India

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I've just completed 4 weeks doing Sankalp's street kids programe, and I loved it! As an 18 year old with no prior teaching experience, I found the work extremely challenging, especially since the kids in my class were of mixed abilities. However, Amita and Pranay were hugely supportive in providing resources and ideas, and after the first week I was able to teach alongside my friend. So after 4 weeks with the kids, I feel I was able to make some progress with them which is very rewarding! I would definitely recommend Sankalp to anyone, I felt safe and secure for the duration of the programme, the accommodation is excellent and the food cooked by Puni is amazing. Overall the programme exceeded my expectations and I'm very sad to be leaving after such a short time!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Feb 28, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I have thouroughly enjoyed my 1 month stay at sankalp volunteering in Jaipur. The volunteer house exceeded my expectations and is a great place to chill out in with a communal dining area down stairs, a nice seating area on the second floor where you can watch a variety of western or Bollywood movies, and also an amazing rooftop where you can sit and enjoy the view of the city. The vegetarian food is also amazing thanks to the cook phuni, I am yet to be bored of a single one of her curries and am guaranteed to have put weight on during my stay. The house has a good atmosphere and I felt that they took many different precautions ensure the safety and well being of the volunteers which is reasuring , especially when you are in a new country for the first time. I was teaching in the street children project which has definetly had its challenges, however it has been a extremely rewarding experience. Originally I was with the youngest class which I felt unprepared for being only 18 I have had no previous teaching experience so I found them hard to control, especially because I didn't speak Hindi. However I am now with the 3rd class which I hope I have managed to make even a small difference to and I am going to be exreamly sad to leave them. The only thing I questioned about this project was stability for the kids with the teachers constantly changing meaning they are often starting a completely new topics (as there is not really a set curriculum) so I would reccomend to choose this project if you are planning to volunteer for an reasonable amount of time as it really allows you to get to know the children and what level they are at and its also great to see them progress.

Program:
Location: India
Posted: Feb 28, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I spent 4 weeks in Jaipur doing the Work & Travel program. I worked in the orphanage which was hard work but very rewarding! You grow to love the kids (the kids grow to love you) and I feel a month just wasn't enough! If I had more time, I would definitely have stayed for longer.
The first week was the hardest - settling in and getting used to the culture shock. However, the orientation delivered by Amita provided valuable information and advice which made me more comfortable and allowed me to gain a clearer perspective of Jaipur. Amita and Pranay were both very efficient, organised, kind and supportive throughout the whole trip. I always felt very safe and taken care of - especially food wise - thanks to Puni the cook who provided delicious, sizeable meals twice daily. I believe this program was of exceptional value.
Over all, the volunteer house was far beyond my expectations and my experiences, priceless.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Feb 10, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

Sankalp was a great experience. I wish I could have spent a much longer time volunteering, as it would have been so helpful for my students, aged 3-4, to have more continuity. I was only there for one week, but I would recommend 1 month minimum. The volunteer house was safe and clean and the staff were friendly and helpful. Puni was a fabulous cook and very cheery to have around. There wasn't one meal that I didn't enjoy and everything was vegetarian and healthy. The house was a great chance to meet like-minded people and feel comfortable and supported when exploring Jaipur, traveling on weekends, or getting advice on the volunteer position day to day. There were volunteers from all over the world, and when I was there, there were people aged 18-67. Quite the melting pot of humanitarians.
This was a useful glimpse into the education sector in India. School teachers are paid very little money and schools are ill-equipped with staff, supplies, support. The Sankalp school was very basic, but they provide the children with uniforms and a snack. I wish there had been more curriculum support or materials to design lessons with. It would be great if some volunteers focused on creating lessons, perhaps in their free time, or one day a week. Having written materials to go off of will help as volunteer teachers come and go, and when volunteers with little teaching experience could use ideas. That said, I very much appreciated the freedom I had to work with the children, one on one and in a group. Being thrown into a teaching situation is good experience, and it forces you to improvise and challenge yourself to do better the next day. The children are wonderful. You will not need much time to get used to them, as they smile, hug you and call you "Didi" (or Sir) from Day 1. I will remember this week forever, for sure,

