Volunteer in rural villages - Setrawa/Viramdeogarh

The Sambhali Rural Primary Education and Vocational Training contains two projects in Thar desert villages:
the Sambhali Setrawa Project and the Sambhali Viramdeogarh Project (<<< click for further info).

Setrawa is a village 100km to the west of Jodhpur in the rural Thar desert area where Sambhali has run an empowerment centre for women and children since 2007. These children, some of whom go to the local primary school, come from the poor areas of Setrawa where they have spent their time looking after their siblings, the domestic animals and doing household chores, getting water from a well. Most being the first generation of learners whose parents may not be educated. We make sure these children are literate and once they go to school, we provide extra tuition so that they don't drop out of school and pass their exams.

We also have a vocational training programme there for women where a tutor teaches them sewing skills so they can earn an income. Sambhali also runs a Microfinance Group in Setrawa for over 100 women, (since 2009) where they save money to have access to loans so they can purchase, goats, cows, sewing machines to be able to start a small enterprise.

Besides the beautiful landscape of the Thar desert, you can see plenty of animals like camels and peacocks, alongwith cows, goats, dogs, cats and sometimes even monkeys.

Incase you have any worries about where you can get hygiene articles, fruits or any other things, there are also two markets in Setrawa, where you can get most of the things you need except toilet paper or any western imports. All in all, Setrawa is a very quiet place, sometimes you can hear the busses driving by or peacocks singing in the early morning.

Before your adventure to Setrawa starts, you will have an introduction of a few days in Jodhpur. This includes buying the clothes you will need to wear in Setrawa, going to the FRO (Registration in India), getting to know a few facts about the behaviour in the Guesthouse (mostly important for the volunteers who are staying there) and also a few things to make sure everything goes smoothly. Furthermore, you will have some time to go sightseeing in Jodhpur and to get to know the most important shops where you can buy items like clothes and food. You will also get a filter for Setrawa, because you won't be able or rather should not drink the tap water, an USB Internet stick (there won't be wifi) and a SIM Card for your mobile phone. Besides you should go to the ATM to get some money for the stay in Setrawa as there is no ATM there.

The Sambhali Setrawa project based 110 km and Viramdeogarh 103 km west of Jodhpur in the heart of the Thar desert, amidst an impressive scenery of sand dunes and farming fields.

In Setrawa volunteers are needed to support our local staff, by providing English and Maths tuition as well as workshops to the children in the after-school programs and by teaching basic English to girls and women who come to the Centre. It is also possible to assist in the daily Sewing Class. Volunteers can also teach classes in the local government and private schools to support the teachers and children there. Furthermore, the volunteers assist the local stuff with administrative work.

Volunteers with a local family
Volunteers with a local family

Key responsibilities:

  • Teaching basic Maths and English to a range of group from around five to fifteen children, together with a local staff.Organise games that encourage the use of English.
  • Developing workshops twice a week about various topics on general knowledge like Indian History, Geography, Science, etc.
  • Organising games that encourage the use of English.
  • Assisting with the personal care for the children, i.e. hair washing, brushing teeth.
  • Assisting with document work, administrative duties and organising outside events.
  • Bringing forth new ideas to improve the operating of the centre and helping to improve the overall contribution that the Trust can bring to the educational and social development of the students.

Skills, Attributes and Experience Needed:

  • A desire to live and work in a rural setting and to get into the life of an Indian family.
  • Adaptability, flexibility, and cultural sensitivity.
  • Patience, understanding and compassion for children of different learning levels and abilities. Prior experience of teaching English or arts and crafts is not essential but beneficial.
  • Basic English skills (Hindi would also be very useful).
  • Professional and supportive behaviour.


Accommodation will be provided in Govind Rathore's family cottages, called Dev Bagh, which is located just a few kilometres away from Setrawa, a large village (4000 inhabitants) situated 103km west of Jodhpur. You can either share a room or have your own room. All meals will be provided and there will be internet access and tv.

15,000rps including meals for a shared room and 20,000rps for a single room including meals.

Whenever you are ill there is a hospital in Setrawa. You will get any necessary medications and if it is more serious the Staff will bring you to Jodhpur to the hospital or to the guesthouse where you can see a very good doctor. In case of emergency there is also an ambulance.
Your safety and health is the highest priority!

A bus ride is 120rps one way to and from Jodhpur. Volunteers can be provided dormitory in Jodhpur for a reasonable price at Durag Niwas to visit Jodhpur over the weekend.

For more detailled information about your stay and work in Setrawa please read the
Volunteers' Handbook [2.649 KB] and please see What you will need in Setrawa [22 KB]