START DATES

8TH JULY, 22ND JULY & 12TH AUGUST 2018

PRICED FROM

£820 + £149 REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

4 WEEKS

MINIMUM AGE

17 YEARS OLD

PMGY REAL INDIA EXPERIENCE

PMGY’s Real India Experience is a 28 day adventure and volunteer programme which will take you around India’s Golden Triangle and down to the serenity of Kerala. India is a country that captivates the heart and mind and feeds the soul. There is so much diversity to India, that every day brings an exciting and unique experience, it’s definitely a place to expect the unexpected! On this 4 week adventure you’ll travel the length and breadth of this beautiful country experiencing two very different sides of life.

 

After spending your first week volunteering at one of PMGY’s volunteer in India projects in the satellite city of Faridabad, on the outskirts of New Delhi you’ll then explore India’s Golden Triangle taking in the breathtaking sites of the infamous Taj Mahal and then on to Jaipur, India’s ‘Pink City’. It’s then we travel south to the tropical greenery of Kerala and experience a more laid back and serene way of life among backwaters, rolling hills and tea plantations.

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Opportunity to help care for and teach the people of India’s slums
2. Sunrise over the epic Taj Mahal – one to cross off your bucket list
3. Riding elephants in Jaipur
4. When in India, you’ve got to see a Bollywood movie!
5. Sleeping on a houseboat drifting through Kerala’s beautiful backwaters
6. Trekking through Munnar – Kerala’s principal tea-growing region
7. Learn about the life of India’s most iconic son, Mahatma Gandhi
8. Visit the epic Amber Fort sitting on a hilltop, overlooking Maota Lake. Breathtaking
9. Meet the cheeky monkeys at Jaipur’s monkey temple
10. Wander through delightfully atmospheric Kochi, taking in the giant Chinese fishing nets

EXPLORING INDIA

Architectural splendours, chaotic street life, tranquil havens and culture shocks are all guaranteed on this classic introduction to this vast, endlessly diverse and hugely inspiring country.

 

India’s Golden Triangle comprises the three most visited cities in the country’s north-west – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Jaipur, capital of the largely desert state of Rajasthan, is home to the iconic Amber Fort as well as some of Asia’s best bazaars. You could spend weeks in Delhi, the sprawling, fascinating Indian capital, and not see it all, while Agra, once the heart of the Moghul empire, boasts the unparalleled beauty of the Taj Mahal, adorning the banks of the Yamuna river.

 

Kerala or ‘God’s Own Country’ is a world away from the frenzy of the north with a languid network of glistening backwaters and spice and tea-covered hills.

 

The PMGY Real India Experience is an enriching, inspiring and unforgettable journey. India will shift the way you see the world!

 

Travelling as a group will make the experience all the more memorable. Our experienced and fun tour guides will not only make sure you’re well looked after but are able to learn all about the background of the places you’ll see.

VOLUNTEERING

English Teaching – 28% of the Indian population live below the poverty line and many in slums. And although Indian culture places a major emphasis on education, unfortunately the education system is still work in progress. PMGY supports a number of slum schools providing free education, school supplies, food and uniforms in order to encourage parents to let their children go to school, rather than being forced to wander the streets begging and collecting rubbish to earn money.

 

Medical Electives – Considering the advances in India’s healthcare system, the majority of the population still experience poor health. This is due to a lack of awareness on health issues and the simple fact that many Indians cannot afford regular, if any, medical treatment. The projects we support offer free, or highly subsidised, healthcare to local people from slum and rural communities.

 

Orphanage Care – 7% of all children in India are orphans and orphanages across the country lack the funding, resources and manpower to look after these vulnerable children. All children deserve a safe haven to live and the nurturing in which to grow. We support three orphanage programmes in the Faridabad area.

 

The group will spend one week volunteering in Delhi and one week in Kerala with a number of projects available:

 

Delhi English Teaching, Medical Electives & Orphanage Care
Kerala – English Teaching

 

Depending on the situation and location, The Real India Experience group may spend some time working in a group at the same project together and other times working across a range of project locations. Although we try and provide some flexibility when it comes to the project side of the experience we request participants to remain flexible and pro-active.

 

We encourage volunteers to prepare as much as possible for their teaching programme overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60-hour Online TEFL Course for just £99.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (DEL) on the selected Sunday start date. You will finish the trip in Kochi and therefore will need to book your return/onward flight from Cochin International Airport (airport code COK) on the final day of your trip – which is a Saturday.

 

Day 1 (Sunday) Arrival

 

You will be met at Indira Gandhi International Airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. They will take you straight to our Volunteer House, which is about 40 miles away. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to get to depending on the traffic.

 

The rest of the day is relatively informal, as we may have volunteers arriving throughout the day. This is the perfect opportunity to get some much-needed rest, to get to know the rest of your group and get familiar with your accommodation.

 

After dinner on the Sunday there is then the opportunity for volunteers to explore the local market if they wish to do so.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 2 (Monday) Orientation

 

After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast, we will begin the orientation day. We will start with the theoretical part covering all the essential information you need to know for your time in India. This will include issues of health & safety, language, money matters, cultural differences, rules & regulations etc. This is also a great chance for the group to really get to know each other and ask our local team any questions you may have.

 

We will then go for a tour of the local area so that you can use the ATM/exchange money, buy a SIM card and any other essential amenities. After that we will visit some of the communities and slum areas where you will work during your time in Delhi.

 

That evening its time to get crafty as we will be heading to a local pottery centre for a pottery class where you will get to make your very own pots as an early memento on your time on the Real Experience.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 3 (Tuesday) First Day Of Volunteering

 

Tuesday is your first day of volunteering, one of our local coordinators will travel with you to the project to introduce you to the staff and discuss your work schedule.

 

Depending on which project is your preference, you will volunteer in the morning or afternoon – in some cases both! You can expect to volunteer for around 3 to 4 hours per day.

 

Typically volunteers will have the option of supporting on our orphanage, teaching or medical programmes. In general the volunteer programme in Delhi is all centred around community work in the slum areas of Faridabad. Volunteers will talk through the options available to them with the local team when in India and placements will thus be confirmed accordingly when in-country.

 

If the project you are working on isn’t in walking distance from the Volunteer House then our local team will take you to and from the project each day.

 

You’ll be in personal contact with our local coordinators every day so if you need anything we are there for you 24/7.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 4 (Wednesday) Project Work

 

Continue your volunteer placement during the day.

 

What trip to India would be complete without going to see a Bollywood Movie? Well, that’s what we are doing tonight!

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 5 (Thursday) Project Work

 

Continue your volunteer placement during the day.

 

That evening, we will head on to Akshardham temple – a favourite amongst volunteers. Akshardham Temple or Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan. Akshardham means the adobe of the supreme lord and the temple is a fine example of the Indian architecture, spirituality and art.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 6 (Friday) Project Work

 

Continue your volunteer placement during the day.

 

If you felt inspired after the Bollywood Movie on Wednesday and have been practising your Bollywood dancing ever since, then tonight is your chance to put your moves into action! We’ve arranged for a Bollywood dance teacher to come over and give the group a dance lesson!

 

Get your cameras ready, this could be a very funny night!

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) Delhi Sightseeing

 

Delhi is the symbol of old India and new…and this weekend you will experience both. Old Delhi is the city of the Mughals and dates back to the seventeenth century. It’s the capital’s most frenetic quarter, and its most Islamic, a reminder that for over seven hundred years Delhi was a Muslim-ruled city. To the south, encompassing the modern city centre, is New Delhi, built by the British to be the capital of their empire’s key possession. A spacious city of tree-lined boulevards, New Delhi is impressive in its own way.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

New Delhi (Saturday)

 

We’ll depart from the Volunteer House on Saturday morning after breakfast – around 8am. First stop – the Lotus Temple! This extraordinarily shaped temple is the house of worship for the Bahai religion – a philosophy that revolves around universal peace and the elimination of prejudice.

