Odette Crisp, from Australia, traveled to India, and worked as a volunteer on women empowerment in Jaipur with IKPVA. In this interview she tells us, how she had the idea to do something different, apart from tourist travel as usual. Before departure, she shaved her hair to raise funds for the women and the children who were her beneficiaries. When she arrived in India and met the women, she found out pretty soon, that what they wonted most, was to learn English. She ended up falling in love with India and had an amazing experience with the women in Jaipur.
Why did you choose to come here to Jaipur India?
Odi: Originally I wanted to come to India to do a Yoga course, and I decided if I was gonna come to somewhat which is só different, from Australia to travel like a typical Westener and get involved with something that I’ve never really done before, like doing something meaningful with my life. And like helping people, and being envolved in community … and experiencing something you never had is really important. Spirit….
Odi, you have been here for two weeks already. How would you describe your experience here in India?
Odi: It is here, at first it was like such a (laughing) a culture shock and I wasn’t very well adjusted about things, like a baby. But it has been like the most amazing life changing experience.
Which project did you choos from Iko Porann?
I chose the women empowerment project.
How was it?
Amazing. Like, the women and girls have been supportive, and attentive, loving and nice…
Here are some of the women… What were you teaching to them?
At first, it was Art, but then, all they wanted to know was English. Yeah.
So, can you please share, what level of English you taught and, overall, what you found out about the background of the women?
Odi: So, I think, the most important thing is to engage and find, what different levels of skills, before you kind of start teaching across – there are some women, who are illiterate – tasks and things and challenges, like to fit to everyone’s level.
Tell me three words that would describe India that you’r experiencing here?
Chaotic, amazing and beautiful.
Visit our page with the full information about volunteering in Jaipur, India and proceed with your application.
Read also about Claire’s beautiful experience with women empowerment in India:
This May, June and July we offer free sightseeing in Jaipur for all our volunteers in India!
In order to introduce you to the Indian culture, we included some cultural activities, Hindi classes and incredible sightseeing trips in Jaipur for you.
This fascinating capital of the state of Rajasthan is one of the best-planned cities of its time. Jaipur was established by the then Maharaja, Sawai Jai Singh in the year 1927. Since the graceful architecture of the city features many buildings painted in pink, Jaipur became known as “The Pink City”. Besides the beautiful architecture, Jaipur’s musicians, artisans and craftsmen contribute to the wonderful athmosphere. Today, the city attracts the travelers for its fine jewellery, varied textiles and sumptuous cuisine. Moreover, there are innumerable sagas and stories of culture, traditions, practices and valour. This diverse land of rich cultural heritage is a royal treat for tourists all over the world.
You may choose, whether you would like to participate in Yoga classes, learn Indian dances or have Indian cooking classes, including to bake chapati, You will learn about religion as well, experience Holi and Diwali celebrations, and even draw Mandalas! With this short introduction to India and the “Pink City”, as Jaipur referred to, we believe, you are ready to go ahead with your volunteer project.
The staff from the local organization is very welcoming and helpful, always ready to give you a hand with your program or giving you tips for your leisure activities. As Lea put it: “The people are very friendly. sometimes you can be a little bit too friendly, but it’s OK. You get used to it”.
The people at Iko Poran are incredible. I know that the guy who runs the agency books multiple groups at a time, yet is still able to check in on us to make sure that everything is going well. He was readily available to us throughout my groups trip. He is also really good about getting back to you if you have any questions, and he was very helpful in setting up our trip. He also makes sure that you are prepared to stay in Rio during your trip. He also had an assistant who was always with us when we volunteered. She was also really helpful throughout our trip. All in all, I had a great experience in Rio. – Armando Dominguez
Visit our page with all the volunteer opportunities in Rio and see, what you like best!
I would definitely recommend this program to anyone. It was fun, educational, and a new experience. We met so many people who love and care about others. The state of Rio was beautiful and we had a decent amount of free time to sight see. The program leaders were super friendly and they gave a lot of information on how to get around Rio. Overall, we made new friendships and dove into a new culture. This was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. – Isabella
Volunteer with elephants in Thailand, Surin, and join the centuries old tradition of training ‘domestic’ elephants by mahouts in Thailand.
The volunteer program aims to offer a responsible and sustainable alternative to the fate often faced by elephants in Thailand. The elephants are no longer needed in the timber industry to haul the tribes, and many elephants are taken to urban areas to beg for money and are often mistreated. Therefore, our elephant volunteer program continues to lead the way in Surin in helping to change attitudes towards elephant care for the better.
This Elephant Experience financially supports the local community and the wellbeing of the elephants. Whilst volunteering with the elephants, you will epxerience the local village life and culture. This gives you the opportunity to learn about rural Thai culture and to witness the incredible challenges that elephant communities and mahouts face in Thailand. Spend your days close and in personal touch with these magnificent elephants.
Since all the activities are about caring for the elephants and treating them with respect, we put our strict no riding policy. Therefore, on your work schedule you will walk the elephants through the river and bathe them. Moreover, you will plant and harvest food for the elephants and also feed them. Since we put the elephants in the first place, we base everything around a new approach to elephant care.
