Family volunteering is becoming popular as parents are able to satisfy both their own travel desires to do something totally different whilst exposing their children to a meaningful cross cultural experiences.
India is one such place and in Udaipur, Northern Rajasthan, a charity has a variety of different placements on offer, ranging from just 2 weeks to 12 weeks, for volunteers of all ages as well as families.
Families can get involved in running fun pre-school sessions, or teaching basic English and Maths to primary schools and arranging after school activities for boys in an orphanage to help boost their skills, or health development programmes, or women’s empowerment including teaching the ladies to sew, or building refurbishment/construction every July….
These communities are set within the hill tribes of the Aravalli Hills and the children are the first of their families to attend school. Poverty is extreme. Homes have no water, electricity and the semi-desert terrain yields little in terms of vegetables. Families seem to survive with a few goats and chickens. It is not unusual to see a school child with a baby on their hip during school time as they have to look after the younger siblings if the mother is working and end up taking the babies to school.
Plenty of help is given at the Volunteer House and volunteers all follow a curriculum and have access to a store cupboard full of materials from which they can prepare their lessons and activities. Whilst the experience is particularly useful for anyone contemplating teaching or an existing teacher, anyone who is enthusiastic will be able to do it with the help given by the in-house staff.
The Volunteer House is modern, clean and comfortable and the volunteers return every lunch time for a delicious vegetarian meal and a rest before embarking on their afternoon activities.
Some local excursions are included in the placement fee and, depending on how long you stay, excursions to the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore Tiger Park and Jodhpur tribes in the desert can be booked.
Udaipur itself is often called the Venice of the East as the oldest part of the city is crumbling and oozing in charm and overlooks Lake Pichola. The narrow streets are teaming with life (both human and animal!) and there is plenty to explore in your free time.
I went in February with my daughter Sera who is 28 (see above) and the dry heat in the late 70’s was very agreeable! We had a very special time together. Just what you want during the English winter!