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Voluntourism on the rise in Kerala

KOCHI

Known for its fabulous beaches, tranquil backwaters and lush greenery, Kerala is also fast becoming a sought after destination for volunteer tourism for inbound tourism. Many foreign organisations like Teach Kerala and Kerala Volunteer have set up base in the state and get many students from the US and the UK who visit the state in their gap year. Many local Indians too have set up such operations as well.

“We get 10-15 volunteers annually who spend a month or two here giving classes to students on topics they specialize,” Wilson Kochukunju, who runs voluntourism projects through his BGM Social Service Centre at Neyyar Dam near Thiruvananthapuram. Kochukunju told Times of India (ToI). He started his operations 15 years ago and gets most volunteers as students from European countries or the US.

Teach Kerala, founded by Madeleine Wheare of the UK, offers volunteering opportunities at Sai Krishna Public School at Chenkal in Neyyattinkara. “Throughout the year, we have at the least one overseas volunteer staying back to take classes,” R Radhakrishnan, director of the school told ToI.

Many other foreign voluntourism organizations too have set up base in Kerala including UK-based Year Out India, Irish non-profit Support Children Out of Poverty (SCOOP) and UK based firms i-to-i and Responsible Travel.

Musafir Namah Bureau

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