Board
1 Person*
(Single Room)
32,000 Rs/Month
2 Persons p.p.*
(Double/Twin Room)
- 22,000 Rs/Month
Bed at a 4-share dorm room   15,000 Rs/Month
In Setrawa
House of Simple Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Sharing double room)
- 12,000 Rs/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
- 12,000 Rs/Month
If available, also single persons might choose to be accommodated sharing with another participant. For incomplete months you pay proportionally per day.
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • Visa around 130 EUR (160 USD); to apply for prior to your travel
  • Insurances around 20-40 EUR (30-50 USD)/Month

How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer, credit card or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR / 250 USD when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package.
The payment modalities for rent and possible further costs (e.g. internship supervision fees, as stated in info box of the respective project description) depend on your host country and placement. We will inform you beforehand. In many cases these costs are paid on site, but for some countries and placements they need to be paid partially or fully in advance.

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

Rajasthan - The Land of the Kings

Rajasthan is located in the North-West of India and means "Land of the Kings". More than 2500 years ago, tribes built cities, and kingdoms were formed, which existed until the British colonial time in the 19th century. The largest state of India, in terms of area, is determined by the landscapes of the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range, which are rich in forts and palaces of the Rajput kings. Due to its natural beauty and cultural heritage, Rajasthan is today, one of India's most popular travel destinations. Jaipur is part of the so-called "Golden Triangle", consisting of the cities of Agra (Taj Mahal), Delhi and Jaipur, which is part of every round trip in northern India.
Jaipur is known as the "Pink City" due to the dominant color of its buildings. The 3 million-people city has numerous forts, palaces and temples. Jaipur is also known for its jewelry industry. More than 14,000 people produce jewelery made of metal, stone and rubber lacquer, typically at small backyard workshops, which are sold all over the world.
Jodhpur is called the "blue city" due to the colour of its houses. The city is overlooked by the mighty Meherangarh Fort. There is also a university in Jodhpur.
Setrawa is a village in the Thar desert, located around 100 km north of Jodhpur. A problem in Rajasthan is the scarcity of water. In the Thar desert, the only annual rains pour down in the form of heavy thunderstorms during the months of July to September, when temperatures normally go up to 50 degree Celsius. Traditionally, the water of these hot summer months are stored in ponds that are the shape of a half moon, called Johad. In the patriarchal society of the rural regions, women are denied access to education and social life.

Our Coordinator in Rajasthan

In Jaipur, Hasmik with her team will welcome you and provide support for you. In Jodphur and Setrawa our coordinator is Govind from Sambhali Trust.

Recreational Activities in Rajasthan

Jaipur and Jodhpur can count with a large number of forts, palaces, temples, historical and natural history museums, and gardens and parks that you can visit. At both cities you can also take part in yoga classes, cooking lessons, Indian dance session, and join other cultural activities.
It is of course also recommended to travel around other parts of Rajasthan.

Music Video with the girls of Sambhali Trust in Jodhpur

In this music video, shot on the streets of Jodhpur, the girls of Sambhali Trust (with whom we arrange volunteering) sing and play. It communicates very well the mood of the city of Jodhpur!

Video of Setrawa/Sambhali Trust

Karina and Kerry, volunteers from South Africa, speak about their experience in the school of Sambhali Trust in the desert village of Setrawa. They also tell about life in the village.

Getting To Jaipur, Jodhpur and Setrawa

india map
Jaipur: Jaipur has a large international airport. It is best if you book your flight directly there. From Jaipur Airport (JAI) our local team will pick you up and bring you to your accommodation in Jaipur.
Jodhpur: You book a flight to Jodhpur (JDH) where you will be picked up from the airport by our local team and taken to your accommodation in Jodhpur.
Setrawa: You will book a flight to Jodhpur (JDH) where you will be picked up from the airport by our local team. You willI spend the first 1-2 days in Jodhpur, where you get an introduction and will then be driven to Setrawa.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. You may want to avoid travelling during the festival holidays of Holi and Diwali. We can pick you up from Jodhpur airport even at night. If your project is in Setrawa, you may spend the first couple of nights in Jodhpur for an induction.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion or during holidays. In India, it is possible to travel around with an Internship visa.
When is the rainy season and can I travel to India during this time?
The monsoon begins in early June in Kerala, Mumbai, in mid-June and the Himalayan region, early to mid-July and ends in September. The Thar Desert in Rajasthan (location Setrawa), barely gets rain during the monsoon and Jodhpur is rather dry.
During the monsoon, it usually rains heavily for several hours every day. As a result, there are often floods in the streets of the cities, because the drains cannot absorb the amounts of water. An internship or volunteering is possible during the monsoon, and the only nuisance will probably be wet clothes and shoes, which are often difficult to dry because of the high humidity. You might want to carry a few extra shoes and a change of clothes with you (or buy them locally). You can even buy an umbrella or a raincoat locally. An advantage to traveling during the monsoon, is that the fares are cheaper and accommodation during the off season is cheaper.
Can I travel to India as a young woman alone? The media constantly reports of rape - how high is the risk?
For decades, India has been a safe country for women and now the impression, given by the media, is that the number of rapes has skyrocketed and India is unsafe for women. More cases are coming into light now, as women previously would not speak about rape, but are now empowered to do so. Compared to the number of cases in relation to the huge population of India (almost twice as many as the whole of Europe), even if projections of unreported cases are included, there is much less rape than in many other countries. There are 2 cases that happen per 100,000 inhabitants in India (in comparison: Central Europe: 8.1 cases; 14.7 cases in Latin America; 28.6 cases per 100,000 population in the US).
Of course you have to be careful as a woman, as far as the style of dressing and dealing with local men are concerned. In schools, boys and girls are often strictly separated and many young men have no experience in dealing with women who are not their own mother or sisters; your behavior, based on dealing with Western men, might be misinterpreted as “easy” or “loose” behaviour.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Jodhpur?
Sambhali Trust is our only project option in Jodhpur. Here, there are several other Organizations that provide interns and volunteers and so, there will always be others who you can share an accommodation with in Jodhpur or Setrawa.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
You find housing options in the tab "Accommodation".
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
Yes, there is wifi internet at the guest house in Jodhpur. In Setrawa, internet can be shared from a neighbouring house.
How can I do my laundry?
There are many laundromats in Jodhpur that wash clothes by hand and neatly iron them for a price per unit (e.g. trousers, shirts, sheets, towels, etc.). It is best to ask around for a good laundromat and negotiate rates, especially if you have a lot of laundry to be done on a regular basis. In Setrawa, you can ask at your accommodation, for someone who will do the laundry for a fee.
Can I cook in the accommodation?
No, but food is included at the accommodations.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, India is a paradise for vegetarians. Almost all restaurants are clearly marked, whether they are vegetarian ("Veg") or not ("Non-Veg"), and there are separate menus. About 40% of Indians are vegetarians.
What language skills do I require?
You must be able to understand and make yourself understood in English.

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