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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: 5
Category: Other
Host ID: 45788
Country: India

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Last Updated: May 7, 2016


Main tasks: refurbishing the local library with books and educational material and teach English in the local primary school

Contribution: the project does not require any contribution from the volunteers apart form their time and skills investment (4 hours a day is optimal), nevertheless any donation to support the living costs and the maintenance of the facility can be accepted.

Number of Volunteers: Up to 5 living in the center at the same time.


We are an association aimed at providing books and educational materials to communities in need. We develop our libraries in cooperation with local NGO’s and organizations as a part of already existing projects, but we also build libraries as independent projects. We aim to create self-sustainable and environmentally friendly projects that you too can get involved in and support. If you have any unwanted, unused, or old books then you can send them directly to one of our libraries, drop them off at one of our collection points, or even bring them with you when visiting one of our projects.

The first project was started in 2013. The children living in the shelter-home and local schools in Sathankulam and Virudhunagar are always eager to read more books, and are constantly welcoming English teachers that would like to improve the children's language skills while exploring the essence of Tamil culture. The local Indian NGO also supports local all-women micro-finance activities, and has hosted several academic researchers in their field mission, as well as helped volunteers to better understand this amazing phenomenon. Get in touch and start this unforgettable adventure!

The house of the volunteer in Sathankulam is cosy and welcoming, with fans on the bedrooms ceilings and the possibility to hang a net against mosquitoes. There is no fixed price per month, but a donation is recommended to face the high costs that the hosts have to bear to keep all facilities adequate to give to the volunteers a safe permanence. The House is provided with wi-fi. In Virudhunagar the volunteers sleep with the children: there are less comforts, no internet and cold running water, but the experience is really intense. Impossible to leave afterwards!

We recommend to buy anti-lice lotions.

You need to apply for a visa beforehand. One-entry touristic visas for the duration of 3 months are around 60$. Check your government website for your country.

Both Sathankulam and Virudhunagar are small centres where English is spoken just by the organizers or the project, and a few other villagers. Tamil is the local language. We recommend to learn a few words for basic communication, and carry a small dictionary around with you. This will facilitate the exchange with locals and help you learn Tamil faster!

The food does not vary a lot and is very simple, mainly sambar, idli, chapati and other traditional southern Indian delicacies. Kaljiani cooks for the volunteers in order to prevent food poisoning. We recommend to eat pealed or cooked veggies and drink only water from the bottle, though at the centre there are water purifiers on many taps. Some volunteers brought their traditional food from home to have the children taste their traditions!

Tamil Nadu is among the cheapest state in India. You can easily travel to Chennai, Kerala or Kernataka on less than 10$.

Tuc-tucs for short distances, buses up to 500 kms and the magic of Indian trains for longer journeys! We recommend you check the timetable on the official national website though public transports are always late and indeed adventurous! Peter will give you a hand to organize your next steps, so no need to worry about being overcharged.

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