Program:
Location: India
Posted: Feb 3, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I volunteered with Sankalp for one month doing the work and travel programme. What appealed to me most when choosing an organisation was Sankalps amazing reviews, this being my first time travelling outside a western country I was still apprehensive but the reviews are definitely accurate! Not only were Pranay and Amita friendly, inviting and supportive they were on the ball with any problem (if any) or worry we had. I volunteered in the orphanage and although it was extremely difficult the first week, I fell in love with all the kids there, I miss them so much already! They are so full of life, happiness and devilment - just as kids should be! The sweetest little things you'll ever meet in your life! The travel programme was a lot of fun too, the driving at times took it out of me personally but being from Ireland, I wouldn't be used to that many hours at one time in a car. We travelled to Agra, Rathambhore, Pushkar, Jaislamer and Jodhpur it was really great! One of the highlights for me was definitely the camal safari and sleeping under the stars in the desert! Just wow!! :) I would highly recommend Sankalp, what you see is what you get no rubbish! The volunteer house is comfortable and laid back and the food is spectacular! I will miss the food greatly!

Program:
Location: India
Posted: Feb 2, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I accompanied my 29 year old daughter to Jaipur to do a 2 week volunteer program with Sankalp and I must say it was a rewarding and educational experience. I had some reservations due to my age and I feared the "culture shock" a little, but these were quickly dispelled once I listened to Amita's detailed and carefully prepared orientation which covered Indian history, culture, religion as well as information about Sankalp, the actual programs and the city of Jaipur, and once I met the other volunteers. It was a joy to be in such a diverse group of people, young and old, from all over the world. We had so many outings together to discover the many sights of Jaipur, in the colourful and historical state of Rajasthan, and we shared lively discussions and meals together. The house is in a safe area, watched over by a security guard 24/7, and living conditions are spartan but adequate, with a private bath in every bedroom (2 bunk beds can accommodate 4 people in each room, although not all were full). Living the local lifestyle meant getting used to no chairs, only floor cushions with low tables in the common room when dining or relaxing, sometimes spotty wifi and frequent short power and water outages, but really these were all minor problems and everyone made the best of it. My advice is, don't bring too much, keep your packing light--there isn't a lot of room (dressers, shelves, etc) to put stuff. You won't use everything you think you need.

There are strict house rules enforced (9 pm curfew and 11 pm lights out) which I appreciated as it is important to maintain control over such a diverse group's comings and goings. Everyone was pretty good about cleaning up after themselves (wash your own dishes and cups) and keeping the small kitchen in fairly good order. Puni, the young cook, is fantastic at making a variety of vegetarian Indian meals. Food is plentiful and tasty, and there is always a roti or naan type bread, rice and one or 2 vegetable dishes in tasty sauces, Breakfast is on your own; there is a small kettle and a 2 slice toaster, and most people run to the grocery store close by to stock up on cereal, toast, snacks, milk etc.
Pranay and Amita who run the show here are always available to receive comments and requests and they really try their best to be accommodating. They try hard to make sure you have a good experience.
They arrange drivers who are trustworthy and very skilled at navigating the chaotic driving on the crazy busy and noisy roads here, which are shared by cars, motorbikes, bicycles, autorickshaws, cows, pedestrians and more!!
As for the teaching, I was lucky enough to do 1 week at the street kids program and 1 week at the government school. There is such a need at both of those places --facilities are non existent; only a few chalkboards and pencils and notebooks to work with, but the kids are keen and many are quick to learn. So many come from appalling living conditions and it is so nice to see them coming willingly to the school, hand in hand with their siblings wearing little uniforms provided by Sankalp. Those volunteers who stay a month or more probably get the most out of the experience, but even for me, after 2 weeks, it was difficult to walk away from those smiling faces and eager eyes. Their level of English is not that good, so there is a language barrier that prevents most volunteers from adequately explaining lessons quickly and efficiently, so patience is definitely a virtue!

I for one, can definitely recommend the experience, and I would suggest trying to couple it with some neat exploratory travel throughout India if possible, after or before the volunteering. It is a positive and eye opening experience!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jan 31, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I volunteered for 2 weeks at the Street Children Education Project in Jaipur, India, with Sankalp. It was a wonderful experience and definitely too short. (I would recommend at least 3-4 weeks if you can do that, not only for the benefit of a stable/continuous presence for the children you'll be working with, but also for a chance to spend time with the other volunteers and really get to know the great city and its surroundings).

