Sikkal, Nagapattinam, India

Volunteer English Teacher

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Skills Needed

  • Teaching

Language Proficiencies

You must be able to speak English, Tamil.
Additionally, speaking Telugu would be helpful.

When Can You Start?

You can start as soon as possible and stay for 4 weeks to 12 months



Living Stipend


Travel Stipend

Project Details

Description and Impact

English is a mandatory subject in Tamil Nadu but our teachers have come up through Tamil medium schools and themselves do not know enough English to teach it well enough for students to pass the state exam. Our kids struggle to pass, and hence struggle to stay in school.

We are looking for native English speakers to converse with students, teach English as a Second Language in our school, and mentor older students in passing the state board English exam.

We conduct primary classes on-site during the school day on a timetable. Older students attend local secondary schools and return in evenings for tutoring. Age groups are flexible, depending on volunteer interest.


#1 metric is passing the English question papers at the end of the year. We also conduct internal assessments of student English fluency. Current English levels are very low, with high variation. We want all children to be able to access English, as it is the language of opportunity in India.

Additional Useful Skills

  • Fluency in English

We Provide These Local Benefits

Benefits Overview

  • Accommodations
  • Living Stipend
  • Travel Stipend
  • Learning Opportunity
  • Meal Stipend
  • Good For Groups
  • Good For Families


Vanavil rents a typical middle-class Indian apartment within walking distance of the school, shared by visiting staff and volunteers. No AC but private kitchen, western toilet, ceiling fans, and private bedroom.  Usually 1 or 2 English speaking volunteers will sleep in the hall and act as local guides.

Living Stipend

We can also provide limited Indian rupees as local spending money. We typically pay our teachers Rs. 4,000 per month.

Travel Stipend

Vanavil will cover the cost of travel to/from Chennai airport to Vanavil.

Learning Opportunity

The children of Vanavil are happy, open, and full of fun. They come from a real rural bottom-of-the-pyramid experience. Volunteers will learn the ground realities of development work at the point where government aid and free markets both fail.







Food Stipend

Vanavil provides 3 free, nutritious, healthy, rice-based meals a day to all children. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to eat with the kids. There are lots of inexpensive dining out options in Nagapattinam, or you can cook for yourself in the apartment if you get tired of typical South India. Meals are mostly veg, with extra protein through daily milk, 3 times a week egg, and once a week non-veg main course.

Additional Benefits

We know the region extremely well and love to take visitors on tours of local cultural marvels. Vanavil is located at the heart of the ancient Chola and Pallava empires, and right near the coast. There are amazing things to see, from the Portuguese Basilica of Velankanni to the 1,000 Thanjavur temple, all within easy travel distance.

Ask a question about this project

Hi, I am interested in this opportunity and have experience working with children, but I do not have any teaching qualifications, does this matter? Thanks. Lorna
Lorna, Aug 19th, 2016
Hi Lorna, You don't need to have teaching qualifications, however, knowledge of a South Indian language is really important. We had an Experteer last year who could not manage in Tamil or Telugu (the languages the kids speak), and it was a bit hard for her. How are your Indian language skills?
Representative of this project, Aug 19th, 2016