Meals are included whilst at the village – please budget around $10-15 USD per day when you’re not at the village.
Arrival airport: Bangkok international airport, Suvarnabhumi – BKK.
Go for a very special volunteer trip and volunteer with football coaching in Ghana. These boys in Ghana kicking football are waiting for you to play with them! Ghana was 7th place in 2010 FIFA World Cup and so it takes no wonder what these kids are dreaming of: Quatar and Russia. Loved throughout the country, football is Ghana’s number one sport, and it’s not exactly hard to see why!
Working with local schools in rural villages, our football coaching volunteer program is great for sports fans and wannabe coaches alike. When you arrive at the project you’ll be assigned a team, and moving forward you’ll be there to coach them to sporting glory, from heading up the training session on the beach to being chief supporter on the sidelines of a match.
The sports development program in Ghana helps youth in the rural villages to foster their talents and focus on safe and healthy after school activities. Additionally, it helps youth to gain leadership skills and discipline by becoming a part of a team, and building stronger bonds with their community.
Find out everything about volunteering in Ghana and how to apply!
Visit also our page with all the football coaching programs.
Get out of your comfort zone, go for a volunteer trip to Cambodia and make a wonderful discovery! Lucy Wooding travelled to Cambodia to volunteer as a childcare volunteer – and enjoyed it a lot!
Volunteer in Cambodia and give a meaning to the best travel experience of your life.
Albane from France sent us this review about her volunteer trip to Cambodia. She was also volunteering with childcare:
I took care of a class of 7 children (5-6 years old) from 9:00 a.m to 4 p.m, from Monday to Friday. Sometimes I picked them up in their shanty towns at 8 a.m with the staff. It was very hard and sad to see where they live and in such poor conditions, but it was part of the experience and I simply loved their face, their excitation when the association bus (that we used to pick them up at Home) arrived in front of their living place ( we can’t call it “a house”).
When they arrive at the Day Care Center around 9 a.m, they sing and pray with a Kmer teacher. This was so cute to see them so happy to be there and to take pleasure to sing and pray (even if they lost sometimes their concentration rapidly when they saw the volunteers next to them and they guessed that they will play games after ahah).
After that, it was “shower time” for all children. So we had to make them take a shower, put soap on their body, shampoo on their haïr, and dress them up with the association “uniform” (too cute).
Then, I taught them English until lunch time (around 11 a.m). As school facilities, I had a board, some books, pens, and thats it. I regretted not to have brought with me school support for the class when I see how much they were happy to learn. Some days, when they were very excited, I had time to do some games ( often drawings) after the lesson and before the lunch time. When they ate, I helped to clean the dishes, and other little tasks to help the staff. – Albane from France
My experience at the turtles project was amazing. I had a lot of fun and met fantastic people from all over the world. The village is totally safe and local people are really kind.
The patrols at night were fine, you have to walk for four hours on the beach with guides, and if you’re on a lucky night you’ll get to see turtles coming slowly from the ocean, crossing the beach and laying eggs just in front of you. It’s something you want to live in your life, and something you want to protect.
After a volunteer program last summer in Brazil, Katya Kaftanova is now sharing her love in Nepal. Thank you very much Katya!
Environmental Volunteering at the Tijuca National Forest helps preserving the world’s largest urban forest. You can volunteer on a reforestation project helping in the three nursery, counting species, opening and cleaning trails, cutting branches, painting fences/ signals, among other activities.
Tijuca Forest is the worlds largest urban rainforest, this program gives you, as a volunteer, the opportunity to take part in aiding the conservation of this natural beauty. You will be given the once in a lifetime chance to create alternative solutions to some of the increasing environmental issues this area faces, in response to plastics residues, waste and pollution.
If only I was born in Brazil
Iko Poran truly showed me the authentic life of a Brazilian. The warmth, the layback’d-ness, the everyday “Bon Dia’s”…. It was an experience that I will never forget. I am going to return to Brazil as soon as I can!! The people you meet, both local citizens as well as the foreign participants, have become friends I will never forget and hopefully see soon!
All in all, Iko Poran was an opportunity I would do again and again (especially to see Lola, the dorm cat). – Eric Jin, Waterloo University
Rio de Janeiro boasts one of the most magnificent contrasting landscapes in the world: cascading forests on massive mountains adjacent to a world-class city. However, this contrast isn’t always mutually beneficial, as many of Rio’s treasured green spaces are damaged by urban sprawl.
I was in Rio de Janeiro for 4 weeks helping out in the Tijuca rainforest and at the community garden in a favela. I met so many different people from all over the world and as a result, I not only learned about Brazil but many other cultures. It’s a great way to get to know a city and have more of a local feel and the program itself is very reasonably priced. I would definitely consider coming back to Iko Poran for volunteering again. – Emily, University of Waterloo
As a volunteer for an environmental program you can help to support and develop some of the most precious natural spaces, while also helping in a community vegetable garden and experiencing favela life.
Find the complete information about affordable volunteering in Brazil…
You may also like to read about more reforestation projects in other countries: