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Rajasthan primary school - education development (ED)

Location: India
Project type: education support
Price from: £1,950 - details below

This project offers volunteers a genuinely rich heritage experience, while they work to support essential primary education in some of the most economically poor villages of Rajasthan.

Skills required

We work closely with the local people who manage this project, and the school's principal Mrs Arpita Singh has identified the school's primary volunteer needs:
  • the children need basic English literacy - school is their first exposure to the language 
  • lesson planning and teaching methodologies - these are fundamental areas of modern education in which many teachers have received no training - these skills can be shared through team-teaching and teacher's workshops
  • Information Technology - the school has computers, but IT literacy among teachers is very low 
  • experiential learning - practise and techniques for learning through play 
  • sports, arts and crafts practitioners are needed to work with the children to build confidence and enhance life-skills 
  • making teaching aids - quality educational materials are seldom available 

"We should not underestimate how important this volunteer programme is in the eyes of the school and the community of Chitardai and the surrounding area.  Thirteen local heads were invited to our leaving ceremony, as were religious leaders who apparently went to every house in the village to tell them what a good job the volunteers were doing.  On the last day Devender drove miles on his motorbike to get members of the education committee to sign certificates of appreciation for us.  This project has the potential to make a huge difference to this school so it is really important that people and places find further volunteers to take the project forward." Bob

Main project details

Chitardai primary school provides education for more than 200 children, ages 6 to 14, from several local communities identified as below the poverty line by the Indian government. The school offers equal education opportunities to girls and boys from all castes and socio-economic groups.

The principal, Mrs Arpita Singh, and her team of 5 teachers want to increase their own knowledge of best practice teaching techniques in order to improve and enhance the children's learning experience. The school motto is "Learn by Play" - an inspired and visionary concept for a small rural school working within the local education system.

Mr Devender Singh Kachhawa - previous principal - is on the school governing body and fulfils an advisory role for 14 local schools, including Chitardai, so is still very involved with the school.

Resources are limited and unpredictable - there are simple desks and benches in some of the 6 classrooms, but many children still sit on the floor. Text books are supplied by the State Education Board, and most children have exercise books, pens and pencils. However, there are very few teaching aids or craft materials. Mr Singh and his team created a stimulating environment for the children, which is continued by Mrs Arpita Singh as current principal - an educational play area has been built from mud, and the classroom walls have been painted as blackboards so that children can write and draw .

"I have also been told by a new teacher about teaching styles volunteers demonstrated being taught to him by a Chitardai teacher I and other volunteers worked with who has now left, and by a teacher from another school that he is still using resources I distributed at a teachers' workshop in 2011. Yesterday three students from class 8 went to a Science Fair at a secondary school in Deogarh; they took with them Science resources used with them by a volunteer last year, demonstrated them to all other students at the Fair, talking about them in both Hindi and English, and won the top award and a commendation for the school from the local education committee.This is real evidence of the success of the volunteering programme here and I am truly encouraged by it." Dianne, volunteer programme advisor, 2016

The children "are in many ways just like other youngsters all over the world - eager to learn, keen to please, a bit stroppy at times, wanting to be proud of themselves, caring for their friends etc etc" Bob

Read more about how the volunteer programme supports Chitardai here


Rajasthan is renowned as the land of warrior kings and cultural richness, with numerous forts and palaces in breathtaking countryside. This is the heritage and environment which will surround you every day, as you will stay in the palace of the local patron family, while working in the local school. The juxtaposition of cultural richness and economic poverty typifies this Rajasthani experience - over the last five years, Rajasthan has seen impressive economic growth as well as progress in terms of human development. 

The Indian economy as a whole has experienced growth rates as high as 9% in 2006-07, and the number of people living below the poverty has gradually been falling. Nevertheless, crushing poverty and malnutrition are harsh realities for millions - particularly for women and children. Many inequities are linked with gender and class status. 

Some 20% of children aged 6 to 14 are still not in school. Several problems persist: issues of 'social distance' arising out of caste, class and gender differences deny children equal opportunities.

Literacy rates are about 60% overall with the figures for females being substantially lower. 

The school is supported by the Shri Jaswant Charitable Trust - established and run by the family who own and manage the Deogarh Mahal. The Trust is keen to enhance the support they offer to the school by assisting with the volunteer programme.

Our local partners on this project Ibex of India Expeditions have just won the prestigious National Tourism Award for `MOST INNOVATIVE TOUR OPERATOR' in which their work on responsible volunteering was cited.

Volunteer opportunities in this rural school - whether you are a professional teacher or classroom assistant, retired or in work and looking for a career break - you can share your skills and experience with local teaching staff in this education development project. Other skills and experience will also be welcome - take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page. You can play your part in responsible volunteer work overseas.

Minimum duration

Minimum 4 weeks - longer placements are also welcomed - please ask

Living Conditions

Volunteers will live in the stunning Deogarh Mahal.

The family who own and manage the mansion hotel are trustees of the charity through which volunteers will work on the programme. As part of their corporate social responsibility they provide significant support and subsidy for the programme, including volunteer accommodation in the palace.

Volunteers are provided with 3 meals a day and drinking water. The palace is situated in the centre of the town of Deogarh enabling volunteers to enjoy the day to day life in a Rajasthani town.

This is an opportunity for volunteers to share their skills, whilst enjoying the comfort of a palace!

Project costs

£,2850 for 4 weeks based on single full board in the luxury Mahal hotel - Please note twin/double room placements are available from £1950 - this is inclusive of all Indian Sales tax. Cost conversion to sterling is based on IR100 to £GB
Read about our costs and pricing policy here 

Watch an explanatory interview with programme director Sallie Grayson
Additional weeks are costed at a sliding reducing rate 
Please note these costs are correct to the best of our knowledge but can only be confirmed at time of booking due to changes in transport and taxes outside our control. 
Full board accommodation at Deogarh, bed and breakfast in New Delhi, airport (in New Delhi) transfers, road and rail transfers in country, full local orientation, project & placement liaison
Your project donation will be used for the purchase of essential equipment for the school.
How your money is spent based on 4 weeks
£2290- (209000IR) direct costs in India ( transfers, accommodation, orientation, information packs). 
£200  - (2000IR) project management, liaison & supervision in India
£100 - (1000IR) project donation 
£260 - recruitment, matching & project development in UK
Not included:
flights, insurance, visa costs, personal expenses such as phone calls, medical expenses, sightseeing
If you or your friends and family wish to make further donations to this project CLICK HERE

Recommended reading

an interview with education volunteer Nick

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Project gallery

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