Volunteer in Setrawa (Rural Site)

Setrawa is a small desert village of around 3,000-6,000 inhabitants, 110 km from Jodhpur. The village is located in the Thar desert, so as you can imagine it is very sandy and dry. The majority of the population is employed in agriculture, mining, sewing, or as shopkeepers.

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 Primary Education and Vocational Training is based 110 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.

As Setrawa volunteers live with local host families in the village, they have the chance to experience the daily life of an Indian family and have an insight into many traditions and events like weddings and the festivals of Holi and Diwali. They work from Monday to Saturday, about four to five hours a day.

Volunteers with the host family
Volunteers with the host 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.

Accomodation and Lifestyle

Whilst staying in Setrawa you will live with a host family, who have already had experience with volunteers and it should soon feel like home with all the children, grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, sisters and brothers.You have your own room so whenever you want to relax you can close your door and everyone will respect your privacy. Your family also takes care of you when you do not feel well or have any problems.

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!

Of course life with your host family is different to the life in the Guesthouse in Jodhpur. To give you a short impression of life in an Indian family and the routine we made a short description of a normal day in Setrawa:

Imagine you wake up on the roof top because the Peacocks are singing or the sun is too bright. In the hot months (so the most time of the year) everyone sleeps on the rooftop. When you got up you will get a nice cup of chai with biscuits or fruits from the market and eat them with muesli and yoghurt for breakfast. Then you do a little bit of house working like sweeping in your room or washing your clothes and if you want you can also help the family with some household things. It is also possible to do some workouts in the early morning or you go for a nice walk/run in the desert, watch the beautiful morning sun and see the small town waking up with all the beautiful animals like camels, peacocks, antelopes, goats, cows, etc. When you have taken a refreshing shower out of a bucket you may have to prepare some lessons or you just read a book until you have to go to your first class. The distances to the schools or to the Centers are never more than around 15 minutes. If you do not want to go home between your classes you can bring your lunchbox with you.

The homemade food is really delicious! For every meal you will get your hot chapattis (small round flat bread) and a subji (vegetables). Sometimes you have rice with a kind of soup out of lentils or other Rajasthani specialties.

In your free time you can learn Hindi, watch movies on your laptop, read, play an instrument (we have a guitar here), surf on the internet, visit friends (for example the other Sambhali teachers or students), etc.

There is always something to do and you can always sit together with your family, just talk about the day and what is going on in Setrawa. After the work is done you can go with the others to the temple or buy a cool coke at the market and enjoy the sunset on the rooftop. It is also fun to help cooking and learn how to make the perfect round chapattis or the other tasty dishes. From time to time there are festivals or weddings which you can join with your family. You dress up nicely and after a while you will feel as a part of the community in Setrawa.

At the end of the day you prepare your bed on the rooftop and go to sleep under billions of stars.


Volunteers will be staying in a twin sharing accommodation in Setrawa For 12,000/-INR a month which will include shared room, three meals, drinking water and an experience to stay with a host family in the village. Transportation to and from the center (approx. 7 km) will be covered by Sambhali Trust. Volunteers coming from Volunta live with a host family (organised by Sambhali Trust) with all meals included. As there can be up to 6 or 7 volunteers at any one-time, volunteers may need to share a room.

Additionally, if you decide to come back into Jodhpur in your free time, you pay for your travel to and from Jodhpur (80 Rps for the bus), and pay a reasonable price for food and accommodation at Durag Niwas Guest House.

Please see What you will need in Setrawa [23 KB]