Sebastian Indian Social Projects (SISP)

SISP is a small Indian Non-Governmental Organization (a charity) operating in the southern state of Kerala in India. SISP aims to raise the quality of life of the poorest of the poor.

We work to provide free education, social care and other benefits to the most socially disadvantaged people from Vizhinjam, a fishing village in Kerala, south India, and the surrounding area, regardless of sex, caste, politics or religion. SISP is registered as a charity, number T-523/97.

Volunteering is a 'Good Thing!' It rewards both the giver and the receiver. For the giver it can boost confidence, give new skills and interests, a new circle of friends, a sense of self-worth, fun and new experiences, and benefit future job prospects too. By giving your time and passing on your skills at SISP you will be redressing some of the inequities in this world and help enable the disadvantaged to break free from the poverty trap. It's win-win all round!

We welcome volunteers at SISP. We are only a small charity and employ local teachers in all our teaching posts but an extra pair of hands is often welcome. As well as welcoming teaching assistants we also have opportunities to work with our social workers, in the kitchen, doing building maintenance, giving music lessons and sports coaching. These latter positions can work well for the part-time volunteer, allowing them to combine it with sight-seeing for example.

Unlike many NGOs we do not charge our volunteers any fees. However, we do expect you to commit to a minimum of a one month period with us. This is because it will take you time to settle in and time for the children to adjust too. Short term volunteering in the classrooms can be quite disruptive because the children get very excited and this can be unfair on our permanent staff. On the other hand, if you bring special skills with you, then a bit of excitement can be a positive thing if channelled appropriately. We therefore consider all applications on a case by case basis.

We expect our volunteers to minimise the load they place on our staff. You'll need to be a self-starter, finding and funding your own transport, accommodation, food and other expenses. Please bear in mind that there will be periods when we have many applications and other times when we have none. This usually correlates with the tourist season which is September to March. And, as with any reputable NGO working with children, you must provide an original of your police check (CRB).

If you think you can help us then please get in touch with Paul Van Gelder, founder and manager of SISP, by emailing him at

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