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Organising Voluntary Projects, Internships and Gap Years since 1994.



Work with a large institution based in Madurai that cares and schools approximately 150 children ranging from the age of 2 to adults aged 45. About 130 of these students are provided with residential care; the others are brought to the school each day by their parents. The children mainly suffer from Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Microcephaly, Autism, Epilepsy, Deafness and some of the children are slow learners and dyslexic.

You'll help with arts & crafts, hand-eye co-ordination skills, yoga sessions, sewing and embroidery, music and dance classes, and lots, lots more!


Price: From £995, excluding flights.
Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From 2 weeks to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
Start Dates: All year round, subject to school terms - you choose your start and finish dates (subject to school holidays – see dates below).
Requirements: Minimum age 17, no qualifications necessary, but you should be an enthusiastic person who loves children and wants to help them.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation and Food (excluding lunch)
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your Project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-Shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in caring for children, teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement or short break in India.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into the fascinating Indian culture.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and adults and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.
  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!


The children you'll work with mainly suffer from Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Microcephaly, Autism, Epilepsy, Deafness and some of the children are slow learners and dyslexic. The aim of the school is to help the children to study, build confidence and develop essential life skills.

The children at the school speak very little English so at times you may find communication hard. However, they will be delighted to have you there and you'll certainly be popular throughout the whole school. You can also book onto one of our Tamil courses to give you some knowledge of phrases that you can use with the children - it'll also help you make the most of your time in India.

At the Centre you will probably be working in many different areas, so you should be flexible and adaptable. Some of the areas where you'll be able to assist include:

  • Helping with arts and crafts
  • Helping with their hand-eye co-ordination skills
  • Taking part (or watching!) the daily yoga sessions which help the children with their flexibility
  • Helping the children to sew and embroider
  • Getting involved with music and dance classes
  • Helping the children eat or go to the toilet
  • Helping the older children in the garden
  • Assisting in the physiotherapy department
  • Playing with the children; every day at 3pm is playtime and the children all bundle outside for half and hour of fun! Be prepared to be in great demand at this time!!

Please keep in mind that school holidays can change unexpectedly with very little notice given. Although at times this can be quite inconvenient, most of our volunteers use the opportunity to travel around and explore the country.

  • First Term Vacation: 26 September to 6 October 2015
  • Gandhi’s birthday: 2 October 2015
  • Bakrid: 3 October 2015
  • Diwali Holiday: 21 to 23 October 2015
  • Second Term Vacation: 24 December 2015 to 3 January 2016
  • Pongal Holiday: 14 to 17 January 2016
  • Republic Day: 26 January 2016
  • Good Friday: 25 March 2016
  • Summer Vacation: 11 April to 4 June 2016
  • Idu’l Fitr : 5 July 2016
  • Independence Day: 15 August 2016

Exam Periods: (approx):

  • Quarterly Exams: 18 to 25 September 2015
  • Half Yearly Exams: 10 to 23 December 2015
  • Annual Exams: 2 to 11 April 2016 (although teaching is limited from Mid March)


For a complete Indian experience we arrange for you to stay with one of wonderful host families. All of our hosts are very welcoming and not only will be made to feel part of the family, you’ll also gain a great insight into Indian culture and customs. Many of our volunteers remain friends with their host families long after they leave India and in some cases they return to the country later especially to visit their family.

You may share a room with up to 2 other volunteers and in most of the houses you'll have an en-suite, Western-style bathroom. Most of the showers in our host accommodation are cold water only – however your hosts will boil water for you on request.

All of our host family houses are close together and just a few minutes’ walk away from internet cafes, banks and snack shops and just a short auto ride into the centre of town.

Breakfast and dinner will be provided and prepared for you by the family and is mainly local fare allowing you to taste a varied selection of delicious south Indian dishes and exotic fruits. You will need to make provision for your own lunch.