The children at the Street Kids education project were beautiful, mischievious, bright, eager, and all the other regular "kid" ingredients you might expect from kids all over the world! I had a class of 9 kids and although you only do 3 hours per day (mornings from 9-30 to 1) it was exhausting and tiring but very worthwhile. The little progress I was able to make with them over the 2 weeks was really rewarding :) I only wish I could have stayed longer. I think the fact that volunteers come and go so frequently, and there's no curriculum they follow (except for the older class, which I didn't have) makes it difficult for a sustained learning progression for the kids --- so a handover between volunteers is really necessary and worthwhile. If you do this project you will surely love it; today was my last day and it was really, really difficult to leave.

The volunteer house is in a safe area and you can easily get downtown in about 30 minutes with a cheap tuk-tuk ride. When I was there, there were about 10 or 11 other volunteers. Rooms have two bunk-beds each, so 4 to a room. There is a communal dining space, as well as an upstairs TV lounge, and a great terrace. The house is basic and you may have fewer luxuries than you're used to but it is very comfortable and safe and best of all the atmosphere is a great one with a range of people (aged 19 to 67 when I was there!) from all over the world. It is sort of like living in a university residence again in that you need to do your dishes and keep the common areas tidy as you are sharing them with everyone - and everyone has different standards of cleanliness etc. But the group dynamic worked really well and we all lived together no problems during the weeks I was there.

The cook and house manager, Punima, is fantastic and makes really great veg meals, as well as being extremely friendly and chatty! I will miss her happy voice, big smile, loads of questions, and great meals. Amita and Pranay, who run the organisation (and whose office is on the same floor of the house where Punima cooks/sleeps) are very helpful and kind and I wish them the very best of luck with this endeavour.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jan 31, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I volunteered with Sankalp on their Street Kids Program and it has been an amazing experience.

This was the first time that I have volunteered abroad and from the moment I signed up everything has been efficiently and effortlessly taken care of. Sankalp (Amita and Pranay) arranged for a driver to meet me from Delhi Airport, and even though my flight was delayed by 4 hours I was greeted at the airport by a smiling man who drove me to the volunteer house in Jaipur.

On arrival at the house I was met by Puni, the “house manager” and amazing chef! And I was quickly introduced to the other volunteers. The volunteer house is well laid out and very homely. The rooms are based on 4 sharing with en-suite bathroom.

Before your program begins Amita provides a very comprehensive induction. Amita and Pranay are always on hand to help with anything.

As for the actual Street Kids Program, it is just amazing. So well organized and the children are just a joy to work with. Admittedly it is not easy work, some days can be quite stressful, but at the same time it just feels so rewarding and worthwhile.

The children in my class were aged from 7 – 10 and were just a fantastic bunch. In the morning we would work on their English and in the afternoon math. The children are so keen to learn which makes teaching much more fun. In 2 weeks I became so attached to them all and it was so sad saying goodbye, but I think I will definitely be back.

I really cannot recommend this program highly enough, it is such a wonderful experience and if you can make a difference to just one child’s life then it is definitely worthwhile.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jan 27, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I volunteered at the Street Children Project with Sankalp in Jaipur, Rajasthan for two weeks in the winter. It was an amazing experience on every level. The accommodations were great with filtered water, western bathrooms, and two meals served each day. Even after the hours volunteering I had plenty of time to tour the city in the afternoon and evenings and take a day trip to Agra on the weekend. The staff members are all extremely nice and the security is tight for your safety.
The Street Children Program itself was an amazing experience. I was able to really connect with the kids and notice improvements with their English and Math skills each day. Sankalp organizes the transportation to and from the volunteer location which is only 15 minutes each way so it is an easy commute.
I highly recommend this program to anyone thinking about volunteering in India!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jan 24, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I have volunteered in Jaipur for 6 weeks in October and November 2012.
The program I was working for is called "women's empowerment" and it aims to enhance girls' set-confidence through the learning of english language and computer skills.

The project was very well organized. We had our driver who drove us every day to the workplace and back to the house. The house is located in a safety area outside Jaipur, but you can easily get to the city center by bus.

It was definitely a fantastic program! We had the chance to experience life in a developing country, their culture and tradition. We worked from Monday to Friday and during the weekend we traveled around Rajasthan with the other volunteers.

I recommend India and this program if you want to volunteer abroad. It is a life-changing experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jan 21, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
8
Value:
8

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