 

Your tour of New Delhi continues as we go on to visit Qutab Minar and Lodhi Gardens. We will then travel to the Gandhi Museum (known as Gandhi Smriti) to learn more about India’s independence movement and the life of India’s most iconic son, Mahatma Gandhi. At each of the sights you will have an English-speaking tour guide. It’s now time to test your bargaining skills at Dilli Haat market, an open-air bazaar selling various foods and crafts from the different regions around India. This is your one-stop-shop for Indian artefacts, textiles, crafts and jewellery.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Old Delhi (Sunday)

 

It’s another early start, as we explore Delhi’s historic side. While many of the buildings enclosing Old Delhi’s teeming bazaars have a tale to tell, its greatest monuments are undoubtedly the magnificent constructions of the Mughals, most notably the mighty Red Fort, and the Jama Masjid (India’s largest and most impressive mosque). What a morning we have in store.

 

That afternoon we will leisurely make our way to India Gate – a war memorial built by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1931. It commemorates the soldiers of Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting as British allies in the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. On our way back to the guesthouse we will visit Birla Mandir temple. Built in 1938, Birla Mandir temple (also known as Laxmi Naryan temple) is one of the first major Hindu places of worship that allowed the lower caste Harijans inside. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi made entry of Harijans as one of the conditions for inaugurating the temple.

 

* On both days, the group will be transported by private coach and accompanied by members of the PMGY India team and an English speaking guide who will give the group a comprehensive insight into the history and significance of Delhi’s most enchanting sights. Please note this schedule is subject to change in case of delays, bad traffic and unexpected site closings.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 9 (Monday) Project Work

 

After an amazing weekend exploring Delhi’s best sites, it’s time to say goodbye to the amazing people you’ve met at the project, as today is your last day of volunteering.

 

That evening we will make our way to Agra in preparation for seeing one of the wonders of the world. On-arrival into Agra, we will check into our guesthouse, get some dinner and have an early night – we have a long day tomorrow!

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 10 (Tuesday) Taj Mahal

 

We’ll be up bright and early on the Tuesday morning as we make our way to the Taj Mahal for sunrise – epic photo opportunities guaranteed. An English-speaking guide will teach you all about the story, which inspired the building of the Taj Mahal, and the tragedy involved in creating it.

 

After a full morning at the Taj Mahal, we’ll get something to eat and then head over to Jaipur. The journey takes around 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic. On-arrival we will check back into a guesthouse and relax for the evening.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 11-12 (Wednesday-Thursday) Jaipur

 

Jaipur is affectionately known as the Pink City because of the pink walls and buildings of the old city. The state capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur lies on the edge of the Thar Desert, surrounded by the Aravali hills. It was also one of the first planned cities in India. Jaipur’s remarkably well-preserved heritage, which includes hilltop forts, bustling old markets, and lovely palaces, will keep the group well entertained for the next two days!

 

Over the course of the two days we’ll explore some of Jaipur’s best sites. We’ll visit the epic Amber Fort. Amber Fort, which sits on a hilltop and faces out over the Maota Lake. It’s a truly beautiful sight to behold. The Fort’s architecture is a magnificent blend of Hindu and Mughal influences. Made out of red sandstone and white marble, it consists of a series of courtyards, palaces, halls, and gardens. Perhaps, the most beautiful part of it is the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) with its intricately carved, glittering walls and ceilings.

 

The group will then travel on to the Albert Hall Museum, Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal (a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city). We’ll also have the chance to explore some of Jaipur’s bustling markets.

 

The group will visit the Elephant Village where we can feed and ride the elephants! And of course, we’ll head over to Galwar Bagh, Jaipur’s monkey temple, where you can get some incredible views of Jaipur city as well as meeting the temple’s cheeky monkeys!

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 13 (Friday) Back To Delhi

 

On Friday, it’s time to make our way back to Faridabad. The journey takes around 5 to 6 hours. On-arrival back into Faridabad, it’s time to pack our bags, as we’ll be flying to Kochi tomorrow for the second leg of PMGY’s Real India Experience.