Got any questions? Please email us:

In January 2008, the government helped to fund an Early Intervention Centre at the school for up to 50 children from babies to the age of 6. They have a development therapy unit, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy units to cater for the children. The Centre allows the parents to stay with their child during school hours to gain a greater understanding of how to care for their child.

The children are very talented and they enter many competitions, often taking home first prize. In November 2007, the Centre hosted a Talent Show and 20 other schools for mentally challenged children in the state of Tamil Nadu took part. The Centre walked off with first prize in the group dancing and solo contest along with fancy dress. No doubt the children will be practicing for a festival or a tournament when you are here and it will be great fun for you to get involved!

This is a worthwhile project, working with children with mental, physical or emotional disabilities who are very much in need of love and attention.

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our team who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

TRAVELLERS' SUPPORT AND BACKUP: Read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme.


Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Bollywood Dancing Lessons in India

Price: £39 for 4-Week dance course (12 hrs), concurrent with your main project. 12 lessons in total (3 x 1-hour lessons a week), excludes transport.

Bollywood dance classes - a fun way of learning some fantastic moves, whilst at the same keep keeping fit! All levels are catered for and the lessons are taken at one of Madurai’s leading dance studios. Three private Bollywood classes per week, each lasting one hour. These will usually be taken in the afternoon but there will be some flexibility, depending on your teacher’s schedule. The course location is only 20 minutes by auto from your accommodation. By the end of the course you will have learnt a dance routine to a whole song from an Indian movie.

Bollywood is the largest film producer in India and one of the largest centres of film production in the world. Bride and Prejudice is typical of the modern day films, with love, romance, singing, flamboyant costumes and hypnotic dancing. The teacher has over 10 years' experience teaching Bollywood Dance and has put on a number of productions in Madurai and around Tamil Nadu.

Book Now

Indian Cookery Lessons

1 Cookery class running concurrently with your project (1 Lesson spread over two days): £38.
A One Month Cookery Course (4 Lessons, one a week): £115

Our cooking classes are held by a local trained cook who currently teaches cooking classes in a school in Madurai. Classes are held after 3.30pm and for one cooking session, 2 days are required. You'll make delicious Indian dishes normally consisting of a rice or bread dish; a meat and a vegetable dish and a dessert. Vegetarians are easily catered for!

On the first day you'll choose your menu and go shopping to a local market to buy your ingredients and you may also do some preparation this day depending on the dishes you want to cook (especially if you have chosen to make idli or dosa). The following day you will be shown how to cook your recipes and then enjoy tucking into your sumptuous meal.

If you're interested in discovering more about cooking, we have also arranged for a month of classes where you will attend one session each week for 4 weeks. If food is one of life’s pleasures for you, then this opportunity is not to be missed!

Book Now

Tamil Language Lessons


  • 2-Week Tamil course: Price: £40
  • 4-Week Tamil course: Price: £80
  • 8-Week Tamil course: Price: £160
  • 12-Week Tamil course: Price: £240

Vanakam - Welcome! Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn Tamil, the official language of Tamil Nadu with one to one lessons with a private tutor. These language lessons are available to do at the same time as your main project. Learning a little Tamil will enrich your time here immeasurably, enabling you to converse with the locals, order a drink in a restaurant and not forgetting watching all the Tamil dramas on TV!

Your lessons will be individually tailored to your requirements and are conducted at the home of local lady who has taught classes amongst the local community. Whatever your level/requirements, the teacher is dedicated in helping you achieve your goals.

For the 2-Week or longer course, lessons will normally be held Monday to Friday for one hour each day (5 hours per week). All you need to take is your own notebook and stationery. Classes are within walking distance of your accommodation.

Book Now

Yoga and Meditation Classes

2-Week Yoga and Meditation Combined Course: £45
4-Week Yoga and Meditation Combined Course: £90
8-Week Yoga and Meditation Combined Course: £180
Excludes transport.

