Volunteer for Russ Foundation

Russ Foundation hosts several international student camps during the year, working very closely with a few dedicated schools and organisations, mostly based in the UK. While we are happy to welcome these groups, who often help to maintain existing projects and set up new ones, we always welcome new faces, and for a nominal fee we can cater for individual stays, up to groups of 25 from just a few weeks up to a few months, including full board.

Volunteering with Russ will allow you not only to participate in meaningful and possibly life-changing work, but it will also allow you to fully immerse yourself in another distinctly different culture. Eat traditional and delicious South Indian food; visit the stunning Sri Meenakshi Amman temple - famous throughout the country and a major pilgrimage site; get traditional clothes hand made in the market, and try your hand at bartering; and most of all, spend quality time with real people as they go about their day to day and try to change their local communities for the better.

You have many options when you come to Russ with what you can do - there's something for everyone no matter what your interest is - so you want to work with kids? Teach at our primary school. So you're looking to work in healthcare? Work and learn in our medical clinic. You're passionate about ecology and the environment? Work on our farm - with options for dairy and poultry farming, dog kennels and vegetation growth. You just want to learn about NGO's and aid work? Visit our outreach projects, our main office and our programmes to see what exactly goes in to running an organisation like Russ Foundation.

Our vision is one of 'Community, living with adequate resources towards quality living conditions.' By volunteering with us, you too can become part of that vision, helping to create a better world for all of us.

Read testimonials from past volunteers

David Watts, Bournemouth University

"Visiting the Russ Foundation will be recorded in my memory as one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Just outside of the city, Russ campus is a beautiful, vibrant place with wildlife and plants surrounding the peaceful area in which it is situated. On arriving at Russ the reception was amazing, never before have I felt so welcome in joining a community. The evolution of Russ from a girls home to a children's home is also a beautiful thing, with both boys and girls my visit over the Christmas and New Year of 2013 was wild, heartwarming and rewarding; the relationships that I formed with the children over just a short period are some that I will never forget and will always treasure.

Playing games; exchanging English skills; dancing and even simply having the same name as a child at Russ is an easy way to connect and interact with the brilliantly confident and friendly children. Of course, saying goodbye was hard but I remain true to my promise that one day soon I will return to Russ eager to hear the latest success stories and ready to meet new children also. The Russ Foundation touches the hearts of all who have been a part of it and I, personally, will always retain a great emotional attachment to the place and the children; I feel eternally grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience it - with thanks to Clarissa and Anna of the Colchester Sixth Form College."

Arabella Watkins, St George's, University of London

"Nothing else in the world compares to the Russ Foundation and its campus. As soon as you meet the children and understand what it is to live there, you become part of the Russ family. The connections you make with the people in the Russ Foundation, with the surrounding areas, and with India itself are life-long. Once you join the Russ Foundation family, you will always be hoping and wishing for the next opportunity to visit."

Will Harragan, University of East Anglia

"The time I spent at the Russ Foundation was an immensely eye-opening experience. India as a whole is a vibrant and busy part of the world; it sometimes feels like an assault on the senses! I was amazed at the care and help that is given to the children at the Russ Foundation, some of whom have come from some of the most terrible backgrounds imaginable. The children themselves were all adorable and happy; I was particularly amazed at the effort they put into their homework - easily two hours every night!"

Catherine Howes, Nurse and Trustee of Good Foundation UK

"At the heart of the Russ Foundation lie the children's home. The children have formed themselves into their own family and live, work and play together, referring to each other as 'akka' (big sister) and 'tangachi' (little sister). The younger children go to school on-site, whilst the older ones travel into Madurai for their education. It was a privilege to live and work alongside these children. .

It was amazing to see the work that the nurses at the Community Health Centre carried out, despite very difficult circumstances, with limited funds and a lack of resources. My time at the health centre and hospitals truly illustrated how lucky people in the UK are."

Beth Gant, Colchester Sixth Form College

"I've visited the Russ Foundation twice and have found both trips to be immensely rewarding on a personal level, however it has also allowed me to see the great work of the Foundation and the speed and flexibility which it is able to carry out this work. The Russ Foundation children's home is able to offer a haven to children who are unable to live with family and - on my visits - I have seen the true family atmosphere that the home offers, as well as the educational benefits it is able to provide.

Another huge aspect of the Russ Foundation is the outreach projects which provide medical expertise to the surrounding area. These allow for the education and treatment of infections as serious as HIV, with no stigma attached. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to visit Russ and cannot wait to return in the future."

Ellie Chambers, University of Leeds

"Having visited the Russ Foundation twice now it is impossible not to feel a part of the family, and have strong ties to the foundation. The environment created for the children is idyllic, especially when compared to some of the situations the children have come from prior to being at Russ. On a personal note, helping fundraise and staying at the Russ Foundation has been a unique, eye opening and incredibly humbling experience.

I am in awe of both the children and the workers and their bubbly determination and kindness in every aspect of life. Russ will stay with me for life, and I hope to be going back soon to see the progress of the children and the Foundation as a whole."

Tim Grimes, University of Newcastle

"During my time at the Russ Foundation, India at the end of 2012 I learnt that this form of aid and help for children, women and sex workers is greatly under promoted. The help that the Russ Foundation provides is not only crucial to people in India but also lifesaving. The Russ gives people, especially children, a real chance at life that would otherwise have been restricted to them. People get the help, support and love they need in a country with such a heavy wealth divide to grow, work and ultimately, be happy.

From my first-hand experience it's hard for words to express how moving it is to see the selfless and tireless efforts of the Russ Foundation in promoting a positive future for all those they help, despite their past. Any aid given to the Russ Foundation saves lives and does help people that would otherwise not receive the care they deserve as a basic human right."

For more information regarding volunteering, and to apply, please visit our partner website http://www.russinternational.org/volunteer/

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