 

That evening we’ll have a farewell dinner with the PMGY India team in Delhi.

 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 14 (Saturday) Heading South

 

Today, the group will fly from Delhi to Kochi. Our local team will drop you off at the airport in time for your flight. The flight from Delhi to Kochi is included in your Programme Fee. We will send you full information on the details of the flight nearer the trip start date. It will be a direct flight and so will take 2-3 hours. You will have up to 15kg of checked luggage as well as a carry on-luggage allowance.

 

On-arrival into Cochin International Airport you will be collected from the airport by a member of our local team or an appointed driver who will take you to your homestay in Fort Kochi.

 

Once the group have settled into their rooms at the homestay, our local team will give you an introduction to the PMGY Kerala programme. We will also go out for dinner together and have a walking tour of Fort Kochi.

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 15 (Sunday) Orientation

 

Today is your orientation day in Fort Kochi. We will tell you all about life in Kerala and go through all the essential information you need to know, such as safety, transport, money matters etc. We’ll go through your itinerary for the next two weeks and answer any questions you may have.

 

After lunch, we will explore the parts of Fort Kochi that we didn’t manage to see the evening before. Fort Kochi is such a beautiful and laid-back place it’s really enjoyable just having a leisurely stroll around the city. Life in Kerala is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Delhi!

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 16 (Monday) Start New Project

 

Monday is the beginning of your volunteering phase in Kerala. Our local team will travel with you to your volunteer project to introduce you to the local staff and the children. We will go through your work schedule and discuss how you can get involved in the project. We will also explain how to get from your homestay to the project and back. Most projects are in walking distance or you can take a tuk tuk. You will be travelling to the projects with other members of the group, so you will never be alone.

 

In the mornings you can teach English at a local school or day care centre. In the afternoons, you can help out at an orphanage. You can expect to volunteer for around 5 to 6 hours per day.

 

One of the best parts of travelling is the food and Kerala is world-renowned for it’s amazing cuisine. Bringing back a food story, a new ingredient or a recipe, is a great thing to take away from your time with PMGY in Fort Kochi. We have arranged a cooking class for the group, so tonight you’ll be preparing your own dinner!

 

Who will be the Master Chef of the group?!

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 17 (Tuesday) Project Work

 

You will spend the day volunteering. That evening we will take you to a Kathakali performance. The show lasts around 2 hours and is a fascinating insight into Keralan history.

 

Kathakali (“story play”) is the classical dance drama of Kerala, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology. Kathakali has a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance, and draws heavily from drama and is danced with elaborate masks and costumes.

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 18 (Wednesday) Project Work

 

Volunteering during the day and your evening is free.

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 19 (Thursday) Project Work

 

Volunteering during the day. That evening we will have a Bollywood night in town. It’s time to experience Bollywood Kerala style!

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 20 (Friday) Project Work

 

Today is your last day at the project. Time to say goodbye to the children and staff you’ve supported over the week. Your evening is free to chill out before we set off on an adventure the following day!

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 21-22 (Saturday-Sunday) – The Backwaters

 

Today we are heading to Kerala’s legendary ‘Backwaters’.

 

The backwaters are a maze of winding rivers, canals and lakes stretching nearly 50 miles from Quilon (Kollam) in the south to Kochi in the north. Traditionally used as one of the main transportation alleys, today the backwaters offer a picturesque and tranquil experience for visitors.

 

You will trail the backwaters on a boat (known as a Kettu Vallam). The scenery along the way is spectacular. The views are lined with dense tropical greenery and rural Keralan communities that are completely hidden from the road. You can choose to have a day-trip on the backwaters or opt for an overnight (2 day/1 night) trip where you would stay overnight on a houseboat.

 

After breakfast we will take the bus to Allepey before boarding the houseboat and starting our cruise of the backwaters. We will spend the night on the houseboat under a star lit sky. A group of friends cruising on their own boat surrounded by the spectacular Keralan countryside; it really doesn’t get much better than this!