Meditation is a mind-body practice and you'll learn to relax your body and mind and create a focused awareness to bring you stillness and inner peace. Your lessons will be conducted at the home of a lady teacher who has more than 7 years' experience as a Yoga Practitioner and Trainer. The courses comprise one x 1-hour lesson per day, Monday to Friday only. The 2 week course will consist of the following:

  • Asanas (posture)
  • Pranayama
  • Kriya
  • Meditation

The 4 and 8 week courses will consist of the same as above, but includes Surya Namaskar.

Book Now

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.




INDIA REALLY HAS IT ALL, from the hot sultry deserts of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal and the majestic Himalayas in the north, to the idyllic palm fringed beaches and ancient temples of the south, plus a multitude of wildlife parks! The way to best enjoy India is to absorb it - the warmth of the people, the beauty, the smells, the food, and the wonderful hospitality!

Many of our projects are based in the bustling city of Madurai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Madurai is known by many names; ‘Jasmine city’ for the famous jasmine flowers that are cultivated here, ‘the city of Nectar’, Legend tells of a river of nectar that flowed after blessing from Lord Shiva, and the ‘Temple City’.

Madurai really does have a temple or shrine on practically every street but it is most famed for the Sri Meenakshi Sundeswarar Temple. Pilgrims and tourists alike flock to visit the temple and approximately 10,000 visit every day! The temple is named after goddess Meenakshi. It was built in the 17th century and is an enormous structure with 5 outer towers crammed full of idols and animals. The inner courtyard contains another 7 towers, again all highly adorned. It will take your breath away.

Madurai is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. It is full of cultural diversity and life revolves around the awe inspiring Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, awash with pilgrims, market stalls and tourist shops.

Children will stop you on the streets to chat to you and shake your hand and even ask for your autograph! You will be in demand everywhere you go and you’ll feel like a celebrity, such is the warmth of the Indian people. If you’re after an overwhelming experience, then Madurai is a certainty for this!

KERALA has been named ""Gods own Country" by the locals for its stunning scenery, wildlife, beautiful beaches, picture postcard towns and the breaktaking backwaters. It is also the home of Ayurveda medicine, an ancient system using essential oils and vigorous massage to aid medical complaints or just for pampering - a one hour massage is an unforgettably relaxing experience.

Kerala also has one of the best wildlife parks in the country; Periyar. A huge array of activities are on offer, jungle trekking and jeep safari’s which take you off the beaten track in the hope of spotting an elusive tiger although you are more likely to see elephants, boar, monkeys and many species of birds. You can also take an elephant ride, boat ride, visit spice and tea plantations, watch martial arts – it’s an action packed weekend and only 4 hours from Madurai!


Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.


Care for Children with Physical and Mental Disabilities in Madurai

Busy, noisy, colourful, smelly in places, all these things make Madurai an amazing place to be. The people have been so friendly and helpful in all areas. I have been surprised by the huge numbers of people out and about at all times of day, busy, busy, busy.

I am gaining an insight into how children with autism, learning difficulties and physical disabilities are educated and cared for in a different country.

The best things about my placement by far are the smiles, handshakes and hugs I am met with every day. The staff and parents have all been so welcoming and made me feel at ease in a strange country and different environment. It has been heart warming to see how the children help each other and the older ones taking charge of the younger ones.

I certainly would recommend this placement to anyone else. It is such a rewarding placement. The children are so responsive to new people and gives them confidence with new social situations. This placement would suit just about anyone with a heart.

Can you describe a typical day?
Start time at 10.00am. Yoga with early intervention group until 10.30am and prayers. Access to all classes during the morning, yoga, dancing, numbers, crafts.
Lunch 12.30-13.30
Afternoon is enrichment, singing, dancing, colouring, playing. Socialising with children and parents in the physio department and assisting the children with exercising.

Experience living with a host family: a truly wonderful one! I have felt at ease with the family and enjoyed typical Indian cuisine including delicious homemade breads and cakes. Anitha and her family are on hands to answer questions and help you to get the most from your Madurai experience. Having Anitha at the other end of the phone helped me to feel confident going out and about in Madurai as I am travelling alone.


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