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Most children who end up in Indian orphanages face a grim future of labor and poverty. As a result, more and more organizations are placing an emphasis on education to help alter this path. ELI works with orphanages in and around Chennai and in rural areas in Southern India that endeavor to provide opportunities for education and personal growth. ELI volunteers participate in a wide range of tasks including playing games, leading activities, assisting with classes for children not yet able to attend school, after school tutoring, feeding the children, assisting students with physical or learning disabilities, and bringing smiles and fun! These placements are a good match for participants who are adaptable, resourceful, upbeat and full of energy. Check out Caitlyn's interview for an idea of what her volunteer experience was like and how she coped with the culture shock. 

"It exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect to fall in love with the children at the orphanage but it was inevitable. I instantly felt like I was part of a family and miss the place that had so much become my home." Yelena, 2010

Accommodations depend on the organization, as they are always provided on the property. The rooms are simple but cover basic needs - all volunteers have a single bed with sheets, pillow, and attached bathroom with western style flushing toilet and stand up shower. Some organizations can afford an air conditioner, and some cannot. Occasionally a volunteer will have his or her own room, but usually the bedroom is shared with at least one other volunteer. All meals and sanitized water are provided on-site by the kitchen staff, and the food is usually spicy and vegetarian.


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