 

We will take breakfast on the boat and then make our way back by bus to Fort Kochi, arriving back in the afternoon. The rest of the day is free.

 

You can chill out by a pool at a nearby hotel (this costs around £5 per person) or even take an Ayurveda Massage. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It was developed thousands of years ago in India. It is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. The primary focus of Ayurveda medicine is to promote good health, rather than fight disease.

 

It costs around £12 to £15 for a one-hour massage. These can be easily arranged and there are some great places located in walking distance from the groups’ accommodation.

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 23-26 (Monday-Thursday) Munnar

 

It’s time to see a completely different side of India, the spectacular hill station of Munnar. “Where the sounds echo, the mountains play with the clouds, the rivers caress the land, and the tea plantations kiss the earth – Munnar is that piece of God’s Own Country!”

 

Munnar, 80 miles east of Kochi, is the centre of Kerala’s principal tea-growing region and South India’s prime hill retreat. It’s also a hot spot for adventure travel. There are some amazing trekking opportunities in Munnar and the views are just spectacular.

 

After breakfast on Monday, we’ll travel to Munnar by private car. We will visit a tea plantation, a spice plantation and a number of beautiful waterfalls. You will also have the chance to do some elephant riding! That night we’ll check into a homestay for the night.

 

The following morning its time to put your walking shoes on as we begin our hike! We’ll trek for the whole day, stopping off regularly throughout the day. We’ll trek through tea plantations and forest taking in the beautiful scenery around us. If we’re lucky we may also spot some wildlife over the course of the day, including wild elephants! We will stay overnight in tents – who doesn’t love camping?!

 

On Wednesday morning we will continue our trek. The trek will finish around mid-afternoon. We will head back to our homestay in Munnar and put our feet up for the rest of the day!

 

On the Thursday morning we will take a private car back to Fort Kochi. The rest of the day is free. If you’ve got some energy left you could always do some yoga. Yoga is really big in Fort Kochi. A one-hour class can be arranged for £3 to £5.

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 27 (Friday) Free day/Farewell Party

 

It’s your last full day of the PMGY Real India Experience. It’s time to buy any last minute souvenirs and just enjoy the last day together. There are some great places in Fort Kochi to buy gifts and souvenirs – our local team will show you where to go!

 

In the evening we will have a farewell dinner in town with all PMGY Kerala staff and the group.

 

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 28 (Saturday) Fly Home

 

It’s time to go our separate ways! Saturday is your final day on the Real India Experience. You should book your return/onward flight to depart out of Cochin International Airport (airport code COK).

 

Your return airport transfer is not included in the Programme Fee. Our local team can help you arrange a taxi back to the airport with one of our appointed drivers. The cost is around £15 but its most likely you can split this with another volunteer who is heading back at the same time as you. The journey takes around 1.5 hours.

 

It’s been an incredible journey everyone…see you on another PMGY Real Experience next year?

 

Meals included: Breakfast

 

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

CHOOSING A TRIP

What are the programme start dates?

The programme start dates are as follows –

 

8th July 2018
22nd July 2018
12th August 2018
7th July 2019
21st July 2019
11th August 2019

What are the requirements to join?

In order to join the programme you need to be at least 17 on the programme start date.

 

We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, nationalities and religions. You must be able to provide us with a clean criminal background check prior to your programme start date. We are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions.

 

Although you do not need to speak English as your first language, we do require all participants to have a good level of English in order to join the programme.

 

You should also be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.

What date should I arrive and leave?

You should arrive into Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (airport code DEL) on the selected Sunday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

 

The programme ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

Are there any age restrictions?

In order to join the programme you need to be at least 17 on the programme start date.

 

Generally the average age range of volunteers is 17-22 but this is by no means definitive.

 

There is no upper age limit. However, we encourage anyone who is slightly older to contact us in the first instance and we can advise if there is a more appropriate programme/destination for you.

When should I apply for the programme?

For the majority of our programmes you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the programme – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period.

 
 
It is best that you apply sooner rather than later as some of our programmes only have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the programme before applying.

 
 
It is also possible to change your start dates once you have already applied and had your space confirmed. However, please note this does carry an administration charge of £39 and is subject to availability.

 
 
You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual programme; this will guide you through our Online Application process.

Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?

We accept volunteers from all over the world. The majority of our participants are from the UK, US, Canada & Australia. However we have hosted volunteers from countries such as Nigeria, Bermuda & Peru in the past.

Can I go with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer at the same project (please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis).
 
 
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.

 

The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.

 

In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.

 

When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.

 

While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.
 

When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme you need to pay the Registration Fee (£149). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 
 
You’re only required to pay your £149 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme, unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 
 
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 
 
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

Can I use PMGY’s programmes as part of a university or college placement?

It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.

 
 
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us directly on [email protected] to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY volunteers joining our teaching programmes the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. If however you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory course to teaching english abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is hugely convenient because it can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You’ve got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. An hour here and there certainly adds up over the course of the couple of months you have to complete it, so there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed you’ll not only have acquired some key skills for teaching English abroad but you’ll also gain an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules leading to a paid teaching position in the future.

 

As well as a core module in the ‘Principles of Teaching English’ which covers ‘Understanding language’, ‘Key English grammar points’ and ‘How to teach grammar in the classroom’ you will have a choice of one of three specialist modules. The ‘Survival teaching’ module is perfect for volunteers covering ‘Teaching large classes’, ‘Teaching with limited resources’, ‘Learner-based training’ and ‘Cultural awareness’.

 

The cost of the course is £99. If you’ve already signed up to one of our programmes and would like to enroll on the online TEFL course then please call us or email us.

Can I fundraise for my trip?

With PMGY the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive for your time with us overseas. The fundamentals of this structure include food, accommodation, airport pickups, around the clock support from our UK and in-country team, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our programme costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing on quality and safety. However with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Therefore a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip.

 

We recommend setting up an online fundraising page to allow friends and families to learn more about your trip and make donations. PMGY have partnered with the online crowd funding website GoGetFunding.

 

This professional online fundraising service creates a personalised fundraising page for your PMGY trip, allowing you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

Can I raise money for the projects?

The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415) that has been set up to help provide financial aid and assistance to the projects and countries we work with on an ongoing basis.

 

The objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty of people living in the communities we support by providing or assisting in the provision of education, training, healthcare projects and all the necessary support designed to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient.

 

The ultimate aim of the PMGY Foundation is to enable donations to be directed towards specific hand-picked projects in countries most in need. The project donations are determined by the charities trustees during our annual overseas visits.

 

If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation you can do so via our BT MyDonate fundraising page.

 

100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. Please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas.

How do I register for your online webinars?

On selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) we hold our Pre-Departure Webinars. They are well worth attending, take only 45 minutes and will provide you with some really invaluable advice on your upcoming trip.

 

There are two to choose from and it is well worth attending both:

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Programme Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching programmes.

 

You will receive an email invitation to join these sessions once you have confirmed your place the programme.

 

The first webinar is designed to cover all of the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.

 

The webinars are hosted by a member of our UK team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the world. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, good internet connection and a pair of headphones.

 

If any family or friends would like to attend the session as well then they are more than welcome to do so. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

What about vaccinations and malaria tablets?

As we are not medical experts we cannot, unfortunately, tell you exactly what vaccinations you’ll need to obtain so it is vital you consult your local GP or travel clinic a few months before you intend to travel. Your local doctor/nurse will advise you as to what vaccinations and malaria prevention is needed for entry into your volunteer destination.

 
 
Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights?

You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you in arranging them. Through our close partnerships within the travel industry we are able to offer flights at very competitive rates. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries; we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use.

 
 
For peace of mind, PMGY holds an ATOL License (11262) that allows us to offer flight-based packages that are financially protected by the Civil Aviation Authority in the unlikely event of our insolvency.

 
 
If you’d like to receive a flight quote from PMGY, you can submit an online enquiry by visiting the specific web-page of the programme you’re interested in joining, or by calling our office or dropping us an email.

 
 
When you apply for a PMGY programme we cannot guarantee your acceptance immediately. On receiving an application we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the programme and to assess your suitability for the specific project.

 
 
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your programme has been confirmed by us in writing. Once your programme has been confirmed you’re then free to book your flights either with PMGY or a through third party travel agent.

Do you offer travel insurance?

It is mandatory that all PMGY volunteers hold travel insurance during the entirety of their time on our programme; this includes your travel to and from the host country. Although PMGY do everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong so you must adequately protect yourself.

 
 
PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy for our volunteers. The policy is specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you throughout any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

 
 
Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away for, including the date you depart and return to your home country, to ensure you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5-week policy, not a 4-week policy.

How do I obtain a background check?

To join any of our programmes you’ll need to provide us with a clean CRB or Police Check before you travel. We have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. We are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 
 
If you hold a current CRB or Police Check then we can accept this providing it is issued no more than 18 months prior to your programme start date. Please scan and email us a copy of this document. If you do not have a CRB or Police Check then we will outline how to obtain this in your Volunteer Handbook. The CRB or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your programme start date.

 
 
If you don’t have a valid CRB check (also known as DBS or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Disclosure Scotland (which serves all people in the UK). 

 
 
This costs £25 and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Disclosure Scotland is outlined in the volunteer handbook you receive once you are signed up to the programme.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we DO NOT send a hardcopy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 
 
This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides. It is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you require any further information not covered in the Volunteer Handbook then our team are always on-hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

All of our accommodation options involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately we are unable to arrange private room options for our participants.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

Are there any public holidays that effect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that effect project availability and project closures in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change that directly effects project availability and we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. This usually represents a unique experience for volunteers to enjoy in the festivities and holidays themselves and/or our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country to country. We ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. We will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack.

 
 
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover your shoulders and thighs and for men to not take their shirts off. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with.

 
 
It’s a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions but please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take depends on where you travel to and how many travel activities you plan to undertake during your free time. If you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania, scuba-diving course in Thailand or trekking in South Africa, then you should budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find £50-£100 per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time. All of our programmes have been designed so that you have weekends off. This gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures.

 
 
Furthermore, you’re going to meet so many new people during your time with PMGY that you’ll definitely meet some travel buddies along the way!

 
 
Before booking your flights we recommend that you look into travel opportunities within the relevant country either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. If you do plan to travel extensively please factor this into your flight itinerary, as we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering as you have made a commitment to the project.

ACCOMMODATION

Your accommodation for the duration of your time on the PMGY Real India Experience is included in your Programme Fee. This will range from homestays, guesthouses, Volunteer Houses and even tents (only for one night!). Below we have detailed the main accommodation you will stay in during your time with PMGY in India. The group will always stay together and be accompanied by a member of the PMGY India team. Accommodation has western bathroom facilities (apart from the tents) and is basic but comfortable.

 

DELHI

 

During your time with PMGY in Delhi you will live in our Volunteer House located in central Faridabad, a satellite city 15 miles from Delhi. You will find restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

The accommodation is large, basic but comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has bunk beds with up to 8 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with fans in the room and their own bed linen. Bathrooms are shared, have a shower and western style toilet.

 

The house has free Wi-Fi (although intermittent) and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables with our local team in their private area. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled. There are facilities for volunteers to hand-wash and dry their clothes. A laundry service is also available for a nominal fee. 

 

Volunteers are housed adjacent to a wonderful host family who coordinate our projects in India. Volunteers have their own separate living quarters, but still have regular interaction with our local coordinator. This accommodation setup offers volunteers the unique experience of living with lots of other volunteers as well as getting the cultural immersion of staying alongside a host family. It really is the best of both worlds!

 

The majority of our projects are not within walking distance of our Volunteer House. PMGY will take you to and from the project each day and the cost of this service is included in your Programme Fee.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

KERALA

 

Volunteers will stay at a homestay in Fort Kochi. It is common for homeowners in Kochi to rent out rooms in their homes to visitors. PMGY have a network of homestays in Fort Kochi that are centrally based in safe and friendly parts of town. Fort Kochi is a small town and so the homestays are never very far from each other.

 

The homestays are all similar in standard. The group will stay together to ensure a good social experience. You will share a room with other people from the group – rooms are same-sex only, unless shared by friends or couples. Rooms are en-suite and the bathrooms have a western flushing toilet and hot showers. The rooms have fans and all windows have mosquito nets to keep mosquitos out. The homestays are basic but comfortable.

 

The homeowner will also live at the home with their family but they live on a separate floor to volunteers and so you’ll have your own living space/privacy. Homes are gated and the local family is on-call 24/7 to assist you. Alcohol is not permitted within the homestay and reasonable curfews are imposed.

 

Some homestays have Wi-Fi but this is not guaranteed and cannot be requested. There are numerous internet cafes and some excellent cafes in walking distance, which have free Wi-Fi for customers. All rooms are locked so you can secure your valuables whilst you’re out there.

 

Our local team live locally and are only ever a phone call away.

MEALS

DELHI

 

You will be served three freshly prepared meals per day. Most meals are traditional Indian dishes that can be typically quite spicy and made up of vegetarian ingredients, although pasta and other such western dishes are prepared every now and then. If you are not a huge lover of spicy food don’t worry, there will always be a more mild option available!

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

KERALA

 

You will be provided with breakfast and dinner each day at your homestay. Some evening meals will be at a local restaurant. Breakfast is simple but filling. Typical breakfast options include eggs, toast, cereal, fruits and tea/coffee. Coffee is locally grown and excellent. There are plenty of coffee shops in the surrounding area.

 

Lunch is at your own expense. Our local team will show you the best places to eat. You can opt for local restaurants where you can pickup some authentic Keralan dishes for around £3 per meal. We recommend budgeting around £60 to £75 for the duration of your time on the PMGY Real India Experience.

 

There are also a number of cafes that offer international cuisines and a host of western options. These are slightly more expensive, around £4 per meal. There will be plenty of places to eat near your project and homestay, so you won’t struggle to find some delicious grub! The seafood in Fort Kochi is amazing, fresh and cheap. Beef is also available – Kerala is the only state in India where beef is widely available. There are a number of Halal restaurants in Fort Kochi.

 

Dinner will be served at your homestay and is a great way for volunteers to come together. Meals will largely be vegetarian although meat and fish will be available from time to time. A traditional Keralan dish is Thalis.

 

Thalis consist of multiple small dishes accompanied by your choice of naan, chapatti (pan-fried flat bread), puri (deep-fried flat bread) and rice. Each of these dishes will be usually vegetarian. The typical portions consist of Dhal, vegetables, curries, curd and pickle or chutney. It is combination of flavours and different curries all on one convenient plate! It is an Indian style of tapas with both spicy and mild options.

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

VOLUNTEER FEES

DURATION

PROGRAMME FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

4 weeks
£820
£149
£969

* These fees apply to each individual application.

 

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme you need to pay the Registration Fee (£149). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 

You’re only required to pay your £149 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme, unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We also accept BACS transfers from UK participants. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAMME FEE

  • ACCOMMODATION YES
  • MEALS (AS INDICATED IN THE ITINERARY) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UP (DELHI AND KOCHI)YES
  • RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFER (DELHI)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATIONYES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO TOURIST SITESYES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO/FROM PROJECTYES
  • DOMESTIC ONE-WAY FLIGHT (DELHI-KOCHI)YES
  • ENTRANCE FEESYES
  • PMGY T-SHIRTYES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORTYES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR UK-BASED EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • UNLIMITED EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • COMPREHENSIVE VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAMME INSPECTION YES
  • INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • FLIGHTS (£500-£700)NO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE (£14 PER WEEK)NO
  • RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFER (KOCHI – £15)NO
  • VISA (£55)NO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK (£25)NO

 

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